Long Tail Leadership: Understanding Soft Power Affecting Organizations

Long Tail Leadership: Understanding Soft Power Affecting Organizations

Diane Spencer-Scarr
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5970-4.ch001
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The emergence of a growing long tail has added complexity to organisational leadership. Trends affecting the individual come from social, economic and technological sources and affect leadership behaviours and this in turn affects society. In order to understand this interconnection, lower level influences and how they affect the higher-level visible signs are discussed. These lead to influences on behaviour. Influences which are felt as intensity and embededness of engagement, decision-management, feedback ability and motivators. This chapter begins with a discussion of causes for this phenomenon and concludes with ways to work with the long tail, either from within as a member, or externally as a leader. The chapter ends with a brief comment on future research based on findings discussed in this chapter.
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The origin of the term ‘long tail’ is from statistical distributions such as the Pareto distribution. The Pareto distribution was named after Vilfredo Pareto a civil engineer and economist who observed a power law probability distribution that is now used in descriptions of social, scientific and many other types of observable phenomena. Generally speaking the graph of such a distribution will start high and quickly drops off as a concave curved line, approaching zero along the X-axis. Events at the far ends of the axis have an increasingly low probability of occurrence. The Pareto principle applies in many cases, which gave rise to the 80/20 rule: 80% are accounted for by the first 20% of items in the distribution. It should be noted that the distribution is not strictly 80/20, it may vary.

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