M.Sc.,MA Bruce Beairsto

Leadership in the Quest for Adhocracy: New Directions for a Postmodern World

Väitösaika- ja paikka: 20.3.1997 klo 12 Tampereen yliopiston opettajankoulutuslaitoksen Hämeenlinnan toimipaikan auditorio, Erottajankatu 4

Vastaväittäjä: Professori Marvin L. Klein (Western Washington University); Kustos: Professori Pekka Ruohotie; Oppiaine: kasvatustiede

This study forms part of the international Growth Needs Project initiated and led by professor Pekka Ruohotie from the Research Center for Vocational Education at the University of Tampere, whose objective is to examine the opportunities and problems of professional maintenance and continuous growth in different types of work communities.

The purpose of the study was to consider the leadership required by multi-disciplinary teams of specialists established to deal with novel situations and develop creative responses. The focusing question was, "How can leadership evoke and enhance collaboration?"

The study concludes that traditional organizational and leadership theory is inadequate for knowledge-work activities which require collaboration to develop creative responses to complex, novel situations. Since knowledge-work is becoming central to all organizations in the dynamic, ambiguous, and unpredictable conditions which prevail today, in order to be successful they need to learn to function in more fluid and responsive ways than traditional structural forms allow. Adhocracy is the term used to describe the flexible structure of multidisciplinary teams which is best suited for complex tasks in a dynamic and unpredictable environment.

The leadership which such teams require is very different from the command-and-control style traditionally found in hierarchical bureaucracies. It needs to be inviting and encouraging in order to elicit the creative ability of individuals and collaborative to create the synergy that taps group potential. In addition, the concept of leadership needs to be expanded beyond its exclusive association with leaders to include the role of all group members in the reciprocal processes that enable creative thinking and provide resilience in a turbulent environment.

In an Adhocracy leadership is concerned with the creation of structures which support participatory decision-making as well as the development of collaborative communities operating within those structures. Leaders are responsible for working with an adhocratic group to develop and maintain an open decision-making structure, but they do not exercise direct control over decision-making and action within that structure. The constituents are given maximum freedom for planning and action guided by their common purposes.

In order for existing leaders to change their leadership style to that required in an Adhocracy they need to undergo an "inside-out" transformation which involves a shift in underlying values and the development of fundamentally new mental models of human behaviour, organization and power. In fact, not only designated leaders but all the constituents of an Adhocracy must undergo this transformation.

Because the operating environment for an Adhocracy is complex, dynamic, ambiguous and unpredictable there are no prescriptive rules or models for leadership. It is an organic structure with a minimum of formal rules and procedures. The ethical behaviour of the constituents of an Adhocracy, and particularly of the leader, provides the glue which holds it together. Ethical conduct is defined in terms of a construct of "authenticity" and a triad of ethical intents: critique, justice and caring.

There is a need for further research to answer basic questions about the organizational form of Adhocracy and the behaviour of leaders and other constituents within it. There is also a need to understand better how the values and behaviours which Adhocracy requires can be inculcated.

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