Creating Sustainable Communities: Adult and Leadership Theories and Principles in Practice

Creating Sustainable Communities: Adult and Leadership Theories and Principles in Practice

Christina Van Wingerden (Western Washington University, USA), Stan Goto (Western Washington University, USA) and Misha Burstein (University of Arizona, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch008
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Abstract

Generating investment in community is experience leaders seek to stimulate in academic, business, and organizational environments. Through the lens of adult learning theory, the authors propose a means for greater group commitment and sustainability which can help the field of strategic leadership and management. A case study of a graduate class who became a community of practice is presented as an example of adult learning theories and how they can enhance shared power and leadership for sustainable communities.
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Introduction

Creating organizational commitment is something that leaders want to achieve in all kinds of environments. Leadership theory and practice has moved from industrial models of command and control to newer forms of leadership that emphasize shared power, transformational leadership systems, and community-based thinking (Komives, Dugan, Owen, Slack, Wagner, & Associates, 2006). Presumably, the flattening of traditional hierarchies of power will encourage organizational members to be more invested in the organizational community. While there is a fair amount of research showing linkages between shared leadership and organizational commitment, there is less theorization of how people’s commitment to an organizational community actually develops in the context of shared power. This chapter seeks to fill this gap by drawing on various theories of adult learning, particularly concerning communities of practice and critical reflection. Citing a case study of a university classroom, the authors suggest ways that existing theories of leadership and shared power can be more fully fleshed out.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Co-Creation: Newer model of leadership which involves collaboration of members of a community towards a common goal or end.

Shared Leadership: Leadership that is interactive, comes from anywhere in the organization, and where individuals and groups, share knowledge, lead each other to empower employees and performance and to meet the mission of the organization ( Pearce & Conger, 2003 ).

Shared Power: Letting go of traditional frames of power and leading and allowing members of a group to have power and influence within the group and the leadership, mission and goals of the group.

Experiential Learning: Kolb (1985) AU51: The in-text citation "Kolb (1985)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. learning model which is based on learning through experience. Components of Kolb’s model include, concrete experience, reflective observation, active experimentation and abstract conceptualization.

Reflection: Part of the experiential learning cycle and Mezirow’s (1990 AU52: The in-text citation "Mezirow’s (1990" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , 1991, 2000) transformational identity stage where a person deliberately ponders their learning experience(s).

Situated Learning: Lave and Wenger (1991) ; learning is social in nature and takes place through social relationships. Connecting new knowledge with previous knowledge and apprenticeship of new members is part of this learning theory.

Transformative Learning: A theory developed by Mezirow (1990 AU53: The in-text citation "Mezirow (1990" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , 1991, 2000) which gives an account of how learners change their meaning and frames of reference. Learners use critical reflection to examine their beliefs and assumptions; typically involves a “disorienting dilemma” or major transition.

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