Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 413–429 | Cite as

Leadership and Power in Fostering a Collaborative Community in a Non-Profit Professional Organization

Original Paper


This article provides an account of first-person action research used for organization development in an all-volunteer professional organization. During a 12-month period, members sought to build a collaborative community out of a formerly defunct group. As part of this project, the group’s leader conducted a self-study by examining his role in exercising power while leading the group in building a collaborative community. Although the goals to collaborate and explore power relations originate in different philosophical perspectives, they were combined with moderate success in this project. An ongoing theoretical analysis of the challenges in using this approach illustrates the complications of combining collaborative approaches with the exploration of power.


Leadership Power Collaboration Self-study Organization development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education, College of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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