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Co-creative Leadership and Self-Organization: Inclusive Leadership of Development Action

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The quest for genuine local participation and ownership in development initiatives has perplexed and bedevilled development discourse for over 40 years. Practical application, despite some genuinely sincere efforts, has remained relatively elusive. New developments in communication technology are often cited as the solution to attain this elusive beneficiary-led development paradigm shift. A lot has been written about communication for development (C4D) and in recent decades information and communication technology for development (ICT4D), yet we still struggle to attain an authentic paradigm shift and genuine local participation or beneficiary-led development praxis. This paper seeks to shift the focus from the trendy (not so) new communication technologies and focus instead on human beings and the way we organize ourselves. We argue that emerging trends in organizational development toward, flatter (less hierarchical) organizations, co-creation and self-organization may indicate the way forward to authentic (beneficiary-led) development practice. Rather than the trendy bottom-up paradigm, we advocate an all-round and do-it-yourself leadership structure. C4D and ICT4D remain crucial as tools for communication to facilitate and ease information flow and critical debate, but it is self-organization, trust building, and co-creative process that enable authentic equality and dignity in decision making and design innovation for development.

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Correspondence to Alvito de Souza .

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de Souza, A., Begeer, H. (2018). Co-creative Leadership and Self-Organization: Inclusive Leadership of Development Action. In: Servaes, J. (eds) Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change. Springer, Singapore.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-10-7035-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-10-7035-8

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