UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reframing leadership in a liquid age Mennigke, Stuart


Among the many shifting beliefs and practices characteristic of an age of liquid modernity, there is no common standard of what leadership is, who gets to be a leader and how they are prepared for the role. Countless books, seminars and academic programmes offer solutions that meet the needs of leaders and groups in ways particular to their organizational culture and preferences. This dissertation uses examples of leaders in the church, organizations informed by historic Christian values, educational institutions, and parts of the business world. It suggests that leaders have inherited and borrowed ways of operating without questioning the account of how they came to be. Many models are no longer effective in the liquid age, as they produce one-dimensional solutions to complex issues, leading to dualistic thinking and an inability to live with contradiction. The dissertation suggests reframing the culture of leadership in the fluidity of this age so that it is not reducible to a static concept, but always constructing as it responds to its liquid context. To animate this, a curriculum centred on the deliberate awareness of self promotes six qualities that respond to the problem of leadership culture needing refashioning: It embraces inquiry, conversion, embodiment and mystery, contradiction and education as builds on a journey of learning. The methods of investigation are conceptual reflection and characterization, and by personifying the six aspects of leadership culture, the personalities portray the claims to reframe leadership as new way of being in a shifting age. In this way, the reader experiences the conceptual reflection by engaging in the discourse with the author. The general conclusion of the paper is that the process of reframing the culture of leadership is not an end that establishes new theories of leadership practice, but instead, a journey of interaction with oneself as a leader and those one leads and follows. While a number of bridges make this journey meaningful, education provides a navigational aid that helps steer the shifting beliefs and practices which leadership meets in these fluid times.

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