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James Campbell Quick, Keri DeCay, Navadha Modha and John L. Goolsby

It is argued that leadership is a form of skilled performance learned from masters, personal experience, and self-reflection. The Goolsby Leadership Academy has three pillars: executives, students, and faculty. Executives share their autobiographies and experience. Students learn to lead and to follow. Faculty facilitates student development and engage in leadership research. Goolsby Scholars learn to lead through (1) structured self-assessments that enhance their self-awareness and self-mastery; (2) interviews through which they create their own biographical cases; and (3) an annual hosted event featuring a distinguished leader or professor who shares her or his leadership point of view. This chapter focuses primarily on the art of the interview and its enduring value.

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Donna Ladkin

Leaders face particular difficulties in exercising their role ethically: balancing the needs of conflicting stakeholders is often impossible, decisions must be taken without complete knowledge of their consequences and actions taken are often indeterminate in terms of their ethical justification. Grounded in the notion that leaders’ ability to respond well to ethically questionable situations can be enhanced despite these factors, this chapter sets out a practice-based approach to developing ethically astute leaders. Five design elements are offered as key to such interventions: building bridges, expanding perception, developing negative capability, encouraging inquiry and reflexivity, and immersive assessment activities. Through offering practices which can be honed in off-line situations, it is proposed that leaders can develop the ethical ‘muscle’ necessary for them to engage well in the ethically ambiguous territory in which they often find themselves.

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Wadii Serhane, Sigrid Endres and Jürgen Weibler

As a socioanalytical method of experiential leadership development, the social photo matrix (SPM) uses both evocative and expressive work media (e.g. photographs, drawings, free associations, and amplifications) to explore daily leadership practice in depth. Photographs have many sociocultural functions beyond their evocative function that can foster reflection about deeper levels of our social systems. Moreover, by producing drawings and collectively viewing them together with the photographs, participants may become aware of their habitual (and often unconscious) leadership practices, and critically integrate new thinking to move towards expanded possibilities of leadership in practice. We show the basic assumptions of the SPM methodology, illustrate our work design, and provide a frame for a critically reflective application of the SPM in practice.

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Steve Kempster

This chapter outlines how the ‘tents’ exercise was shaped by research on how we learn to lead. Designed to enable the leadership experiences stemming from the course of their life, it seeks to surface unexplored, often unrecognised influences and tacit knowledge of leadership. Emerging out of the ‘Tents’ process is an organized narrative. The chapter explores how this understanding is utilized as part of a workshop focused on developing leadership practice.

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Arthur F. Turner

Leadership development scholars have been reflecting, on different approaches to leadership development programmes particularly those lecturers and facilitators interested in using aesthetic approaches and ideas. Recent aesthetic approaches have been captured in collections of work outlining different approaches to leadership development (Edwards, Elliott, Iszatt-White and Schedlitzki, 2013). Interest in the use of objects and artefacts has also grown. This chapter highlights the use of small finger puppets, representing a wide range of people both dead and alive, within leadership development and coaching. Discovered by chance the author outlines the use of finger puppets as an extension of the oft-used ‘visual aid’ for enhancing delegates’ understanding of the course content. This Chapter describes the ways in which these finger puppets have been used which has enable variety, interest and surprise to the wider concepts of experiential variety in the delivery of leadership ideas. The application of puppets is a significant move away from many over more conventional ways of engaging delegates and students and this novelty adds both humour and playfulness but also contributes to the processing, understanding and interpretation of conventional leadership theories and models.

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Doris Schedlitzki, Carol Jarvis and Janice MacInnes

This chapter will discuss the usefulness of working with Greek Mythology to enhance self-reflection within a classroom based executive education setting. Seeing myth as one of the most fundamental forms of narrative knowledge, connecting past, present and future of humanity, the chapter will highlight previous contributions on the use of mythology – and particularly the role of archetypes – in leadership development. Of specific interest here is how the use of the metaphorical language of archetypes enables participants in leadership development to see the complexity and often paradoxical nature of human characteristics and behaviour, enabling a safe space for deep self-reflection. This theoretical exploration is then enriched through an example of how the characteristics of Greek Gods and Goddesses have been used in a classroom based executive education setting to encourage critical self-reflection and engender deep conversations on notions such as leadership, followership, power and gender. Lessons from the use of these archetypes will be shared and particular attention paid to the ways in which they help to highlight the dualistic nature of personal strengths and weaknesses within working relationships and to challenge the binary nature of taken-for-granted assumptions about what makes good/bad or effective/weak leadership in changing organisational contexts. The chapter concludes with reflections on the efficacy of the technique and on how to deal with the possible range of emotional reactions of participants triggered by this process of critical self-reflection.

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Steve Kempster and Simon Bainbridge

Walking with Wordsworth is an interdisciplinary approach to leadership development that focuses on leadership as purpose. The romanticism of Wordsworth’s autobiographic poem, The Prelude, is a most applicable catalyst for examining a ‘leaders’ sense of purpose. Detail of the activity of walking in Wordsworth footsteps is outlined: a physical and metaphoric journey. Many managers have been struck by an engagement with the poetry set within the authentic context of the Lake District stimulating reflection on their own journeys and the sense of purpose and vocation. The chapter explores the opportunities of weaving literature, context and leadership development together.

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Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic

Marie Laure Djelic presents the role of Atlas Transnational, the mother of neo-liberal think tanks. Over the last 40 years neoliberalism has become the ‘new dominant regime of truth’ with a significant performative impact both nationally and transnationally. Of particular interest is the carrier and boundary-spanning role of the dense ecology of neoliberal think tanks and research institutes constructed during these last 40 years. These think tanks espouse a market- and business-friendly ideology and have made it their mission to champion, spread, defend and entrench, as widely and deeply as possible and in a multiplicity of contexts, this ideology and its associated politics. Djelic explores the role of Atlas, that was created to ‘litter the world’ with free-market think tanks, with a particular interest for the process through which the organizational form of the ‘neoliberal think tank’ came to be constructed, diffused, and progressively institutionalized during that period.

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Mikkel Flyverbom

Mikkel Flyverbom sets out to expand the conception of corporate advocacy by pointing to the growing importance of knowledge, data and visualizations. Drawing on insights from the literature on the politics of knowledge and the importance of knowledge in governance Flyverbom develops a conceptual entry point for enhancing the understanding of how Internet companies engage multiple forms of knowledge and visualizations as resources in their efforts to shape public perceptions, politics and regulation. To this end, the chapter uses illustrations from a study of Google and Facebook showing various forms of corporate advocacy that play out in this field: relationship building, message crafting and data provision. Based on this typology and the empirical illustrations Flyverborn discusses the role of conceptual and contextual embedding of visual numbers- and data-based forms of knowledge production and advocacy, in relation to prevalent forms and understandings of corporate political activities.

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Hervé Dumez and Alain Jeunemaître

Hervé Dumez and Alain Jeunema"tre analyse political strategies of firms, based on public documents and interviews from the US-based company Boeing. The traditional view of firms’ political strategies is that, by acting on the state, they will protect and expand firms’ interests. But whereas in the classic game (to prevent the vote of an adverse law for example) corporate interests from the outset were seen as clearly defined in the new game companies frequently seen as identifying their interest in the course of actions and interactions with politicians. Boeing’s strategy in the late 1990s and early 2000s serves as an illustrating case of how the traditional opposition between market and non-market strategies today is less sharp. In the late 1990s, the company developed new strategies aimed at building influence rents. These strategies failed, but based on the case the authors identify new types of relationships between firms and the state.