Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 124, Issue 3, pp 413–433

An Exploratory Study in Community Perspectives of Sustainability Leadership in the Murray Darling Basin



This article explores the emergence of leadership during implementation of a water saving initiative in the rural community surrounding Barren Box Swamp in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia. Qualitative data analysis indicated that the system elements affecting the type of leadership to emerge included the extent to which the groups were engaged in the process, the level of access to resources, and the level of investment in the outcomes of the project. Although these results reinforced key aspects of complex problem-solving through collaboration, they demonstrated varying degrees and types of both engagement and leadership within the case community. Given the current finding that these varying elements can coincide within one system, this case suggests that each community’s characteristics, resources and context will determine the optimal combination of leadership style and level of collaboration needed to facilitate sustainable community development.


Leadership emergence Community collaboration Complex systems Sustainability 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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