Date: 12 Mar 2011

Systemic Leadership, Gender, Organization

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Editors’ Introduction

Painter-Morland’s earlier research into the emergence of leadership within complex adaptive systems drew heavily on the research of Collier and Esteban and Mary Uhl-Bien et al. In this paper, she takes this work one step further by rethinking gender dynamics from this systemic perspective within the context of organizational leadership. Painter-Morland reminds us that both gender, and notions of “leadership” are socially constructed, and thus subject to revision and change. Systems thinking allows us to acknowledge the multidirectional, tacit influences that play a role in the ways people “lead” in organizations. Under certain organizational conditions a relational, systemic model of leadership emerges, which allows individuals who don’t necessarily occupy positions of authority to lead in their own unique ways when the circumstances call for it.