Leading into the Future VI:  Postmodern Perspectives on Organizational Life

Leading into the Future VI: Postmodern Perspectives on Organizational Life

Spiritual Leadership

The third postmodern topic to be considered is the spiritual aspects of leadership. Leaders of the postmodern world must navigate a treacherous white water environment, which is filled with unpredictability and the need for short-term survival tactics, as well as long-term strategies based on broad visions and deeply embedded values. Leaders must be sources of integration in post-modern organizations. They serve in this integrative role primarily through the creation and sustenance of community and through serving in the role of servant to those with whom they work.

The notions of community and servanthood, in turn, lead us away from the traditional (both premodern and modern) notions of a society based on dominance, to a society based on partnership and collaboration. These styles of leadership have often been more commonly found among women than among men. The sacred model of leadership calls into question much of the traditional managerial training of leaders and many of the motives that guide men and women to seek positions of leadership in our society.

Organizational Bifurcation and Groping

The fourth theme to be addressed concerns two processes associated with institutional change: bifurcation and groping. These processes share a common emphasis on the systemic, yet often unpredictable, nature of any change process (the layering of chaos and order about which we have already written). The process of groping or bifurcation (splitting) focuses on the role played by specific, critical events (often called rogue events) or by shifts in the status of an established component of an organization (often described as self-organizing criticality).


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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