Following Nature’s Lead

  • Domenica Devine
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Leadership and Followership book series (PASTLEFO)


Research into the shared leadership paradigm has been rich and varied. This chapter contributes to those conversations using the underlying concept of deep ecology and the science of ecosystems. Using the metaphors of ecological systems, the chapter explores patterns linking concepts of ecological systems and organizational systems together, questioning how shared leadership is reflected in the metaphors. This chapter focuses on four ecological principles: interconnectedness, porous boundaries, stability, and synergy. First, both biology and social systems exhibit intricate webs with both linear and non-linear pathways of connectivity. Second, both systems have diffuse boundaries, which allows for interconnections and for the movement of materials, energy, and organisms. Third, both healthy ecological and social systems tend to flow toward stability, a dynamic property supported by the foundations of resilience and resistance. Fourth, both systems rely on synergy as a means to success. Finally, I note that change is the thread that runs through them all. By looking at these ecological and organizational systems in parallel provides an opportunity to find new ways of thinking about the shared leadership paradigm that can provide practical as well as theoretical insight.


Leadership Ecosystem Synergy Stability Open systems 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Domenica Devine
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesAllan Hancock CollegeSanta MariaUSA

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