Innoveadership: Marrying Strategic Leadership with Complexity

Innoveadership: Marrying Strategic Leadership with Complexity

Ahmet Hakan Yüksel (Işık University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch021
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Scholars in the field of management studies are not reticent about how lively is the correlation between leadership and innovation. Given the pervasiveness of mechanistic view of organizations in the last century, this correlation was supposed to be entertained by the leaders who possessed certain personal traits and displayed behavioral patterns relevant for their followers. However, in an age of interconnectedness, leadership calls for more than leaders are capable to afford. Leadership should be acknowledged as an inter-relational social component, which is inherently embedded in each and every social interaction in the organization. Innovation, therefore, is embodied in the sum of all the interaction. This conceptual chapter intends to merge leadership and innovation and coins the term innoveadership to demonstrate their intertwined nature. Innoveadership could be described as a conflation of constructs postulated by leading scholars in the field of leadership and management studies within the contextual climate of complexity thinking.
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Through circular response we are creating each other all the time…The most fundamental thought about all this is that reaction is always reaction to a relating … In human relations, as I have said, this is obvious: I never react to you but to you-plus-me; or to be more accurate, it is I-plus you reacting to you-plus-me. “I” can never influence “you” because you have already influenced me; that is, in the very process of meeting, by the very process of meeting, we both become something different. It begins even before we meet, in the anticipation of meeting. (Mary Parker Follett, 1924/2013, p. 62)



We’re living in strange times, indeed. While modi operandi have already collapsed, nevertheless, long-lasting proclivities toward assumptions of the machine metaphor are still here to stay. Organizations flounder about in the turbulence on an even keel as they adhere to rule-like feeble references of linear causality to survive under ambiguities of the interregnum. The global business is constantly being woven by the cobweb interactions such that monitoring markets is merely a glance through just for a moment. Any emergent phenomenon that organizations are supposed to deal with seems to be a fait accompli with manifold aspects beyond astute evaluation. The unique qualities imposed by the current way of doing business overwhelm the traditional habits of linear mindset in an age of fluidity. Organizations are far from being capable to grasp the very insight of the emergent phenomena just by dismantling the whole into parts. Not because it is intricate, but because it is impossible to predict the whole from the knowledge of the parts and emergent phenomena is irreversible.

Linearity, in a broader sense, means that it is possible to reach a value for the whole by adding up the value of its constituents. A function is deemed as linear if the value of the function, for any set of values assigned to its arguments, is simply a weighted sum of those values (Holland, 1995). Linear thinking is the kernel of the mechanistic ontology on which the entire organizational studies have been built during twentieth century. As described by Boal and Schultz (2007) “..the linear view conceives of time as a sequence where a unique past leads to the future. The past is considered in determining behavior, but its effect is constrained to the immediate future that follows since each point in time presents a largely unique set of contingencies to be considered.” In compliance with the prevalent assumptions provided by the mechanistic view organizations have been conceived of as machines, which were supposed to exhibit features such as regularity, predictability, order and efficiency (Tsoukas & Cummings, 1997). Any complex social phenomena were considered as being composed of variables that evinced linearity among their constituting agents, which eventually led to a definition of organizational and managerial experiences from reductionist, deterministic and equilibrium-oriented perspectives (Dooley, 1997; Mendenhall, Macomber, & Cutright, 2000). However, in nonlinear dynamical systems relationship between the agents are inter-relationships, thus, the distinction between independent and dependent variables breaks down into interdependence between agents (Mendenhall, Macomber, & Cutright, 2000). Nonlinear interactions always make the behavior of the aggregate more complicated than would be predicted by summing or averaging (Holland, 1995). That means outcomes of a nonlinear dynamic system are not proportional to the anticipated influence of inputs in the beginning of the process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Emergence: The concept refers to the coming-into-being of novel, higher level structures, patterns, processes, properties, dynamics, and laws, and how this more complex order arises out of the interactions among components (agents) that make up the system itself ( Goldstein, 1999 ). Emergence is the creation of order, the formation of new properties and structures in complex systems. ( Goldstein, 2014 ).

Complexity Science: A complex system is one whose component parts interact with sufficient intricacy that they cannot be predicted by standard linear equations; so many variables are at work in the system that its over-all behavior can only be understood as an emergent consequence of the holistic sum of the myriad behaviors embedded within. Reductionism does not work with complex systems, and it is now clear that a purely reductionist approach cannot be applied; living systems the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This is the result of... complexity which allows certain behaviors and characteristics to emerge unbidden. ( Levy, 1992 ).

Fluidity: Fluidity refers to what is fluxing, operating nonlinearly and emphasizes the shift from being to becoming, from existence to ‘in-the-making’. ( Styhre, 2007 ).

Complexity Leadership Theory: Complexity Leadership Theory is a framework for leadership that enables the learning, creative, and adaptive capacity of complex adaptive systems (CAS) in knowledge-producing organizations or organizational units. This framework seeks to foster CAS dynamics while at the same time enabling control structures appropriate for coordinating formal organizations and producing outcomes appropriate to the vision and mission of the system. It seeks to integrate complexity dynamics and bureaucracy, enabling and coordinating, exploration and exploitation, CAS and hierarchy, and informal emergence and top-down control. Complexity Leadership Theory suggests that the role of managers should not be limited to aligning worker preferences with centralized organizational goals. ( Uhl-Bien, Marion & McKelvey, 2007 ).

Inter-Organizational Trust: It refers to an ongoing, market-oriented, economic calculation whose value is derived by determining the outcomes resulting from creating and sustaining the relationship relative to the costs of maintaining or severing it. ( Lewicki & Bunker, 1996 ).

Nonlinear Dynamics: Nonlinear systems are those for which the equations of motion include nonlinear terms in the evolving variables or their time derivatives. Prominent effects of nonlinearity is that it precludes the use of the superposition principle, meaning that the linear combination of any solutions to the system will not lead to another solution. With regard to linear systems there generally exists a complete set of simple solutions out of which all other solutions can be constructed through linear combination. This is never the case for nonlinear systems and there currently is no other tried and true method for finding solutions that work consistently. ( Charneski and Lodge, 2000 ).

Innoveadership: The term combines leadership and innovation with an attempt to emphasize how these two concepts are intertwined and inseparable. Innovation bears more than a passing resemblance to introducing new implementations to organizational work processes for effectiveness or launching a new product into the market. Innovation is an evolutionary process through which organizational capabilities advance an unprecedented superior level of value creation. Leadership is the nucleus of innovation, which is exempt from personal traits. Leadership is embedded in every social interaction on intra-organizational and inter-organizational scale that catalyzes the emergence of innovation.

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