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in Multiple Contexts

To my mother, Beatrice M. Price, who has led change in the military,
in the medical profession, and in the lives of her family members

and friends throughout her life.

in Multiple Contexts

Concepts and Practices in
Organizational, Community,
Political, Social, and Global

Change Settings

University of Richmond

Gill Robinson

Copyright © 2010 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hickman, Gill Robinson.
Leading change in multiple contexts: concepts and practices in organizational,
community, political, social, and global change settings/Gill Robinson Hickman.

p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4129-2677-5 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-4129-2678-2 (pbk.)
1. Leadership. 2. Social change. 3. Organizational change. I. Title.

HM1261.H53 2010
303.48′4—dc22 2009002579

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

09 10 11 12 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Brief Contents

Acknowledgments x

Introduction xi



1. Causality, Change, and Leadership 3



2. Concepts of Organizational Change 43

3. Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 55

4. Organizational Change Practices 79


5. Community Change Context 121

6. Crossing Organizational and Community Contexts 151


7. Political Change Context 163

8. Social Change Context 197

9. Crossing Political and Social Contexts 221


10. Global Change Context 231

11. Crossing Global and Social Contexts: Virtual Activism in
Transnational Dotcauses, E-Movements, and Internet
Nongovernmental Organizations 281

12. Conclusion: Connecting Concepts
and Practices in Multiple Contexts 299

Epilogue: Leading Intellectual Change: The Power of Ideas 304

Index 306

About the Author 313

About the Contributors 314

Detailed Contents

Acknowledgments x

The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank: A Change Vignette xi
Purpose, Concepts, and Practices xi



1. Causality, Change, and Leadership 3
Gill Robinson Hickman and Richard A. Couto

Barbara Rose Johns 3
Analytical Elements 8
Conclusion 27


The Environment of Organizational Change 33
Purpose of Organizational Change 35
Change Vignette: Technology Solutions
Turns Disaster Into Dividends 38

2. Concepts of Organizational Change 43

What Kind of Organizational Change
Do We Want or Need? 43

Conclusion 52

3. Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 55

What Type of Leadership Do We Want or
Need to Accomplish Change? 55

Conclusion 75

4. Organizational Change Practices 79

Which Practices Do We Employ to Implement Change? 79
Conclusion 96
Applications and Reflections 99


5. Community Change Context 121
Richard A. Couto, Sarah Hippensteel Hall, and Marti Goetz

Introduction 121
Purpose of Community Change 121
Change Vignette: Citizens for the Responsible
Destruction of Chemical Weapons 122

Concepts of Change 130
Concepts of Leadership 134
Change Practices 137
Conclusion 142
Application and Reflection 142

6. Crossing Organizational and Community Contexts 151

Introduction 151
Change Vignette: Microcredit to Rural Women 152
Concepts of Change Across Organizational
and Community Contexts 155

Concepts of Leadership Across Organizational
and Community Contexts 156

Change Practices Across Organizational
and Community Contexts 158

Conclusion 160


7. Political Change Context 163
Richard A. Couto

Introduction 163
Purpose of Political Change 164
Change Vignette: Extraordinary Rendition 165
Concepts of Political Change 172
Concepts of Political Leadership 176
Change Practices 184
Conclusion 190
Application and Reflection 191

8. Social Change Context 197

Introduction 197
The Purpose of Social Change 197
Change Vignette: OASIS: An Initiative in the
Mental Health Consumer Movement 198

Concepts of Social Change 200
Concepts of Social Change Leadership 203
Social Change Practices 207
Conclusion 213
Application and Reflection 213

9. Crossing Political and Social Contexts 221

Introduction 221
Vignette: The Sikh Coalition 221
Concepts of Political and Social Change 223
Concepts of Political and Social Leadership 225
Change Practices Across Political and Social Contexts 226
Conclusion 228


10. Global Change Context 231
Rebecca Todd Peters and Gill Robinson Hickman

Introduction 231
Purpose of Global Change 232
Change Vignette: Chad-Cameroon Pipeline 233
Concepts of Global Change 236
Concepts of Global Leadership 242
Global Change Practices 257
Conclusion 264
Application and Reflection 265

11. Crossing Global and Social Contexts: Virtual Activism
in Transnational Dotcauses, E-Movements, and
Internet Nongovernmental Organizations 281

Introduction 281
Change Vignette: Is Global Civil Society a Good Thing? 282
Concepts of Virtual Change 286
Concepts of Virtual Leadership 288
Virtual Change Practices 291
Conclusion 296

12. Conclusion: Connecting Concepts and
Practices in Multiple Contexts 299

Epilogue: Leading Intellectual Change: The Power of Ideas 304
James MacGregor Burns

Index 306

About the Author 313

About the Contributors 314



Iwish to thank the many colleagues, students, and family members who have con-
tributed to the completion of this book. Specifically, I would like to thank the
students in my Leading Change classes at the Jepson School of Leadership

Studies who helped to shape the content and format of this text through their use
of and comments on the initial draft manuscripts; the current Dean of the Jepson
School, Sandra Peart, and former interim Provost of the University of Richmond,
Joseph Kent, for granting me time to complete Leading Change; and former Dean
of the Jepson School, Howard Prince, for giving me the opportunity to develop and
teach the course that led to this book. I am forever grateful to the two academic
coordinators of the Jepson School, Cassie Price and her successor, Tammy Tripp, for
their many months of reference checking and technical editing, their endless
patience, and their consistently congenial dispositions.
My deep appreciation goes to my longtime colleague and friend Richard (Dick)

Couto, an eminent scholar and cocontributor to Chapters 1 and 5 and sole con-
tributor to Chapter 7; to Sarah Hippensteel Hall and Marti Goetz for their experi-
ence, insight, and scholarship as cocontributors to Chapter 5; and to Rebecca Todd
Peters for her superb scholarship, global perspective, and creativity as cocontributor
to Chapter 10. A most special thank you to James MacGregor Burns, my mentor,
colleague, friend, and role model, for writing the epilogue: “Leading Intellectual
Change: The Power of Ideas.” Your intellectual leadership has inspired me and
numerous scholars and students of leadership studies all over the world, and for
that we are exceedingly appreciative.
I am most thankful to the editors and staff of Sage Publications for their exper-

tise, support, and care during the writing and publication of this book, especially
Lisa Cuevas Shaw, MaryAnn Vail, and the late Al Bruckner. You serve as exemplars
of the best in publisher-author relationships.
I am grateful to Wang Fang, a wonderful colleague and friend, whose intellect

and sage advice about the book I fully respect and appreciate. Finally, I owe a special
debt of gratitude to my husband, Garrison Michael Hickman, who provided infi-
nite support and laughter; kept me motivated, fed, and supplied with coffee; and
graciously read every word of the manuscript.



Leadership brings about real change that leaders intend.

—Burns (1978, p. 414)

The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank:
A Change Vignette

The first female bank founder and president in the United States, Maggie L.Walker,
led an unprecedented change to establish an African American–owned bank where
people could combine their economic power to purchase homes, start businesses,
and educate future leaders. Virginia banks owned byWhites in the early 1900s were
unwilling to accept deposits from African American organizations or accept the
pennies and nickels saved from the meager incomes of African American workers.
Inadvertently, the discrimination by White bankers spurred Walker to study
Virginia’s banking and financial laws and enroll in a business course with the aim
of opening a bank (Stanley, 1996). In a 1901 speech before the African American
fraternal organization the Independent Order of St. Luke, she said, “Let us have a
bank that will take the nickels and turn them into dollars” (Walker, 1901).
Walker and her associates formed the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in 1903, with

opening-day receipts totaling $9,430.44. By 1913, the bank’s holdings had grown
to more than $300,000 in assets. The Penny Savings Bank survived the Great
Depression, whereas many other banks across the United States failed. It merged
with two other banks in 1930 and was renamed Consolidated Bank & Trust. The
bank still exists today and continues to pursue the founder’s purpose of economic
self-reliance for African Americans.

Purpose, Concepts, and Practices

The story of Maggie Walker and the founding of the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank
provide a focus for examining the concepts involved in leading change in multiple
contexts. Leading change is a collective effort by participants to intentionally mod-
ify, alter, or transform human social systems. Certainly, Walker and her colleagues
were involved in an intentional, goal-focused change effort. Research and publications

on leading change typically center on how to lead change successfully in organiza-
tions, often with an emphasis on practices. The establishment of an African
American–owned bank in the early 1900s conforms to the typical focus of change.
Yet the focus on the practices of leading organizational change is only one part of
the story. Figure I.1 illustrates the connections among key factors involved in lead-
ing change and identifies several change contexts, including organizational, com-
munity, political, global, and social action. Leading change is ignited by purpose,
influenced by context, and linked by concepts and practices of both leadership and
change, which function jointly to create new outcomes.
The founding of St. Luke Penny Savings Bank provides an introduction to how

the factors in Figure I.1 work together. Moving from the inside of Figure I.1 out-
ward, it is apparent that the Penny Savings Bank came about because of a steadfast
commitment to a compelling purpose. Most often, the purpose of leadership is
change—change in human conditions, social structure, dominant ideas, or prevail-
ing practices in one context or several. Walker articulated the purpose most elo-
quently: “Let us put our moneys together; let us use our moneys; let us put our
money out at usury [interest] among ourselves, and reap the benefit ourselves”
(Miller & Rice, 1997, pp. 66–68).
Several concepts and practices of change apply to the Penny Savings Bank

example. The founding and operation of the bank involved strategic change
(actions to achieve a competitively superior fit between the organization and its
environment; Rajagopalan & Spreitzer, 1997). Its long history of sustained opera-
tion illustrates theories of change, such as life cycle—stages in the bank’s function-
ing from initiation to growth to maturity to decline to revitalization) and
teleological (step-by-step change based on goals and purpose) and dialectical
change (conflict, negotiation, compromise, and resolution; Van de Ven & Poole,
1995), such as the firing of its officers in 2003.
In the area of community change, the purpose and focus of the bank demon-

strate concepts of community empowerment or social power (i.e., actions by a
community to control its own destiny; Speer & Hughley, 1995) using practices of
community development (i.e., mobilization of resources by the community;
Kretzmann & McKnight, 1996), social capital development (i.e., social networks
and the associated norms of reciprocity; Putnam, 2000), and economic develop-
ment. Walker’s stature in the business community and her personal convictions
allowed her to become involved in social change or social movements. She
cofounded civil rights organizations to fight racial injustice in the South, including
the Richmond branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) and the Richmond Council of Colored Women, and she became
an active member of the National Urban League and the Virginia Interracial
Committee, among others. Through these organizations, Walker was able to par-
ticipate in social change that illustrates theoretical concepts of rational choice
(strategies to transform social structures) and resource mobilization (actions taken
by social movement organizations) (Garner & Tenuto, 1997).
Walker exhibited several concepts of leadership in action during her quest to

bring about organizational, community, and social change. Her speeches clearly


exemplified her charismatic leadership style through strong rhetorical skills and the
ability to create an uplifting vision in the hearts and minds of followers (Hughes,
Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009, p. 637). She was a capable transactional leader (Burns,
1978) who, as president of the Penny Savings Bank, provided an exchange of valued
things between the bank and the community. For example, the bank accepted small
deposits of hard-earned cash from customers in exchange for providing a source of
consolidated funds to build homes and businesses.Walker’s initiative intended “real
change” in the sense that James MacGregor Burns’s (1978) concept of transforming
leadership connotes. By 1920, the Penny Savings Bank had helped members of the
community purchase 600 homes. Walker made loans to African American–owned
businesses and started a department store and weekly newspaper, the St. Luke
Herald. These businesses employed many members of the Jackson Ward area who,
in turn, were able to support themselves, their families, and their community.

Introduction xiii






• Organizational
• Community
• Political
• Social Action
• Global

FIGURE I .1 Leading Change in Multiple Contexts

Context, the setting or environment in which change takes place, matters a great
deal, along with larger contextual elements of history, culture, and society. Wren
(1995) explained the significance of larger contextual elements to leadership:

Leaders and followers do not act in a vacuum. They are propelled, constrained,
and buffeted by their environment. The effective leader must understand the
nature of the leadership context, and how it affects the leadership process.
Only then can he or she operate effectively in seeking to achieve the group’s
objectives. . . . First—beginning at the most macro level—are the long-term
forces of history (social, economic, political, and intellectual); the second
sphere of the leadership context is colored by the values and beliefs of the con-
temporary culture; and finally, at the most micro level, leadership is shaped by
such “immediate” aspects of the context as the nature of the organization, its
mission, and the nature of the task. (p. 243)

Many historical and cultural elements are evident in the St. Luke Penny Savings
Bank vignette. Long-term forces of history—from slavery, to the Civil War, to
Reconstruction, and then Jim Crow segregation—led to the context that generated
the leadership of Maggie Walker and many others, who in turn helped create a self-
sufficient society for African Americans that paralleled European American society
in the South.
In addition to long-term forces, immediate contexts—organizational, commu-

nity, political, social change, and global—affect leading change in significant ways.
The purpose and focus of leading change in each context varies, as indicated in
Table I.1, even though change in one context (social or community) may lead to or
call for change in another (political). The way in which authority is granted to con-
stituted leaders to bring about change in organizations is different from the author-
ity of elected officials to affect change in local, state, or federal government. Leaders
in each context are chosen by different means (elected vs. appointed) and they serve
different constituencies (the electorate/public vs. boards and stockholders).
Context also influences concepts and practices of leadership, even though

leadership concepts and practices tend to be adaptable and effective in different set-
tings. For example, Maggie Walker was able to use charismatic, transactional, and
transforming leadership to bring about change successfully in organizational, com-
munity, and social action contexts. The same concept or form of leadership may be
used in different contexts but affect very different groups and bring about different
outcomes. Charismatic, servant, transactional, and invisible leadership, for example,
can be used in organizational, political, social change, and community contexts. Yet
these forms of leadership affect different groups (employees, constituents, under-
represented groups, or local citizens/community members), and they are intended
for different purposes. Leading global change may require transcending boundaries
(by identifying what makes us all human), whereas some new social movement
leadership may entail creating new identities (the new Right or Left) that separate
groups. Although the Penny Savings Bank provides an illustration of leading
change in an organizational context, this example also demonstrates the interde-
pendent nature of change and its impact across several contexts—organizations,
community, and social activism (social movement).




















































































































The efforts of Maggie Walker and her colleagues to lead change in the Jackson
Ward community led to many significant outcomes. In addition to establishing a
bank to serve the financial needs of the African American community, Walker and
her associates helped to create a self-reliant and thriving community with its own
banks, businesses, jobs, homes, and social and economic capital. Members of the
community were able to use these resources to establish civil rights organizations,
which contributed to the ultimate downfall of segregation in the South.
The intent of this book is to bring together many concepts and practices of

change and leadership from various disciplines and connect them to leading change
in the five different contexts. The introduction to each context begins with a
vignette about actual circumstances, like the founding of St. Luke Penny Savings
Bank, to help illustrate concepts and practices in each context, and concludes with
an application and reflection that allows readers to analyze other real-life situations
using information from the chapter. These vignettes and applications provide
examples of each context featured in the text and give readers a sense of how lead-
ing change differs in every setting. The book is divided into five parts. Part I, which
has only a single chapter, deals with conceptual views of leadership. Part II consists
of three chapters devoted to the organizational change context, given that more
research and publications have been generated about leading change in organiza-
tions than in the other contexts. Part II includes five applications and reflections
that represent several types of organizations. In Parts III–V, community, political,
social, and global change contexts are examined separately for analytical purposes.
Three chapters examine situations in which leading change in one context involves
advocating or initiating change in another context because, in reality, change in one
context almost invariably generates some form of change in at least one other con-
text. These interactions across contexts commonly produce change in both settings.
It is difficult to bring about long-term community or social change, for instance,
without ultimately generating public-policy change that authorizes or inhibits spe-
cific actions. Few long-term gains in civil rights or environmental protections
would be possible without significant policy changes in these areas.
Leading change is almost always a complex, long-term, and challenging

endeavor. Yet it is one of the most central processes to the study and practice of
leadership. I hope that this book will help its readers understand concepts and prac-
tices involved in leading change and inspire each reader to make a meaningful dif-
ference in some aspect of life in communities, organizations, politics/public policy,
society, or the world.


Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper Torchbooks.

Garner, R., & Tenuto, J. (1997). Social movement theory and research: An annotated biblio-

graphical guide. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2009). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of

experience (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Kretzmann, J., & McKnight, J. P. (1996). Assets-based community development. National

Civic Review, 85(4), 23–29.

Miller,M.M., & Rice, D.M. (1997). Pennies to dollars: The story of Maggie LenaWalker.North

Haven, CT: Linnet Books.

Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New

York: Touchstone.

Rajagopalan, N., & Spreitzer, G.M. (1997). Toward a theory of strategic change: A multi-lens

perspective and integrative framework. Academy of Management Review, 22, 48–79.

Speer, P. W., & Hughey, J. (1995). Community organizing: An ecological route to empower-

ment and power. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 729–774.

Stanley, B. N. (1996, February 13). Maggie L. Walker. Richmond Times Dispatch, p. B6.

Van de Ven, A. H., & Poole, M. S. (1995). Explaining development and change in organiza-

tions. Academy of Management Review, 20, 510–540.

Walker, M. L. (1901). An address to the 34th annual session of the right worthy grand council of

Virginia, Independent Order of St. Luke. Retrieved August 19, 2004, from http://

Wren, J. T. (1995). The leader’s companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. New York:

Free Press.

Introduction xvii



Conceptual Perspectives
on Leading Change


Prior to writing this book, I participated with several leadership scholars in
a project known as the General Theory of Leadership (GTOL), led by James
MacGregor Burns, George (Al) Goethals, and Georgia Sorenson. Our mis-

sion, as conceived by Burns, was to develop an integrative theory of leadership—in
his words, “to provide people studying or practicing leadership with a general guide
or orientation—a set of principles that are universal which can be then adapted to
different situations” (Managan, 2002). Though the group did not produce a general
theory of leadership, at the conclusion of the project “the members of the group
decided that the most productive way to proceed was to create a volume of essays
designed to capture, to the best of our ability, the nuances of 3 years of scholarly
debate and discussion” (Wren, 2006, p. 34). This effort resulted in a book titled The
Quest for a General Theory of Leadership (referred to as the Quest) (Goethals &
Sorenson, 2006).

Congruent with my scholarship and teaching interests, and in anticipation of
writing Leading Change in Multiple Contexts, I worked with a group (consisting of
Richard Couto, Fredric Jablin, and myself) that would write the Quest chapter on
change. The greater part of that chapter is included in this introduction to provide
the conceptual perspective from which I consider leading change.1 As indicated by
the Quest editors, this perspective:

take[s] issue with the “Newtonian, mechanistic and old science” view of a
leader or leaders initiating change and instead offer[s] a complex net of co-
arising historical, economic, group and environmental factors that ebb and
flow, push and pull, to collectively birth change. Using a constructionist

approach [the view that humans construct or create reality and give it
meaning through social, economic and political interactions] as opposed to an
essentialist one [the view that social and natural realties exist apart from
our perceptions of reality and that individuals perceive the world rather than
construct it], they deftly demonstrate the interpenetrating and complex nature
of leadership in action. (Goethals & Sorenson, 2006, p. xvii)

This viewpoint does not presume that “conditions change merely because a
group of people wants them to change. . . . social reality is subject to historical con-
ditions that can either foster or hinder change beyond any single person’s or group’s
ability to effect change” (Hickman & Couto, 2006, p. 153).

The next section presents a vignette from the early civil rights movement in the
United States and describes the actions taken by Barbara Rose Johns and the
student leaders at Moton High School in protest of injustices committed by Prince
Edward County Virginia School Board officials. The analysis that follows identifies
and examines elements that contributed to change in this case, with the hope of
illuminating elements that may be useful for understanding change across contexts.


1. I wish to thank Wang Fang for her recommendation concerning this chapter.


Goethals, G. R., & Sorenson, G. L. J. (Eds.). (2006).The quest for a general theory of leadership.

Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Hickman, G. R., & Couto, R. A. (2006). Causality, change, and leadership. In G. R. Goethals &

G. L. J. Sorenson (Eds.), The quest for a general theory of leadership (pp. 152–187).

Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Managan, K. (2002, May 31). Leading the way in leadership: The unending quest of the

discipline’s founding father, James MacGregor Burns. Chronicle of Higher Education,

48(38), A10–12. Retrieved October 26, 2008, from


Wren, J. T. (2006). Introduction. In Goethals, G. R. & Sorenson, G. L. J. (Eds.), The quest for

a general theory of leadership (p. 34). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.



Causality, Change,
and Leadership
Gill Robinson Hickman and Richard A. Couto

Barbara Rose Johns

As a junior at Robert R. Moton High School in Farmville, the county seat of Prince
Edward County, Virginia, Barbara Rose Johns knew that the segregated, all-Black
school that she attended in 1951 was separate but certainly not equal. She saw the
same markers of inequality familiar to African American school children and their
parents throughout the South at the time: textbooks handed down from the White
students and, most of all, overcrowded facilities. In Johns’s case, a school built in
1939 to serve 180 students instead housed 450 students. The school accommodated
some of the overflow students in three buildings hastily erected in 1949. Built of
2 × 4s, plywood, and tar paper, they were dubbed “shacks” or “chicken coops.”

At the constant prodding of the Moton PTA and its president, the Reverend L.
Francis Griffin, pastor of the First Baptist Church, the all-White school board
offered regular assurances but no action on a new high school for African American
children. Progress slowed and the assurances became so broad that in April 1951,
the school board suggested that the Moton High School PTA not come back to the
school board’s meetings. Johns shared her concerns about the poor facilities and
her frustration with the board’s delaying tactics with her favorite teacher, Inez
Davenport. Davenport replied, “Why don’t you do something about it?”


AUTHORS’NOTE: This chapter is an excerpt from“Causality, Change, and Leadership,”by Gill Robinson
Hickman and Richard A. Couto. In The Quest for a General Theory of Leadership (pp. 152–187), by George
R. Goethals & Georgia L. J. Sorenson (Eds.), 2006, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Copyright
© 2006 by Edward Elgar Publishing. By permission of Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. This chapter includes
the invaluable contributions of our late colleague and friend, Fredric M. Jablin, who provided his seminal
insights during the conceptualization and outlining phase of this project.

So Johns did. During a 6-month period she enlisted student leaders a few at a
time to take action themselves. Finally on April 23, 1951, following the PTA’s failed
efforts, the students put their plans in motion. They started by luring M. Boyd
Jones, the African American principal of the school, away from the premises with a
false alarm about students making trouble at the bus station. He had received such
complaints before and was anxious to put a stop to whatever was going on. As soon
as he left, Johns and the other student leaders sent a forged note to every classroom
calling for a school assembly at 11:00 a.m.

When the students and teachers arrived in the auditorium, the stage curtain
opened on Johns and other student strike leaders. She asked the two dozen teach-
ers to leave, and most of them did. She then laid out the already well-known griev-
ances and said that it was time for the students to take matters into their own hands
by striking. No one was to go to class. If they stuck together, she explained, the
Whites would have to respond. Nothing would happen to them, because the jail was
not big enough to hold all of them. Principal Jones returned to school to find the
student assembly in full swing. He pleaded with the students not to strike and
explained that progress on the new school was being made. Johns asked him to go
back to his office, and he did.

Flush with their initial success, the student strike committee asked Rev. Griffin
to come to the school that afternoon and give them some advice. They asked him if
the students should ask their parents’ permission to strike. The African American
adult population in Prince Edward County was “docile” in the view of Rev. Griffin,
who had spent time trying to organize an NAACP chapter in the county. He sug-
gested that the matter be put to a vote, which ultimately determined that the
students should proceed without getting their parents’ approval. At Griffin’s urging,
Johns and Carrie Stokes, student body president, wrote a letter to the NAACP attor-
neys in Richmond asking for their assistance.

The next afternoon the strike committee met with the superintendent of
schools, T. J. McIlwaine, who was serving a fourth decade in that position. He rep-
resented the softer side of Jim Crow—accepting things as they were and doing his
best to be fair and evenhanded in a system of injustice and oppression. At the meet-
ing, the opposing sides hardened their stances. McIlwaine insisted on African
American subordination and made numerous promises—assuring the students
that much had already been done and that more would be done in time. He also
previewed a gauntlet of reprisals—warning the students that unless they went back
to class, the teachers and the principal would lose their jobs. The students left dis-
mayed by McIlwaine’s elusive and evasive manner but encouraged by their perfor-
mance in the confrontation. They had held their own in the face of White power.

On Wednesday, 2 days into the strike, NAACP attorneys Oliver Hill and
Spottswood Robinson III came by to talk with the strike leaders and their support-
ers in response to the letter they had received from the students. Both Hill and
Robinson were high-profile civil rights lawyers who regularly engaged in lawsuits.
They had studied at Howard University, a training ground for advocacy lawyers,
and had joined the network of African American lawyers working to redress racial
inequality across the country. On the state and national level, the premise of the
NAACP’s advocacy had been that as long as Plessy v. Ferguson was the law of the


land, the government had to make equal what it insisted remain separate. They had
already won several lawsuits for equal pay and facilities around the state of Virginia.
Hill had even won a case for equal salaries for Prince Edward County teachers
before World War II.

Hill and Robinson were not encouraging on this day, however. They and other
NAACP members had grown tired of equalization suits, which although plentiful,
only succeeded in changing the subordination of African Americans teachers and
students at the margins. They were interested in shifting their strategy to confront
school desegregation directly and were paying close attention to a case from
Clarendon County, South Carolina, that was moving toward the U.S. Supreme
Court. In fact, when Hill and Robinson stopped to speak to the Farmville student
strike organizers, they were en route to Pulaski County,Virginia, to determine if the
plaintiffs in a case there were willing to transform their suit from equalization to
desegregation. They counseled the students to go back to class.

The students, however, were adamant in their refusal to end the strike.
Impressed by their determination and not wanting to dampen their spirits, Hill and
Robinson offered to help if the students would agree to return to school and change
their case from one of equalization to one of desegregation.

The next evening, April 26, 1,000 students and parents attended a mass meet-
ing in Farmville. The secretary of the state NAACP urged the parents to support
their children. Without parental support, he said, the NAACP would not initiate
what it knew would be a long, hard suit that would require considerable
endurance. Initial assessments suggested that 65% of parents supported the
students and the NAACP intervention; 25% opposed it; and 10% had no opinion.
No opponents spoke that night.

On April 30, the school board sent out a letter signed by Principal Jones, urging
parents to send their children back to school. The strange wording, which stated
that Jones and the staff “had been authorized by the division superintendent” to
send the letter, suggested that Jones was acting under duress. Rev. Griffin, however
appreciative of Jones’s difficult position, nevertheless understood that the princi-
pal’s prestige and authority could influence many parents to change or waver in
their support of the strike and court action. Consequently, Griffin sent out his own
letter calling for another mass meeting on Thursday, May 3, and underscoring the
significance of what the students were trying to accomplish: “REMEMBER. The
eyes of the world are on us. The intelligent support we give our cause will serve as
a stimulant for the cause of free people everywhere” (Smith, 1965/1996, p. 58). John
Lancaster, Negro county farm agent, helped Griffin get out the mass mailing.

On May 3 Hill and Robinson petitioned the school board for the desegregation
of the county’s schools. The meeting that night took the form of a rally and served
as a real turning point. J. B. Pervall, the former principal of Moton High School,
spoke in favor of the standard of equality but not integration and gave many people
in the packed church reason to pause and reassess what they were supporting. The
NAACP officials attempted to regain the momentum, but it was Barbara Johns who
succeeded in restoring the crowd’s support. She reminded members of the audience
of their experience and the students’ action. In concluding, she effectively
recounted the many small and large insults suffered by African Americans in the

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 5

history of race relations, challenging Pervall with unmistakable metaphors of White
oppression and Black accommodation to it. She admonished the huge gathering:
“Don’t let Mr. Charlie, Mr. Tommy, or Mr. Pervall stop you from backing us. We
are depending on you” (Smith, 1965/1996, p. 59). Rev. Griffin took the cue and
asserted Pervall’s right to speak but implied cowardice of anyone who would not
match the students’ courage and back them. The students consented to return to
school on Monday, May 7. Hill and Robinson promised that they would file suit in
federal court unless the school board agreed to integrate by May 8.

The Walkout Becomes a Federal Case

On May 23, one month after the strike, Robinson followed through on the
NAACP’s promise in light of the board’s inaction and filed suit in federal court in
Richmond, Virginia, on behalf of 117 Moton students. In Davis v. County School
Board of Prince Edward County he argued that Virginia’s law requiring segregated
schools be struck down as unconstitutional. The attorney general, looking at the
facts, counseled that an equalization suit was indefensible for the state but integra-
tion was too radical a remedy. The state immediately began improving the facilities
in an effort to render the suit moot.

The prestigious Richmond law firm Hunton,Williams, Anderson, Gay, & Moore
represented the school board. Two senior partners, Archibald Gerard Robertson
and Justin Moore, prepared a vigorous defense of segregation. During the 5-day
trial, which began on February 25, 1952, they argued a very familiar defense of poor
facilities for African American children: to each according to the taxes that they pay.
The poverty of African Americans meant a low tax base among them and thus a
generous White subsidy of their schools.

Robinson and Hill presented a now-familiar cast of witnesses who discussed the
psychological impact of segregation. Moore rebutted one witness for the plaintiffs
specifically for his Jewish background and the others for their unfamiliarity with the
mores of the South. Moore ridiculed educator and psychologist Kenneth B. Clark
for his research methods and overreaching conclusions. During Moore’s cross-
examination of Clark, Moore and Hill clashed vehemently—and just short of
physically—over Moore’s contention that the NAACP and Hill himself stirred up and
fomented critical situations. The passions of this exchange portended events to come.

The court found unanimously for the school board. The students and their
parents were disappointed, given their honest, albeit idealistic, belief that they
would win because their cause was just. Robinson and Hill were neither surprised
nor disappointed; they were now prepared to appeal to higher courts. Davis v.
School Board reached the Supreme Court in July and joined with other school
desegregation cases for argument on December 8, 1952.

The drama of a local school strike reaching the U.S. Supreme Court was not
over, although many of the original actors in the school strike had exited the stage.
Barbara Rose Johns left Farmville soon after the strike. Her family, concerned for
her safety, sent her to Montgomery, Alabama, to live with her uncle Rev. Vernon
Johns, minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The education board fired
Boyd Jones, and he and his new wife, Moton High School teacher Inez Davenport,


also moved to Montgomery so he could attend graduate school. Ironically, the cou-
ple became members of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

The arguments of December left the Court with the task of deciding the legality of
school desegregation and possibly the constitutionality of Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896
decision that found separate but equal to be constitutional. A divided Court, with at
least two dissenting votes, was ready to overturn Plessy but sought a stronger major-
ity. Justice Felix Frankfurter bought some time for the Court by developing a set of
remaining questions, and the Court asked that the case be reargued on October 12,
1953. In the interval Chief Justice Fred Vinson died and Earl Warren, former gover-
nor of California, replaced him as the new chief justice.Warren worked to gain a con-
sensus among his fellow justices, who had become deeply divided during Vinson’s
tenure regarding civil liberties in the McCarthy era. Firmly opposed to the constitu-
tionality of Plessy v. Ferguson, Warren relied on diplomacy and compromise in lan-
guage to make it possible for the Court, including a hospitalized member, to render a
unanimous decision on May 17, 1954. The Court ruled that school segregation was
unconstitutional and that separate-but-equal could not be applied to schools.

Local Authorities and Their Reactions

The Court’s decision engendered a severe backlash in the South, particularly in
Prince Edward County and other parts of Virginia. As long as the courts did not set
a remedy for segregation, one of Warren’s compromises, segregation remained the
de facto practice in Prince Edward County and other parts of the South. In 1956
the courts finally ordered desegregation but still did not set a timetable for it.
Prominent Virginia politicians and editors invoked the theory of interposition—
the right of state government to position itself between the federal government and
those otherwise bound by its laws. They called for “massive resistance” in much the
same way that Johns had, certain that they could avoid punishment for noncom-
pliance with the new federal law by presenting a united front. Extremists promised
to put an end to public schools rather than integrate them.

Reprisals and resistance hit Prince Edward County particularly hard. On the per-
sonal side John Lancaster lost his job as Negro county farm agent and Rev. Griffin,
besieged by every creditor, was left penniless. His wife suffered a nervous breakdown
as a result of the stress. On the policy side the Prince Edward County Board of
Supervisors had been providing funding for the public schools one month at a time
as long as the schools remained segregated. But in 1959 the federal appeals court
ordered Prince Edward County and the rest of Virginia to desegregate its schools in
September. In response, the board of supervisors did not allocate any funds for public
schools. Instead it provided tuition assistance to students desiring to attend all-White
private schools that had been established in the county in the event of court-ordered
integration. The county’s public schools remained closed until 1964, perhaps offering
the most radical example of massive resistance on the local level in the nation.

For the 5 years the public schools were closed, the NAACP litigated for public
funding of integrated schools. African American residents established learning cen-
ters for their children. A few families were able to send their children to live with
relatives outside the county where they could attend public schools.

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 7

New tensions arose in the African American community. Attorneys for the
NAACP sought a legal remedy rather than a local remedy that they feared might
undermine their case. Intent on having the courts decide the controversy, the
NAACP did not want the learning centers to approximate the quality of school
instruction and steadfastly avoided a compromise with officials that would lead to
the reopening of the public schools. African Americans heeded the NAACP’s advice
and began to register to vote in an effort to vote local authorities out of office rather
than submit to them.

By 1960 Prince Edward County had gained notoriety and came to represent
what needed to be changed in the South. It attracted organizations other than the
NAACP and more direct action protest: Black Muslims supported separate and
better schools; the Sit-In Movement inspired direct action; and the Student Non-
Violent Coordinating Committee sent in organizers to plan boycotts as well as to
tutor the children locked out of their schools. Griffin managed to bridge the gap
between the increasingly “old” efforts of NAACP litigation and the “new” methods
of movement organizing. He supported the latter in the county even as he became
president of the NAACP statewide. Ironically, the “new” movement tactics of direct
action had an exemplar: a school boycott organized in 1951 by high school junior
Barbara Rose Johns.

Analytical Elements

What elements contributed to change in this case? Are these elements present in
organizational, community, political, and other social contexts? In this section we
explore these questions by proposing several analytical elements that may be useful
for understanding this case and others.


Accounts of leadership often reduce causality to a limited set of factors. This
enables us to portray leadership as links in a chain of cause and effect, such as when
we credit Clinton’s fiscal policies with the prosperity of the 1990s or a CEO with the
turnaround of a company, without considering the many other factors that played
a part in these outcomes. In the case of Prince Edward County, Barbara Johns’s
leadership undeniably influenced school desegregation. But an exclusive focus on
her role reflects an oversimplification of the chain of events and seriously underes-
timates the nature of leadership. Leadership is infinitely more complex than the
efforts of any one individual; rather, it is the impact of efforts to influence the
actions of leaders and followers opposed to and supportive of the same or related
changes. This perspective on leadership requires attention to a network of actors
and the sea of other changes in which a leader’s influence efforts take place. Four
analytical frames help us to attend to this network of influence rather than to a spe-
cific leader: Kurt Lewin’s field theory; Gunnar Myrdal’s principle of cumulative
effect; Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge’s theory of punctuated equilibrium;
and Margaret Wheatley’s work on systems.


Kurt Lewin, Field Theory

Kurt Lewin’s field theory espouses that effective change requires understanding
“the totality of coexisting facts which are conceived as mutually interdependent”
(Lewin, 1951, p. 240). Lewin, a psychologist with training in physics and mathemat-
ics, concerned himself with individual and group behavior, including change. He
contributed ”action research” to the field of problem-centered scholarship. Problem
solving, just like effective change, requires placing a problem within a system or field
with as many relevant and interdependent elements as possible.Within this field each
individual also becomes a dynamic field with interdependent parts, including “life
spaces” of family, work, church, and other groups. People take positive and negative
influences from their experiences that shape their identity and help explain their
behavior. Lewin advocated assembling all the relevant, mutually independent factors
to explain social phenomena such as leadership and change. For example, Johns may
or may not have been aware that before she met school superintendent McIlwaine, he
had tangled with her uncle Vernon Johns over Black students’ access to county school
bus transportation and with Oliver Hill over Black teachers’ pay a dozen years before.
Nonetheless, McIlwaine remained aware of those experiences, and they undoubtedly
influenced his assessment of Barbara Johns’s efforts to lead and his judgment about
the nature of the student strike. Because of their influence on McIlwaine, these prior
conflicts became part of the field of the controversy. Their hidden nature suggests the
difficulties of gathering and assessing all the facts relevant to an event.

Gunnar Myrdal, the Principle of Cumulative Effect

Gunnar Myrdal and his colleagues completed their epic study, An American
Dilemma: The Negro Problem andModern Democracy, before the appearance of Lewin’s
field theory. They offered a theoretical framework for the condition of African
Americans very much like Lewin and extrapolated it to a method of social research
(Myrdal, 1944, p. 1066). Myrdal’s study begins with the notion of a system in stable
equilibrium and rejects it as inadequate to provide a“dynamic analysis of the process of
change in social relations” (Myrdal, 1944, p. 1065). The static equilibrium of a system is
merely a starting point of the balance of opposing forces. In the simplest of systems,
with only two opposing elements, a change in one brings about a change in the other,
which in turn brings on more change.The changes may be subtle enough to appear sta-
ble but only because of the constant state of adjustment. Any system is far more com-
plex with many interrelated elements; even the simplest system with two opposing
elements becomes complex when we examine the composites of each element.

Myrdal proposed a principle of cumulation to explain change within a system of
dynamic social causation. Change accumulates as one change brings on another
change, and the elements of a system and their composites or subsystems represent
a second form of cumulation. The principle states, assuming an initial static state
of balanced forces:

Any change in any one of [its] factors, independent of the way in which it is
brought about, will, by the aggregate weight of the cumulative effects running

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 9

back and forth between them all, start the whole system moving in one direction
or the other as the case may be, with a speed depending upon the original push
and the functions of causal interrelation within the system. (Myrdal, 1944,
p. 1067)

Myrdal elaborated that the final effects of the cumulative process may be out of
proportion to the magnitude of the original push. More to the point of our case,
although the initial push may be withdrawn—the school strike ended—“the
process of change will continue without a new balance in sight” (Myrdal, 1944,
p. 1066). This happens largely because the system in which any change occurs is far
more complicated than it appears. Every element of the system interrelates with
every other element, and every element has its peculiarities and irregularities
(Myrdal, 1944, p. 1068).

Myrdal concluded in terms central to our concern about causality: “This con-
ception of a great number of interdependent factors, mutually cumulative in their
effects, disposes of the idea that there is one predominant factor, a ‘basic factor’”
(Myrdal, 1944, p. 1069). This includes leadership.

Indeed, the notion of leadership may be a construct of our attempts to understand
causality within a system of change. This radically alters the enduring debate: Does
change create leaders or do leaders create change? The cumulative principle would
suggest that the actions of leaders may influence others to take action that in turn
influences others in a continuing chain—thus the answer to the question is neither and
both. Change does not create leaders, nor do leaders create change; and change creates
leaders and leaders create change. Observers apply the construct of leadership to
people’s actions—actions that are intended to influence the actions of other people—
within a system of change. The construct of leadership may be used retroactively to
suggest causality. The accuracy of that assessment depends upon the boundaries of the
system; the broader the boundaries, the less likely any set of actions has a primary
causal relationship to systemic change. Leadership is more easily applied to actions in
a system of static equilibrium and a circumscribed set of cumulative factors.

Both Myrdal and Lewin borrowed heavily from quantum mechanics in particu-
lar for concepts of field and the steady state of disequilibrium. Both men emulated
physics in their hope that human behavior and systems of change, however com-
plicated, could be expressed mathematically.

Stephen J. Gould and Niles Eldredge,
Punctuated Equilibrium

Concepts of equilibrium and change also feature prominently in the work of sci-
entists Stephen Gould and Niles Eldredge (1972). Their theory of punctuated equi-
librium explains major changes in nature after long periods of stasis that cause
divergence or branching of a new animal or plant species (Gould, 1991). Real
change occurs if this divergence establishes a trend wherein the new species suc-
ceeds more frequently than the previous one.

Like field and systems theories, social scientists extrapolated the concept of
punctuated equilibrium to explain changes in social systems that occur after long


periods of incremental change punctuated by brief periods of major change
(Schlager, 1999). This phenomenon helps to explain how Johns and the other
student leaders could launch a successful trend of mass resistance to racial inequal-
ity after decades of incremental change facilitated by previous generations stretch-
ing back to the era of slavery. Brief periods of punctuated equilibrium, such as the
creation of a community of free Blacks in 1810 (Ely, 2004), established a trend of
sustained resistance to an unjust racial system in Prince Edward County and other
Black communities, even in the face of retribution from White power holders.

Margaret Wheatley, the New Science and Leadership

Margaret Wheatley’s work (1992) permits us to bridge the concepts of punctu-
ated equilibrium in paleobiology and the physics of quantum mechanics to
leadership in a manner that builds upon the field theory of Lewin and the cumula-
tive principle of Myrdal.Wheatley explains that physics had introduced field theory
to explain gravity, electromagnetism, and relativity. The common element of fields
in each of these is that they are “unseen structures, occupying space and becoming
known to us through their effects.” The space of fields and, we may add, their time,
is not empty but “a cornucopia of invisible but powerful effective structure”
(Wheatley, 1992, p. 49). Both Lewin and Myrdal also suggested that to understand
human behavior and social change we need to recognize that time and space are not
empty and begin to fill in their invisible but effective structure.

Wheatley also explains the relevance of field theory in the life sciences in a man-
ner analogous to Myrdal’s principle of cumulation. Morphogenic fields develop
through the accumulated behaviors of a species’members. Successive members find
it easier to acquire a skill, such as bicycle riding, in a setting where many others have
accumulated it. Contrary to Newtonian concepts of causation, it is the energy of the
receiver that takes up the form of a morphogenic field (Wheatley, 1992, p. 51). In
leadership terms, the efficacy of leaders comes from shaping a field in which others,
by their own actions, may participate in the energy and forms of the field. Barbara
Johns certainly did this for students, their parents, and many others. But she was
also within the fields that others—including Rev. Griffin, Superintendent
McIlwaine, Principal Jones and teacher Inez Davenport, and the other teachers at
Moton High School—had shaped.

Wheatley elaborates on the consequence of this conception of field for

The idea that leaders have vision, set goals and then marshal their own energy
and that of others to achieve these goals is a Newtonian view of change
focused on a prime mover and a mechanistic concept of change. Although
partially true—some elements of old science still hold in the new science—
this focus overlooks the complex fields of cumulative interactions across time
and space in which all of this takes place. We might conceive of change as a
destination sought through the leader as engine—a linear and railroad track
analog. This would ignore the fact that even railroads function within fields—
including elements from appropriations to weather—that influence when and

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 11

where trains arrive or if they run at all. Better, Wheatley argues, to think about
organizational culture and the deliberate and intentional formation of fields
that reinforce the values and goals of an organization and fill its spaces and
history with coherent messages. (Wheatley, 1992, pp. 52–57)

Of course, this view is limited to those fields within an organization—such as
the Moton High School PTA—and does not take into account the field in which
these organizations interact with other actors with opposing values and goals—
such as the Prince Edward County School Board.

Dynamic Systems of Interdependent
Parts, Change, and Causality

Wheatley’s work invites us to view the field of leadership as a dynamic system in
which change is a constant. Myrdal describes it as rolling equilibrium and alerts
social scientists that they have to study:

processes of systems actually rolling in the one direction or the other, systems
which are constantly subjected to all sorts of pushes from outside through all
the variables, and which are moving because of the cumulative effect of all these
pushes and the interaction between the variables. (Myrdal, 1944, p. 1067)

Peter Vaill describes this system as “permanent white water” (1996, p. 2) and
“chaotic change” (1989) but attributes these conditions to recent changes rather
than newly discovered enduring attributes of systems as Wheatley does.

Regardless of these important differences, many leadership scholars acknowl-
edge that in the context of a dynamic, interdependent system, leaders play a far dif-
ferent role than the one often ascribed to them. For example, Adam Yarmolinsky
takes issue with James MacGregor Burns about leaders initiating change.
Yarmolinsky (2007) points out that leaders join a system in the midst of change and
simply do their best to mediate and direct change in a shifting environment. Ronald
Heifetz similarly, if implicitly, acknowledges that leaders, especially those without
authority, modulate the distress within dynamic systems (Heifetz, 1994, p. 207).

Likewise many leadership scholars acknowledge the complexity of such systems
of fields and recognize that these fields undergo constant change. Vaill writes of
organizations as universes with galaxies of knowledge and information (Vaill,
1989, p. xii). Heifetz (Heifetz & Linsky, 2002) and Vaill also place importance on
the personal attributes of the leader, thus opening up a whole other dimension
that can affect and further complicate the fields of organization and change, much
as Lewin predicted.

The organizational and personal complexities of this constant change were fully
evident in the Prince Edward County case. For example, the series of events that
played such a pivotal role in the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on this case
were at least as complicated as the events comprising the racial history of Prince
Edward County. To offer only one example, the death of Chief Justice Vinson made
possible a strong majority opinion in Brown v. Board of Education. Earl Warren,


who assumed the role of chief justice, was determined to have a unanimous deci-
sion. His determination was no doubt influenced by the guilt he felt for the role he
had played in the internment of West Coast Japanese Americans when he was gov-
ernor of California during the Second World War. Brown v. Board of Education gave
him the opportunity to repent his own transgressions and to end those of the
nation (Kluger, 1975, pp. 661–662).

Warren began his penance before Brown. In 1946 a federal district court declared
the segregation of Mexican-American school children in California unconstitu-
tional in Mendez v. Westminster. The case anticipated the issues of Brown, although
the grounds of segregation were national origin rather than race. After the federal
circuit court upheld the lower court, Governor Warren lobbied the legislature in
1947 to pass bills that ended legal segregation for all groups in California. Even a
scholar as conscientious as Richard Kluger overlooked how influential this experi-
ence would prove to be for Warren. The California case, like the Brown case, was a
complex field that developed its own twists and ironies. Gonzalo Mendez, the lead
plaintiff in the case, was able to pursue his grievance because of the income he
derived farming land that he had leased from the Munemitsus after the Japanese-
American family had been “relocated” to an internment camp. Warren’s most egre-
gious public policy indirectly provided him the opportunity to pursue one of his
most progressive official acts (Teachers Domain, n.d.; Ruiz, 2001).

Wheatley offers another element of fields that Lewin and Myrdal did not fore-
see, namely, the manifestation of the entire system in each of its parts. Fractals best
express this property of systems of dynamic change. Zoom in on any part of a
chaotic system and one finds recurring patterns. Every part of a field of change may
manifest the transformative change of the entire field, but a focus on a minute part
of the field may obscure the perception of the pattern that comes from examining
subsets in relation to large sets. The pattern of the entire system may be found in
each of its elements, but without some sense of the whole, the pattern may go
unrecognized. Needless to say, without a sense of that pattern the nature of each
part of the system may be misunderstood. When considering each part of the sys-
tem of change in the Prince Edward County case, for example, elements of other
systems of change are readily apparent. The school strike had precursors in other
forms of resistance within the slave and freed-Black community of the county and
in the repressive measures of the White community. The fullest meaning of those
preceding resistance acts and the school strike emerges from the pattern they share
with each other. An exclusive focus on one or the other or on any other factor apart
from its relationship to the system of change limits its meaning and our perception
of the recurring pattern among them.

The principle of uncertainty, which Wheatley mentions and which makes up
part of the new science, provides particularly rich insight into causality. Physicist
Werner Heisenberg helped to usher in the new science of quantum mechanics.
Heisenberg resolved many of the controversies of quantum mechanics by explain-
ing that one cannot know the position and momentum of a subatomic particle at
the same time. The more one knows about its position, the less one knows about its
momentum and vice versa. The properties of the observed depend upon the instru-
ments used to observe them. The leadership of Barbara Johns depends then upon

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 13

what other factors we take into account in the system of change in racial segrega-
tion. When considering the Moton High School strike factor, her leadership plays a
preeminent role. At the level of federal decisions for school desegregation, her
leadership fades into a fractal subsystem of a larger system. Moreover, a fair evalu-
ation of Johns’s leadership depends upon examining this system of change from
her perspective. Her leadership would be less prominent if we examined the system
through the efforts and actions of Rev. Griffin, Oliver Hill, or Superintendent
McIlwaine. In terms of the uncertainty principle, the more we focus on the leadership
of Johns, the less discernible other leadership becomes.

This has profound implications for causality. If our certainty about one actor
comes at the cost of uncertainty regarding other parts of a dynamic system, how
can we be sure that the actions of one influenced the intended change? Although
the case is quite clear that Johns’s leadership spurred the student strike, we might
also consider the other factors that influenced people’s action and argue that Johns’s
exhortations would not have had any effect had it not been for the interaction with
other elements of the system—the lack of success and frustration of the Moton
High School PTA; the World War II service of Rev. Griffin, Principal Jones, and
Johns’s father; the support of the initial small band of student strike leaders; and
so on. This uncertainty seems to demand that we examine every inexhaustible sub-
set to the greatest microscopic level of scrutiny and then relate them. In truth, we
could never examine every relevant fact and interrelated event in sufficient detail to
explain with certainty what caused what. According to Heisenbert, “In the sharp
formulation of the law of causality—‘if we know the present exactly, we can calcu-
late the future’—it is not the conclusion that is wrong but the premise” (American
Institute of Physics & David Cassidy, 2005). The academic implications of these
matters are that we can understand the leadership of this case only by the patterns
that we look for and, once we find them, we may be surprised to learn that con-
stituent elements of the case may vary from what we would expect. In this case, for
example, it is possible that some White residents of the county want integration
more than some African American residents. The practical implications are that
such micro-variations do not affect our understanding of the leadership of Johns
and others. However, our understanding will be insufficient without incorporating
enough elements of the system into our analysis to make clear the patterns of
behaviors and the probability of the interrelatedness. This is precisely the caution
that authors such as Wheatley and Vaill offer: a focus on leaders and their actions
distorts our understanding of leadership in systems of change.


Underlying this investigation into the theories and observations of Lewin,Myrdal,
Gould and Eldredge, andWheatley is the common emphasis on mindfulness—a central
tenet of Buddhism. In order to understand and practice leadership, it is necessary to
engage in critical reflection on the acts of leaders, the context in which those acts
take place and their likely consequences. The tenets of this critical reflection include
conceptualizing acts within a field of interactive and interrelated parts rather than in
a straight line from acts to results. In this manner both leaders and those who study
leadership are more likely to anticipate unintended and unwanted consequences.


Our perception of these consequences increases with our knowledge of the bound-
aries of the system of change or field in which someone attempts to lead.

In the I Ching, Chinese scholars posit a universe composed of a single unifying
element with two complementary and opposing parts—a yin and a yang. The com-
plexity of the universe is contained in its basic element and in all the derivative elements
that flow from the original Tao. These elements combine in systems of equilibrium
based on complementarity and in a dynamic flow of energy, Feng Shui, founded on
their oppositional characteristics (Couto & Fu, 2004). The premises of this realm—
fields of energy, change and stability, complementarity and opposition—provided
Neils Bohr and other pioneering physicists a metaphysical context for discovering
quantum mechanics and expanding scientific thought beyond theories of Newton
and even Einstein. Physicist Werner Heisenberg and his colleague Erwin
Schroedinger found their inspiration in the metaphysics of Hinduism. These sys-
tems of thought provide a very different metaphor for causality than the mechan-
ics of a machine, to which Scottish philosopher David Hume subscribed. Instead
causality is rooted in dynamic, interactive systems of interrelated parts that resem-
ble and differ from each other (Capra, 1982, pp. 79–89).

Lest it appear that we have strayed too far from causality, change, and leadership,
let us not forget the numerous references, albeit cursory and oblique, to Lao-Tsu,
Taoism, and Confucius in leadership scholarship. Peter Vaill deals somewhat more
substantially with Taoism, after first confessing to the elusiveness of its elliptical
thinking. Vaill dwells on the concept of wu-wei, or nonaction, and its place in
leadership. Wu-wei was evident in the Johns case when the teachers and principal
left the assembly hall at the students’ request during the organization of the strike.
Vaill also hints at the significance of examining this and other epistemological and
ontological systems for the understanding of change. He envisions the possibility of
organizations benefiting from the Eastern realization that the meaning of organi-
zational capabilities, including leadership and change, “can emerge only through
the most careful and continuous contemplation” (Vaill, 1989, p. 190).

Social Tensions

In our conversations about the links of causality and mindfulness to actions that
result in change, Fredric Jablin suggested that the impetus for change might emerge
from social tensions. This idea resonated as a meaningful way to understand the
dynamic and socially constructed nature of change in human systems.

Social tensions arise among groups from conflicts about identity, resources,
power, and ethics. These tensions are embedded in interactions within and between
groups as they form and continually reform the structures and systems that com-
prise society. Table 1.1 identifies several social factors and ensuing tensions that
underlie change. In the Johns case, conflict arising from these tensions created per-
vasive conditions for change in Prince Edward County.

Identity and Meaning

Individuals and groups create meaning in society by naming, defining, and
assigning value to themselves and others in their environment. Social tensions

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 15

concerning meaning commonly develop as strains between assigned identity (nam-
ing) and asserted identity (self-claimed) and upon rendering identities insignificant
(worthless). When one group assigns a name and lower social worth to another
group, the resulting tensions can evolve or erupt into social change. Rosenblum and
Travis (2003) assert, “Because naming may involve a redefinition of self, an asser-
tion of power, and a rejection of others’ ability to impose an identity, social change
movements often lay claim to a new name, and opponents may express opposition
by continuing to use the old name” (p. 6).

In 1951 Whites identified African American citizens of Prince Edward County as
“coloreds” in the most polite terms and as dehumanizing epithets in the worst
terms. There was no doubt that African Americans were deemed inferior and
unequal, while White citizens were valued highly and deemed superior. These name
and value distinctions shaped disparities in other aspects of society including the
rights of Blacks to resources, power, and ethical treatment.

Resource Availability and Distribution

Tensions concerning resources emerge from the availability and distribution of
goods, services, wealth, property, and other benefits or needs that groups in society
value or require. Accessibility and restriction of resources are more often deter-
mined by social mores (the haves and have-nots) than natural abundance or limi-
tations. Tensions for change emerge from struggles over who has the right to possess
resources—the individual, the collective, or some combination of both.

U.S. citizens established the right to universal public education as a valued col-
lective resource long before Barbara Rose Johns entered Moton High School. In
1951 resources for educating Black children in Prince Edward County were sorely
lacking, even under the separate-but-equal standards of Plessy v. Ferguson. Moton
High School’s PTA, principal, and community members continuously appealed to
the all-White school board to upgrade buildings and supplies only to be placated or
summarily ignored. Even when funds for buildings and supplies were available,
White school board members had no intention of supporting equal public educa-
tion and facilities for African American children.


TABLE 1.1 Social Tensions

Factors Social Tensions

Identity and meaning Assigning identity—Asserting identity
Rendering insignificant—Establishing value

Resource availability and

Restricted resources—Accessible resources
Individual resources—Collective resources

Power Disenfranchised power—Authorized power

Ethics Inequitable actions/conditions—
Equitable actions/conditions


Participants in the change process create, leverage, or challenge power constructs
to bring about major change. In our session at Mount Hope, members of the Gold
Team agreed that “power is not fundamentally a thing that individuals possess in
some greater or lesser quantity but is more than anything an aspect of social rela-
tionships” (Couto, Faier, Hicks, & Hickman, 2002, p. 3). The capacity to impact
social relations is affected by a group’s attainment of or restriction from various
forms of social power and the group’s ability to use power to influence others.
Tensions develop among groups that have attained various forms of power (autho-
rized or legitimate, reward, coercive, expert, informational, or referent [French &
Raven, 1959]) and groups that are restricted, disenfranchised, or negatively
impacted by the exercise of these forms of power.

The exercise of legitimate power contributes to stability and organization in
social interactions; however, misuse or exploitation of power bases results in
inequality and loss of rights or freedoms for selected groups. In 1896 with the land-
mark case Plessy v. Ferguson, White Southerners succeeded in reversing and sup-
pressing any gains African Americans had made in terms of civil rights and human
dignity. The U.S. Supreme Court used its power in this case to establish a legal basis
for separate-but-equal conditions for Blacks and Whites in the South. The result of
this decision gave tacit permission to White power holders to create separate but
decidedly unequal conditions for Black citizens.


Joanne Ciulla (2004, p. 4) maintains that ethics is “the heart of leadership”; like-
wise, inequity, inequality, and excessive self-interest are at the heart of social ten-
sions and conflict. Ethics in social interactions compel members of society to take
into account the impact of their actions on others and consider what “ought to be”
done in situations with other human beings. Al Gini explains that “ethics, then, tries
to find a way to protect one person’s individual rights and needs against and along-
side the rights and needs of others” (Gini, 2004, p. 29). Social tensions emerge when
groups experience or perceive inequitable treatment at the hands of power holders
and dominant groups.

Inequities in the treatment of Black and White citizens in the Jim Crow South
were intentional and inhumane. In 1939 the Prince Edward County School Board
built its first public high school for African American students with no cafeteria,
auditorium, locker rooms, infirmary, or gymnasium—features that were standard
in White schools in the county. Moton High School was built to hold 180 students,
but in 1947 it served more than 360 students.

The county school board responded by building temporary facilities made of
wood and covered with tar paper behind the school. These “shacks,” as they were
called by local citizens, leaked when it rained and were poorly heated. Barbara
Johns and other Moton High students were well aware of the superior quality of
facilities and equipment at the White high school. These inequities coupled with
long-term neglect and disregard by school board officials increased frustration and
tensions among students.

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 17

From an ethical perspective, change in its most humane and enlightened form
intentionally uplifts the human conditions of some without harming the welfare of
others, while change in its most detrimental form fosters the aims of egocentric or
amoral individuals and groups at the expense or demise of others. Leadership stud-
ies research examines both elevating and harmful forms of change. Scholars James
MacGregor Burns (1978, 2003) and Bernard Bass (1985; Bass & Avolio, 1994)
examine the uplifting effect of transforming and transformational leadership, just
as scholars Jean Lipman-Blumen (2005), Barbara Kellerman (2004), and others
research the causes and consequences of toxic or bad leadership.

Illustrations of both harmful and elevating forms of change permeate the story
of Barbara Rose Johns and school desegregation in Prince Edward County.
Leadership by Southern Whites created and sustained social arrangements that
legitimated their own amoral needs and wants by denying the civil rights and well-
being of Black citizens. In contrast, strike organizers at Moton High School used
their moral agency to advocate for improved educational conditions for Black
students without harming the rights of White citizens.

Conditions for Change: Climate,
Timing, and Threshold Points

Though social tensions underlie change, tensions alone do not initiate change.
The elements in Table 1.2, climate, timing, and threshold points, are essential


TABLE 1.2 Conditions for Change



From: To:

Climate Passive � Threatening

Timing Premature � Opportune

Threshold points Lacking � Prevalent

factors in prompting change. Climate encompasses the totality of environmental
cues, feelings and experiences of groups in social contexts. Conditions for change
emerge over time as social climates affecting the well-being of specific groups
become more threatening or uncertain.

Threatening conditions were present in the situation surrounding events in
Prince Edward County. Moton High School’s PTA, principal, and community
members advocated for improved resources and facilities for their children on a
continuous basis. In the existing separate and unequal environment it was evident
that postponements and rejections of their requests were not isolated incidents. As
a result, each obstacle contributed to the Black community’s cumulative experience
of discrimination and mistreatment.

Timing is also a central factor in change. Cumulative acts that when taken
together are larger than any singular or specific moment in history, create opportune
openings where concerted action is capable of sparking change—a punctuation in

social equilibrium. The previous actions of many African Americans to defy segre-
gation—including the actions of Johns’s uncle, Rev. Vernon Johns, that resulted in
better school bus services for African American children in the county in 1939—
paved the way for Moton High School students to stage a sustainable strike. The
actions of Vernon Johns formed part of a complex web of change leading to deseg-

The concept of thresholds provides further insight into conditions that trigger
change. Mark Granovetter (1978) describes threshold as “that point where the per-
ceived benefits to an individual of doing the thing in question . . . exceed the per-
ceived costs” (p. 1422). By extending the idea of threshold to groups, we conclude
that significant social change is set in motion when a group collectively reaches a
threshold point.

It is conceivable that thresholds are also points where courage transcends fear.
Legalized racism and accepted acts of violence toward African Americans rein-
forced fear and uncertainty in people who dared to assert their objections to an
unethical structure. At the same time these acts served to build cumulative experi-
ence, conviction, and collective courage.

There were several major threshold points in the Moton High School case. One
threshold point occurred when Barbara Johns recruited a small group of trusted
friends to meet secretly and plan a student strike in the foreseeable event that efforts
by the school principal and PTA would not result in a decision to build a new high
school. When the school board failed to announce plans for a new school, Johns’s
strike group put their plan into action.

The group arranged for the school principal to be away from campus, then noti-
fied each classroom that there would be a brief assembly in the auditorium. Johns
and her compatriots then called on the 450 students gathered at the assembly to
unite in collective purpose and stage an orderly strike on the school grounds. On
April 23, 1951, Johns and the entire student body marched out of Moton High
School determined to change the abysmal conditions in their school.

Another crucial threshold point occurred on the fourth day of the strike.
NAACP lawyer Spottswood Robinson asked students to bring their parents to a
meeting where he would determine whether they supported their children’s will-
ingness to proceed with a lawsuit to end segregation in public schools. Rev. Francis
Griffin held the mass meeting at his church and urged Black solidarity in the fight
to end segregation. Barbara Johns spoke passionately on behalf of the students. The
desegregation plan received a rousing endorsement from the majority of those
present, though there were some dissenters. At the close of the meeting, Rev. Griffin
summarized the sentiments of the group: “Anyone who would not back these
children after they stepped out on a limb is not a man” (Kluger, 1975, p. 478).

Leadership as Intended Change

This detailed account permits us to address questions of change and causality. In
what way did Barbara Rose Johns provide leadership to end school desegregation?
Did her actions pass the litmus test that James MacGregor Burns set for
leadership—“the achievement of purpose in the form of real and intended social
change” (Burns, 1978, p. 251)? Clearly, there is a succession of related events from
the school strike to Brown v. Board of Education. There is also, clearly, a succession

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 19

of related events, albeit less direct, from the school strike to the campaign of
massive resistance. Figure 1.1 outlines some of the sequential relationships of
events and actors from the school strike to Brown v. Board of Education. It includes
subsequent events such as massive resistance on both the state and county level and
occurrences on both the national and local level in the civil rights movement.

If Johns was a leader in school desegregation because her actions tied into the
Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling, was she also a leader in
the campaign of massive resistance for the same reason? Did her leadership cause
the closing of the schools in Prince Edward County as well as their eventual reopen-
ing and integration? Clearly she intended improved school facilities and not school
closings. Was she then only responsible for the changes she intended? If so this
might suggest a very low ethical standard, namely, that leaders are responsible only
for their intended outcomes and not for the consequences of their actions. As a
leader did she bear any responsibility for the poverty that Griffin was reduced to or
for Lancaster’s loss of his job as Negro county farm agent?

Perhaps we can absolve Johns of these negative outcomes to the extent that we
cannot hold her responsible for the expected and unexpected actions that others
took in reaction to her leadership. Max Weber, however, made acceptance of the
intended and unintended outcomes of our efforts to influence public events a mark
of the calling to political leadership. Johns was in a system of change and, according
to Weber, it would be irresponsible for her not to acknowledge the interdependence
of contending factors in these fields. Johns and the school board had their own sep-
arate but interdependent systems of power. Each bears responsibility in the dual
sense of causality and moral accountability for their system’s actions, actions which
they intended to influence. But, again citing Weber, responsibility in the sense of
moral accountability also requires that we use judgment to anticipate negative reac-
tions and outcomes and attempt to avoid them. An ethic of responsibility requires
that we pursue values with proportionality (Weber, 1946, pp. 115–116).Weber helps
us understand that Johns and the school board operated in separate but interrelated
dynamic fields. Johns can only be held responsible for the negative outcomes of mas-
sive resistance and school desegregation in Prince Edward County if those outcomes
can be traced to her intentions or to an excess in her actions. Clearly, they cannot.

Just as clearly we have identified a sobering caveat of leadership. Burns’s litmus
test of the achievement of real and intended social change comes with Weber’s
measured melancholic observation: “The final [and intermediate] result of politi-
cal action often, no, even regularly, stands in completely inadequate and often even
paradoxical relation to its original meaning” (Weber, 1946, p. 117).

Questions remain about the role of intended change in Johns’s leadership.
Initially she did not intend to desegregate the schools but only to improve the facil-
ities of Moton High School. She supported and championed the NAACP’s shift to
desegregation as a means to gain improved facilities. Do we test her leadership by
the achievement of desegregation or the improvement of facilities? The state imme-
diately took steps to improve facilities as a means to avoid desegregation, but by
that time the NAACP’s position had hardened to the point of preferring closed
schools to improved ones. In this sense, the NAACP bears more responsibility than
Johns for the lost educational opportunities from 1959 to 1964.































































































































































































































































































































































s •






































Just as the overall Brown decision had some unintended consequences (Sullivan,
2004), Johns’s actions brought about some changes she intended and some she did not.
While her initial goal was one of equalization, the NAACP viewed equalization as a
very limited form of change because racial subordination could and often did con-
tinue even after students of all races obtained equal facilities. When the county ulti-
mately desegregated its public schools, Johns achieved her intended purpose—equal
facilities for Black and White students—albeit in an unforeseen, unintended way. In
this sense did equalization and desegregation symbolize a deeper form of change: the
recognition of the value and intelligence of all the county’s students and the end of all
forms of racial discrimination within the school system? How do Johns’s leadership
and the NAACP’s leadership rate against these intended outcomes? The difference the
efforts of Johns and the NAACP made in improved educational opportunities,
processes, and outcomes provides the best measure of their effectiveness.

Although she played a part in the formative stages of the lawsuit, Johns did not
play a part in subsequent events in the county after her parents, fearing for her
safety, sent her to live with her uncle Vernon in Montgomery, Alabama, shortly after
the student strike. Johns married on New Year’s Eve 1953 and subsequently moved
to Philadelphia, far removed from the consequences of the strike and its ensuing
controversy. Did her leadership stop after she launched the strike or did it continue
because of the consequences of her initial action? Regardless of intention then, did
her role as leader end when she no longer influenced events in the present? Or did
her leadership remain to influence later events, again regardless of her intentions?
Can we distinguish her role as leader from her leadership—the former being the
actions that she took to influence the actions of others, and the latter being the con-
sequences of those actions? If we are to accept the time and space of a field as rele-
vant to the actions of influence within it, then Johns’s leadership remains a factor
in the field of civil rights movement in Prince Edward County and beyond.

Leadership as the Cause of Change

Johns did not operate in a leadership vacuum; rather, she interacted with other
leaders in this narrative of change. It is instructive to examine the influences
on each of the other leaders involved in the Prince Edward County case: the
Howard University Law School education of Oliver Hill and Spottswood
Robinson; the conflict that Superintendent McIlwaine had with Vernon Johns
over transportation for African American children 12 years prior to meeting his
niece; the impact that fighting a war of liberation in a segregated army in World
War II had on Rev. Griffin, Principal Jones, and Barbara Johns’s father as well as
the effect of the subsequent desegregation of the armed forces by President
Truman in 1948. This examination suggests that a set of interdependent actors
each with their own set of influences comprised a system of change in the
Prince Edward County case, a system limited only by our ability to ferret out all
of its conditions. In this type of immense and interactive system, Johns’s actions
might be considered analogous to a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon
basin, thereby setting off a string of events that ultimately causes rain in Des Moines,
Iowa. Or Johns’s actions might have had much more of a direct impact, causing
us to analyze the specific circumstances of the case, such as the conversations in


the Johns’s family store; Inez Davenport’s reasons for encouraging Johns to take
a lead in improving the school facility; and Principal Jones’s determination to
run a democratic school and support student-led initiatives, a determination
that extended to his momentous decision to leave the assembly hall at Johns’s
request at a time when he could have squelched the strike before it got started.

Events did not unfold in a straight line from Johns to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Johns dealt directly with students, students’ parents, other residents in the county
and the Richmond office of the NAACP. She aligned herself with the elected student
leaders of Moton High School who should possibly also be considered leaders in the
school desegregation effort. Johns received advice and assistance first from Inez
Davenport and Rev. Griffin and later from the NAACP. Did the boundaries of her
leadership diminish when the NAACP entered or did they broaden under the influ-
ence of all the people who interacted with her? If it was the latter, should we then
examine the influences on those people who influenced Barbara Rose Johns—not
only those mentioned in this account but also her family members and the com-
munity of property-owning African American farmers served by her family store?

Some of these influences were small and personal—a spoken word. Some were
momentous and public—the inability of the Moton PTA to make progress. Some
influences were specific to that time and place, while others had historical roots,
which although long forgotten, were compelling nonetheless. For example, histori-
cally large numbers of free Blacks lived in Prince Edward County during a time of
legalized slavery. In the years preceding the desegregation case, an economically
independent group of African American farmers and landowners had grown and
flourished in Prince Edward County, of whom Vernon Johns was just one example,
albeit the most dramatic. In time Johns’s efforts in the Prince Edward County
school desegregation case may fade from the collective memory just as memories
of some of these earlier historical events had faded by 1951.

Burns’s litmus test of leadership as the achievement of real and intended change
sets a high standard. Clearly Johns achieved her purpose of conducting a school
strike and, as a consequence, she influenced the actions of others. It is relatively easy,
as we have seen, to detail the action that leaders take to influence others. It is much
more difficult to judge the influence of those actions on other leaders.Whereas lead-
ing is replete with intentions, leadership concerns the assessment of the conse-
quences of leaders’ actions. And how do we deal with and assess the changes that
ensued because of a leader’s action? Joseph Rost’s critique of Burns only compounds
the problem. His definition of leadership as “an influence relationship among
leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes”
(Rost, 1991, p. 103) obfuscates the possibility that some influence relationships may
make real changes, although unintended, and may stimulate some to act for contrary
purposes. In order to move beyond the dilemma of unintended changes and con-
trary purposes, we may have to distinguish between leading and leadership.

Leading is an attempt to influence others in the present moment. The story of
the strike offers numerous examples of efforts to lead, including the students’ let-
ter to the NAACP lawyers, the massive resistance tactics employed by some of
Virginia’s politicians and newspaper editors, and Earl Warren’s determination to
win a unanimous opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court. We can define these
attempts at leading as leadership only after assessing their full impact. Even then,

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 23

what is and is not leadership depends upon what is and is not included in the sys-
tem of change.

By limiting the influence relationship to leaders and followers and insisting on
intention, Rost and many, many others confuse the nature of leadership. The
actions of a person may influence a leader to take action even though it was not
intended. Barbara Johns’s paternal uncle and grandmother both instilled a great
deal of confidence in her and served as role models of resistance to racial subordi-
nation in personal and public matters. Their actions would not be considered
leadership in an ordinary interpretation of Rost’s definition, but an extraordinary
interpretation—which focuses on influence relationships primarily—would
incorporate their actions into the leadership that brought about school desegrega-
tion. Although they did not directly affect the change effort in the way that Rev.
Griffin and the NAACP lawyers did, Johns’s uncle and grandmother nurtured
Johns’s self-esteem, making it possible for her to assert herself in the school deseg-
regation case. The omission of significant influential relationships is but the first
shortcoming in any theory of change that limits its focus to leaders and followers.

The second shortcoming of Rost’s conception of leadership is that it tends to
concentrate on the efforts of one set of leaders and followers. In truth and in prac-
tice, leaders—those who take action to influence others—set off reactions in other
leaders for conflicting purposes. Obviously, Johns’s plans for the school strike had
severe critics who took action to prevent the strike and desegregation. There were
African American leaders opposed to the strike and efforts to integrate who vied
with Johns for influence in the African American community. Principal Jones, for
example, wrote a letter to parents asking them to send their children back to school.
In sum, a system of change does not have only one set of leaders and followers;
rather, it has many interdependent and interactive sets of leaders and followers.

These two factors of change, namely, myriad influences and many sets of leaders
and followers, came into play most dramatically on the morning of April 23 when
Principal Jones left the assembly at the request of Johns and the other strike leaders.
He could have refused to leave and ordered the students to return to their class-
rooms, protesting that their strike plans would only harm his own change efforts.
Certainly his boss, the superintendent of schools, thought this is exactly what he
should have done. And had he done so, it is very unlikely that events in Prince
Edward County would have unfolded as they did. Here was a leader, a person in
authority, who did not use his influence to coerce compliance.

Several factors might have influenced his action: he might have withdrawn his
opposition because he tacitly supported the students’ actions; he might have been
making a concession to Inez Davenport, Johns’s favorite teacher and Jones’s fiancée,
who had encouraged Johns to take some action to address the poor facilities; he might
have wanted to show support for the orderly and democratic manner in which the
students conducted themselves regardless of whether he agreed with their plans. He
sought to instill initiative and organization in his students and may have been reluc-
tant to squelch their efforts for this reason. Richard Kluger describes Jones as a man
trapped between his convictions as a Black leader and his obligations to his White
employees (Kluger, 1975, p. 469). His convictions won out at the moment he was
asked to leave. The assembly was itself the result of his influential encouragement of
student initiative and his own example of striving to acquire better resources for the


school. Ironically, Jones was a leader in terms of the influence he had on an action he
could not ultimately support. His leadership, his influence on the school strike, came
from his decision not to use his authority, or to act by inaction.

When we examine change through one particular leader, we can see how seem-
ingly unrelated events become a network of influence because of their effect on that
one person. When we analyze a change event from the perspective of different
leaders, we must add and subtract elements of influence and think about how the
consequence of the events affected different leaders differently. For example, if we
choose to examine the whole system of change in Prince Edward County through
T. Justin Moore, lead attorney for the school board, we would have to consider very
different influences and consequences than we would if we were considering the
same system of change from the perspective of Johns or Jones.

Leadership as Action for Change

Action to bring about change entails more than a single leader or initiator, as the
Prince Edward County school desegregation case illustrates. Individuals can
achieve a common purpose only when they join together in an act of generativity—
forming a group to accomplish goals that an individual could not achieve alone
(Forsyth, 1999, p. 67). During our Mount Hope discussions, the concept of gener-
ativity was especially important in the Gold Team’s conceptions of leadership. The
scholars at Mount Hope grappled with the question: What processes or conditions
characterize the emergence, maintenance, and transformation of leadership and
followership? The Gold Team responded, “Leadership is a creative and generative
act—literally bringing new realities into being through collaboration with others”
(Couto et al., 2002, p. 2).

Members of the Moton High School student body assumed active roles as
leaders or followers in an effort to attain their common goal. Robert Kelley (1995)
explains that leadership and followership are equal but different roles often
played by the same people at different times. Individuals who assume leadership
roles have the desire and willingness to lead as well as a clear vision and interper-
sonal, communication, and organizational skills and abilities. Effective followers
(or participants) form the other equally important component of the equation
and are distinguished by their capacity for self-management, strong commitment,
and courage. Individuals involved in leading change are willing to bring their
respective abilities to the change effort in whatever roles they choose or accept.

Leaders and participants achieve momentum or movement through their coor-
dinated actions (co-acting) for change. Paradoxically, individuals who assume leader-
ship roles rely on their imagination—an invisible thought process—before attempting
to implement a plan of action.Groups seeking change must be able to imagine or envi-
sion alternative social arrangements and define problems or issues in new ways
(Couto et al., 2002, p. 2). A pivotal role of leaders in the change process involves
communicating imagined futures and creating new meanings that inspire action.
During our discussions at Mount Hope, the Gold Team proposed the following:

Leading change frequently entails competing narratives about the necessity,
sufficiency, and possibility of change. Narratives fulfill various purposes; they

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 25

motivate, define group identity, make limits, provide the building blocks for
imagination and creativity, teach lessons, and legitimate or undermine forms
of power, authority, and coercion. One way in which humans convey these
social constructions of knowledge is through storytelling, a uniquely social
discourse of human life.

Telling a story offers an account of reality that seeks either to affirm or con-
test an existing meaning, which expresses the nature and origins of a particu-
lar set of social relations that can be economic, political, and/or cultural
dimensions. The need for change results in contested or negotiated interpre-
tations, definitions, and values. (Couto et al., 2002, p. 2)

Barbara Rose Johns and the group of student leaders envisioned a high school
for Black students that provided them with facilities and resources to receive the
quality education to which they were entitled. They developed a plan for Moton
High School students to challenge an existing power structure and gain parity with
White schools in Virginia. The climate, timing, and threshold points converged
to form a prime opportunity for movement—a point of punctuated equilibrium
(Gould & Eldredge, 1972) where significant and sustained change became possible
for Black children. The strike committee put their plan into action by calling
together the entire student body, communicating a collective vision for change, and
proposing a strike plan. The strike plan gave form, meaning, and power to a com-
mon purpose that seemed attainable through collective action by the students.
Certainly this cadre of leaders met the criteria for the role of leaders described by
Kelley (1995): they had the desire and willingness to lead as well as a clear vision
and interpersonal communication and organizational skills.

The role of the student body represented an equally important component of
this equation. A successful strike was fully dependent on the willingness of the
students to assume roles as effective participants or followers. These roles would
require an equally strong commitment to the goal and plan of action, a capacity
for self-discipline and self-management, and tremendous courage in the face of
danger. No one knew what would actually happen once the strike committee
revealed its plan and put it into action. The risks of punishment, expulsion, vio-
lence and other repercussions loomed ominously.What the students did know was
that the conditions in their school were totally unacceptable. They had waited long
enough and were determined to remain steadfast until their situation changed.

The school principal, teachers, parents, and community members comprise a
second group of effective participants or followers in the school desegregation case.
The decision of the principal and teachers to leave the auditorium when asked by
student leaders required commitment to the students’ common purpose (or at least
commitment not to interfere), self-control to refrain from using their positional
power, and courage in the face of imminent sanctions from the school board. The
parents and community members exhibited a similar commitment and a willing-
ness to embrace the actions of their children. They, too, refrained from using posi-
tional authority to stop the strike and exhibited exceptional courage despite inevitable
repercussions from White power holders.

The Prince Edward County school desegregation case also illustrates Kelley’s
(1995) assertion that the same people often play different roles of leadership and


followership at different times. The school principal, teachers, parents, and com-
munity activists functioned in leadership roles and advocated tirelessly for better
conditions in Black schools. Yet on April 23, 1951, the adult leaders assumed roles
as followers and let the students take on leadership roles.


This discussion of leadership, change, and causality grounded in the leadership of
Barbara Rose Johns and the Moton student body offers an opportunity to provide
several generalizations about leadership across contexts. Figure 1.2 summarizes the
analytical factors discussed throughout this chapter. These factors will likely take
distinct forms and occur at varying stages or degrees based on contextual elements
at macro and micro levels. Our challenge as a community of leadership scholars,
educators, practitioners, and students is to identify the broadest range of contributing
factors, understand their impact, generate new factors that contribute to the
leadership of change in human systems, and use them ethically.

Barbara Rose Johns and the Moton High School students proceeded with inten-
tion, purpose, and collective action to gain facilities and conditions equal to their
White counterparts.Yet they had no idea when they met with attorneys Oliver Hill and
Spottswood Robinson that their actions would ultimately lead to the overthrow of
legally segregated schools in the United States. The student strikers achieved more than
separate but equal schools; they achieved legal desegregation of schools throughout
the country. Major unintended consequences also accompanied this major change—
the closure of Prince Edward County schools, job losses, and the unanticipated relo-
cation of many teachers, families, and students, including Barbara Rose Johns.

How can leadership groups in any context anticipate and prepare for the
intended and unintended consequences of their actions and thus be responsible in
Weber’s sense of intention and proportion? In truth, there is no absolute way to
foresee and plan for the various outcomes that change may bring. However, the
Native American wisdom of the Iroquois advises us to consider the impact of the
decisions we make today on the seventh generation of humans (Lyons, 1992).

Peter Schwartz advocates a process of scenario development that helps decision-
makers take a long view in a world of uncertainty (1996, p. 3). He contends that sce-
narios are not predictions but mechanisms to help people learn. Scenario building
involves more than guessing. It requires a process that uses factual information and
indicators of early trends to project alternative futures. The process entails eight
sequential factors:

1. Identifying a central issue or question

2. Listing key factors in the micro-environment that may directly affect the cen-
tral question

3. Identifying forces in the macro-environment that may affect the central issue

4. Assigning rank and weight to the micro- and macro-environmental factors
based on their impact on the original issue or question

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 27


FIGURE 1.2 Analytical and Contextual Elements

Precursors to Change


Historical Social Cultural
Organizational Community Political Societal

• Systems and field theory
(interdependency, coexisting facts)
� Subsystems
� Patterns—fractals

• Dynamic social causation (cumulation)
• Invisible (unseen) structure (time,
space, energy, uncertainty)

• Critical reflection
• Seeing total context
• Consequences or costs


Social Tensions
• Identity and meaning
• Resource availability and distribution
• Power
• Ethics

Conditions for Change
• Climate
• Timing
• Threshold points


Leadership as Intended Change
• Intentional and predictable
• Unpredictable and unintentional

Leadership as the Cause of Change
• Interdependent actors and influences
• Direct influences and indirect influences

Leadership as Action for Change
• Purpose
• Coactors—Leaders and participants
• Momentum or movement

� Imagination and generativity
� Communication and meaning-making
� Coaction

Assessment of Outcomes
• Intended consequences
• Unintended consequences
• Impact on future events and change



Social Tensions

Conditions for Change

Leadership as Intended Change

Leadership as the Cause of Change

Leadership as Action for Change

Assessment of Outcomes

CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 29

5. Identifying the forces that are most significant and most uncertain, cluster-
ing and plotting each force along an axis from uncertainty to certainty or the
reverse, and choosing the two most significant axes to form a grid with four
distinct quadrants

6. Amplifying details of each quadrant to form four different plots (or scenarios)

7. Considering the implications of each scenario

8. Taking action based on early indicators of movement toward or away from a
desirable scenario (Schwartz, 1996, pp. 241–247)

A final factor,“acting with feedback” (Harman, 1998, pp. 193–194), fosters ongoing
learning and flexibility as leaders and participants move toward a desired common
goal. Although scenario building is a method used most often in business or orga-
nizational settings, it provides a useful means for developing informed action in
other settings, including community, social, and political environments.

We offer several concluding observations for further reflection based on our use
of four analytical factors—field theory, cumulative effect, punctuated equilibrium,
and systems thinking—to examine the Prince Edward County school desegregation
case. We hope these analytical factors and the observations they provide are useful
across contexts.

• We can assess leadership only after some change has occurred. We can
observe leaders acting to influence outcomes in the present.

• The nature of leadership in any change effort corresponds to the historical
and social context in which we place it and the leader(s) through which we
examine a network of change.

• The less we consider historical and cultural context, the fewer influential
events and factors we take into account.

• The interaction of a leader’s effort with the efforts of other leaders and
participants shapes the outcome and hence the significance and nature of

• Every change effort takes place within a system of change that provides oppo-
sition and modification of other leadership.

• The more credit a particular leader is given for change, the less we recognize
the impact of systems in which events take place and the contributions of co-
actors to the outcome.

Our Mount Hope colleagues asked members of the Gold Team how we could
ever know or conclude anything or sustain order and stability if we believe that
reality, including leadership and change, is socially constructed. If we extrapolate
lessons from the natural sciences to social systems, we conclude that the “long view”
provides perspective on human capability to imagine and change social systems.
While social construction of human systems can result in restricted or inequitable
systems of power, privilege, and access, our hope for social relationships is in
leadership that helps people imagine and effect humane futures for themselves and

the seventh generation. In the words of the Gold Team, “Imagination enables self-
reflection and social criticism, as well as socialization, and thus makes possible a
form of leadership that proposes alternative social arrangements and new forms of
legitimate human needs and wants” (Couto et al., 2002, p. 2).


1. The framework and concepts for this chapter emerged over various sessions with

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CHAPTER 1 Causality, Change, and Leadership 31

Life cycle


Chaos and complexity






Stages of change
Scenario building

Appreciative inquiry




Leading Change in
Organizational Contexts


The next three chapters examine concepts and practices of leading organiza-
tional change. Chapter 2 examines concepts of organizational change,
Chapter 3 considers concepts and theories of leadership that fit the context,

and Chapter 4 looks at applicable change practices. Chapter 4 also includes five appli-
cations and reflections from various types of organizations—business, religious, gov-
ernment, education, and nonprofit/nongovernmental—to provide an opportunity to
apply the concepts and practices discussed in Chapters 2–4 to actual situations.

The Environment of Organizational Change

Organizations clearly function today in a world where environmental factors, such
as new markets in new venues, new technologies and information systems, interna-
tional competitors and partnerships, changes in family structures and lifestyles, cul-
tural and ethnic pluralism, decline and revitalization in urban environments, and
environmental sustainability, compel entities to change. These elements link people
and organizations locally and internationally in an environment of turbulence,
unpredictability, and constant change. Which primary factors or indicators in the
environment are important to organizational well-being and survival? What are the
indicators? How do organizations succeed in this environment?

The now familiar idea of a turbulent environment has become commonplace in
the vernacular of organizational leaders and members. Commonplace, however,
does not mean that organizations can easily navigate turbulent environments.
Researchers Emery and Trist (1973) described a turbulent environment as having


“dynamic processes arising from the field [environment] itself which create signif-
icant variances for the component systems” (p. 52). They used an example from the
ecosystem to illustrate this phenomenon:

Fairly simple examples of this may be seen in fishing and lumbering where
competitive strategies, based on an assumption that the environment is static,
may, by over-fishing and over-cutting, set off disastrous dynamic processes in
the fish and plant populations with the consequent destruction of all the com-
peting social systems. . . . It is not difficult to see that even more complex
dynamic processes are triggered off in human populations. (pp. 52–53)

Turbulent environments are not necessarily problematic or negative. Implications
for leaders and members of organizations suggest that their ability to adapt, develop
capacity (resources and competencies), and form valuable interdependent relation-
ships will increase their prospects for sustainability in this context. As a result, orga-
nizations that adapt successfully and find new opportunities see their environment as
more dynamic than turbulent (McCann & Selsky, 1984, p. 461).

Emery identified another context beyond the turbulent environment and shaped
by forces totally beyond management, which he called a “vortical environment”
(McCann & Selsky, 1984, p. 460). Several scholars (Baburoglu, 1988; Bogner & Barr,
2000; McCann & Selsky, 1984; Zohar & Morgan, 1996) continue to define and expand
the idea of vortical environment by suggesting that organizations may face hypertur-
bulence, defined as “the condition in which environmental demands finally exceed
the collective adaptive capacities of members sharing an environment” (McCann &
Selsky, 1984, p. 460). Within this environment, companies may face hypercompeti-
tion where rapid changes in technology, regulations, ease of entry and exit by rival
firms, and ambiguous consumer demands create competence-destroying change,
making it difficult to gain any long-term advantages (Bogner & Barr, 2000, p. 212).

Turbulent and hyperturbulent environments present intensely challenging con-
texts for organizational change. Leaders and members must strive to make sense of
these contexts to guide effective change in their organizations. Bogner and Barr (2000)
identified three crucial activities in the literature on sensemaking in organizations—
developing cognitive diversity, implementing rapid decision making, and taking
experimental actions (p. 217). They refer to these activities collectively as adaptive
sensemaking. The first activity, developing cognitive diversity, brings together indi-
viduals or teams with differing viewpoints, frameworks, or backgrounds to make
decisions while they concurrently develop a base of shared understanding. The sec-
ond activity, implementing rapid decision making, entails relying on real-time
information, environmental cues, and prompt feedback to make decisions con-
cerning the organization. Finally, taking experimental actions involves learning
about unknowns or the unknowable ex ante (unknowable in advance of the event)
in an environment by testing the waters—taking action, assessing the outcomes or
consequences, and using the information to make future decisions.

Bogner and Barr’s (2000) research suggests leaders and members who use adap-
tive sensemaking must focus on the process or “hows” of succeeding in hypercom-
petitive environments rather than focus on the “whats” (p. 224). The indicators of

and responses to turbulent and hypercompetitive environments require more
research, theory building, and data about praxis. Still, scholars and practitioners
acknowledge that the nature and complexity of the environment in this era greatly
influence organizational change.

Purpose of Organizational Change

Leading change often occurs when organizations anticipate, respond to, or adapt to
challenges and opportunities in their internal or external environment. The purpose
of change in an organization is to bring about a difference in form, quality, or state of
the organization (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 512) so that the organization survives
and achieves its mission and goals. Leaders and members strive to generate major
improvements in some aspect of the organization, such as its structure, services or
products, strategic focus, branding or market image, client/customer service, interac-
tion with competitors, decision-making authority or power sharing, and so on.

Leaders and members of organizations can raise several guiding questions as
they encounter and prepare for the ongoing process of change and development:
Which primary factors or indicators in the environment are important to our well-
being and survival? What are the indicators? How do we proceed in this environ-
ment? What kind of organizational change do we want or need, or, in many cases,
what kind of change are we confronting currently? What type of leadership do we
want or need to accomplish change? Which practices do we employ to implement
change? These guiding questions structure the connections in Table II.1 among the-
ories and ideal types of change, concepts of leadership, and viable change practices
in the three chapters of Part II. Several assumptions underlie these connections.

1. Complexity, rather than reductive or linear thinking and processes, is a real-
ity in many 21st century organizations, and it influences almost all aspects of
leading change.

2. The dynamic and turbulent external environment of organizations is a primary
contributor to complexity and the change processes that accompany it.

3. The complexity generated by dynamic environments requires organizational
members to opt for compilations or combinations of theories and ideal types of
change, concepts of leadership, and change practices, rather than any single
approach to leading change in organizations. These compilations of concepts
and practices can and often do function interdependently in the change process.

4. Concepts and practices of leading change apply to multiple participants
(leaders and followers) in various roles and at different levels in and outside
the organization.

5. Change processes are fluid and occur over time and space with multiple
actors under various environmental circumstances.

6. The connections among concepts and practices of leading change in Table II.1
do not preclude other possible combinations and linkages.

Introduction 35


What kind of organizational
change do we need/want?
or What kind of change are
we confronting currently?
(Chapter 2)

Life cycle

Sample theories:

• Stage theories of
development or innovation
in organizations

Change innately programmed
into the organization

Example: a pharmaceutical
company’s stages in the
development and approval
process for a new drug


Sample theories:

• Systems theory/systems

• Strategic theory

Change enacted purposely by
members of the organization

Example: a product or service
innovation in an organization’s
area of strength or capacity—
Apple’s creation of the iPod


Sample theories:

• Conflict/conflict resolution

• Chaos/complexity theories

Change generated by conflict
and synthesis

Examples: mergers and
acquisitions involving different
organizational cultures—fire
and police services or Eastern
companies and Western
workers or private sector
management of public sector
employees and services

What type of leadership do
we need/want to accomplish
change? (Chapter 3)


Path-goal (contingency theory)




exchange (LMX)



Path-goal (contingency theory)

(contingency theory)



Leader-member exchange





Leader-member exchange

Which practices do we
employ to implement
change? (Chapter 4)

Organizational learning

Stages of praxis (for
maturity and revitalization

Ethics and change

Stages of praxis

Strategic planning and
goal setting

• Adaptive practices
• Organizational

• Institutionalized

• Empowerment/shared

Ethics and change


• Adaptive practices
• Organizational

• Institutionalized

• Empowerment/shared

• Complex adaptive

• Ethics and change

TABLE I I .1 Connecting Components of Organizational Change

Introduction 37

What kind of organizational
change do we need/want?
or What kind of change are
we confronting currently?
(Chapter 2)


(an emerging theory; Poole &
Van de Ven, 2004)

Sample theories:

• Chaos/complexity theories
• Self-organizing systems

Change and problem solving
occur by searching for
emerging themes or patterns
in systems and forming self-
organizing teams and
structures around these
themes or patterns

Examples: the Orpheus
Chamber Orchestra,
some evangelical churches
or ministries, many
community groups and


Sample theory:

• Organizational ecology

Change generated through
organizational learning,
imitation, and adaptation
over long time periods or
deviation after long periods
of stasis

Examples: the progression
from agrarian and craft work
to industrialization and work
in bureaucracies or the
transition from bureaucracies
to information technology and
project or teamwork structures

What type of leadership do
we need/want to accomplish
change? (Chapter 3)




Path-goal (contingency theory)

Leader-member exchange


Which practices do we
employ to implement
change? (Chapter 4)

Adaptive practices:

• Organizational

• Institutionalized

• Empowerment/shared

Ethics and change

Stages of praxis

Adaptive practices:

• Organizational

Ethics and change

NOTE: Ideal types are adapted from Van de Ven and Poole (1995).

The chapter begins with a vignette depicting change in an actual company.
Throughout the three chapters in Part II, segments of the vignette provide examples
of certain concepts and practices of leadership and change.


CC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt eeCC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt ee

Technology Solutions Turns Disaster Into Dividends

Technology Solutions, Incorporated,1 began as a private Internet-technology staffing and consult-
ing firm in 1990. The company currently has two divisions—consulting services and products.
Consulting services assists clients with software development and provides short- or long-term
staffing for positions such as project managers, business analysts, database developers, and net-
work engineers, among others. The centerpiece of Technology Solutions’ products division is its
special-education management software designed to help educators manage the broad array of
data collection and dissemination associated with the special-education process. The company has
received several prestigious awards for its innovative products and services and its work in the

Clients of Technology Solutions range from large Fortune 100 companies to small start-up busi-
nesses. The business model varies with each client. Technology Solutions employees must be
responsive and adapt to the situation at hand. Because most employees are so flexible, they are
innovative and generally receptive to change; they are not limited in their range of clients or how
they do business. People can cross lines and roles without hesitation. This flexibility helps in
accomplishing projects and tasks while creating a motivating and innovative workplace. Each day
company members can be called to perform a new job.

Technology Solutions’ president and founder is a quintessential high-tech entrepreneur—
talented, energetic, innovative, and exuberant. He enjoys and inspires the work in a nontraditional
office setting characterized by a pool table, disco ball, and a ready supply of doughnuts. It is dif-
ficult to imagine now that only a few years ago Technology Solutions suffered a financial setback
and companywide layoffs. Prior to the setback, business was booming and company members val-
ued their numerous perks and their fun and upbeat work environment. Technology Solutions’ rev-
enue jumped 52% in one year alone. However, this exponential growth came to an abrupt halt
when the market shifted. The sharp economic downturn hit the high-tech sector particularly hard.
The formerly very prosperous company had to switch to survivor mode if it were going to succeed.

The president of Technology Solutions explained that his job as leader is to initiate change even
when things are going well: “We must build the foundation for the next level of growth. Change
goes against the grain in the way a lot of people think, but that is the way it is.” People often do
not think change is necessary when actually it is imperative. For example, many employees found
the shift to a staffing-based market difficult to accept. The company president reported that
Technology Solutions went through significant organizational change when he discovered that
purchase orders from clients increasingly requested consulting or technology staffing at the
clients’ worksites rather than project-based work performed at Technology Solutions’ headquar-
ters. “My employees felt I was throwing away our profits,” he said regarding the initial reaction
to the changes he implemented. Ultimately, however, his intuition proved correct: The project divi-
sion closed due to lack of demand, and the company survived on its staffing division.

Change in the market economy led to a shift in the company’s direction, decisions, and prac-
tices. Technology Solutions had to revamp its work environment, structure, and staffing as a result
of change in the economy. The company reversed its work assignments so that more employees
worked at sites out in the field and fewer employees worked at the company headquarters.

Introduction 39

Technology Solutions shifted its off-site to on-site staffing ratio from 20:80 to 80:20. In addition,
the company formed new business groups to go after sections of the market it had not previously
targeted and hired employees who could offer expertise in those targeted areas. The company shut
down divisions that were not growing and expanded prosperous divisions to take advantage of
new opportunities. The shift in emphasis to consulting and workforce outsourcing forced
Technology Solutions into five separate rounds of layoffs. The company had to transform itself in
a short period of time.

The market shift led to a rough transition for members of the company. The president found it
difficult to communicate with the 80% of employees who worked off site. Originally, the company
was characterized by a very flat organizational structure, according to company employees, but
during the economic downturn, the company assumed a more hierarchical structure. For a while
employees experienced difficulty dealing with the uncertainty in the office as they watched friends
and coworkers being laid off. Everyone felt as if they were walking on eggshells as the company’s
environment changed and the economy fell. Morale suffered. A rumor mill about changes
contributed to stress in the office. Several employees commented that it was difficult not being
involved in the decision making regarding the company’s direction and structure. Some said they
frankly did not think Technology Solutions was particularly adept at embracing change.

Long-term members of the company thought the organization’s fundamental values and the
relationship between leaders and employees changed. In the past, everyone had shared in the
company’s decision making. However, as Technology Solutions encountered a financial downturn
and survival became a major goal, decision making about the company’s direction became more
centralized. The company president hired new management staff, including a chief operating offi-
cer. The change led several employees to conclude that leaders were not upholding the company’s
stated core values, which included a commitment to quality products, service, and employees;
building strong relationships with clients, employees, and the larger community; developing and
enhancing knowledge; fostering a sense of personal responsibility; and modeling fiscal responsi-
bility. Some employees said that even though the core values were communicated to everyone, the
company did not abide by them during hard times.

Despite the president’s efforts to maintain a flexible and fun environment, Technology
Solutions developed a different culture with more hierarchy, fewer in-house projects, more layoffs,
and an increase in other cost-cutting measures, such as the elimination of the employees’ beloved
“Doughnut Wednesday” and the suspension of the company’s community volunteer program.
Some employees who had been with the company for several years became disgruntled with the
changing environment. They sensed a barrier between upper managers and employees that had
not existed previously.

With the challenges of organizational restructuring, the president worked to maintain an envi-
ronment that embraced change by encouraging employees to learn and pursue knowledge.
Continuous learning is extremely important in the technology industry because knowledge in this
field advances quickly. Employees and the company share responsibility for getting employees the
training and latest information necessary to stay current in their field. “Like dental hygiene where
you have to keep your teeth brushed every day, in ‘learning hygiene’ you have to keep your mind
brushed,” the president said.




Technology Solutions encourages employees to embrace change through empowerment.
Employees have the freedom to be creative and develop the newest and most innovative ideas
possible, even if that means they sometimes make mistakes. There is no micromanaging.

Company employees receive considerable satisfaction from the work itself. When a problem
arises, the project manager often solicits four possible solutions from employees. Recognition and
positive reinforcement encourage employees to contribute their best efforts to each project. The
role of leaders and managers in the organization is to help employees discover themselves and
learn to relate to one another authentically. Managers practice this approach by listening to
employees and implementing a “no secrets” policy.

Employees think that the nature of the information technology business, rather than any cajol-
ing from managers, forces them to be innovative. They are all aware that if they do not know of
or understand the latest technology available, the business will not survive. One senior manager’s
comments about continuous change echoed those made by employees: Change is inevitable and
constant in an organization based on computer technology. Managers encourage employees to be
creative and think outside the box, which fosters continual innovation.

Employees also mentioned that many company practices stimulate them to take action, includ-
ing the free sharing of ideas, the open-door policy among all company members, and the discus-
sions during company meetings. One manager said that the leader’s job is easier at Technology
Solutions than at many other firms because employees are hard working, motivated, and team ori-
ented. “No one in the organization is stove piped . . . [each person is] able to cross over depend-
ing on the task,” another manager commented.

The company promotes learning and continuous self-development in its employees. Company
members often take the time to share ideas with each other in hopes that this process will spark
new thoughts. Employees said that they always feel comfortable seeking guidance from any
member of the organization, including the president. Individuals throughout Technology Solutions
provide this type of inspiration regardless of their title or position. Many employees commented
on the importance of being creative and having access to the newest and most innovative ideas

Not everyone adapts well to change in structure and purpose, even in environments that wel-
come technological change. The president said that roughly two thirds of his company accepts
change, but the other third does not. As an example, the third involved in the shutdown might say
that because the company closed the division where they worked and had knowledge and exper-
tise, they now had to acquire new knowledge and expertise, which made them feel uncomfort-
able. These employees resist change, in contrast to the two thirds of employees in the growing
sector who might welcome change. The newer employees and managers tend to embrace the com-
pany’s change in structure and purpose, according to one company executive. The challenge at this
point seems to be getting the rest of the organization aligned in this mindset and creating a trans-
forming environment for all members of the company.

Clearly, these changes created tension and distress. Previously, the company was smaller and
everyone was involved in decision making. As the company grew larger, employees were not as

Introduction 41

involved in every business decision. Employees lamented the fact that they did not have a choice
regarding the changes that occurred; they simply had to adapt to the changes and move on. The
company was recreated and reconstructed during the 12-month period following the economic
downturn in the fall of 2001. As a result, change became an inevitable part of company members’

Organizational change helped Technology Solutions remain viable through uneven economic
conditions punctuated by significant gains and losses. Modifications, such as changing manage-
ment and the decision-making process, cutting costs, closing a division, and restructuring the
ratios of employees on site and off site, helped to move the organization forward so that it could
embrace new opportunities and challenges. Few members of Technology Solutions felt the impact
of these changes more profoundly than the company’s founder and president.


1. Although the company’s name has been changed, the situation described in this vignette actually
occurred. Members of the Senior Seminar class at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of
Richmond, collected the relevant data and developed this case. The researchers included Jon Blute, Dorothy
Donaby-Juntunen, Erika Fiest, Eric Hines, Lori Kinast, Kate Materna, Gregory Mullen, Sarah Nickerson, Erin
Powers, Jennifer Roberts, Timothy Sullivan, and William Wright.

Life cycle


Chaos and complexity





Concepts of
Organizational Change

What Kind of Organizational
Change Do We Want or Need?

Technology Solutions faced many of the challenges that companies, nonprofit orga-
nizations, and government agencies confront in dynamic environments. Their first
priority in the change process was survival. It was apparent to senior managers,
based on the change in requests from clients, that the company had to respond to
the shifting economic and workforce needs. The purpose of change at Technology
Solutions was to adjust the company’s focus to emphasize consulting services and
workforce staffing at the client’s worksite and develop new opportunities in the
company’s areas of capacity and strength. This shift in focus required change and
innovation in the company’s services and products, which in turn required change
in its structure, decision-making process, in-house and off-site staffing ratio, exper-
tise of company members, and number of employees in each company division.

The story of Technology Solutions provides valuable insight into concepts of
organizational change. Van de Ven and Poole (1995) explained how and why orga-
nizations change by grouping nearly 20 different process theories from multiple
disciplines into four schools of thought (also called motors or ideal types)—life
cycle, teleological, dialectical, and evolutionary. Researchers show that organiza-
tions actually draw from various combinations or compilations of these theories
and ideal types instead of relying on a single type.

Van de Ven and Poole (1995) begin their explanation of change motors or types
by defining several key terms: (1) change, an empirical observation of difference in
form, quality, or state over time in an organizational entity; (2) development, a
change process from initiation or onset of the entity to its end; and (3) process
theory, an explanation of how and why an organizational entity changes and devel-
ops (p. 512).


Life-Cycle Theory

Table 2.1 uses Van de Ven and Poole’s four schools of thought or ideal types to
illustrate the drivers, units, or levels of analysis, processes, and modes of organiza-
tional change. The first ideal type, life-cycle theory, embodies a biological or human
development metaphor of stages and organic growth. Like a living organism, some
organizations or groups within organizations go through a predetermined cycle of
start-up (birth), growth (adolescence), maturity (adulthood), and decline (death) or
revitalization (recovery). Organizations involved in life-cycle change “often explain
development in terms of institutional rules or programs that require developmental
activities to progress in a prescribed sequence” (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 515).

Life-cycle theory is an inherent component of certain organizations, such as
pharmaceutical companies in which the developmental process involves a sequence
of proposals, clinical trials, and regulatory reviews before receiving approval from
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring a new drug to market. Other
examples include nonprofit or government agencies that receive a large part of their
funding from government grants and appropriations or private foundations.
Compliance with the grant or appropriation cycle literally determines life or death
for these organizations. If the agencies receive their grants, they are revitalized and
live to experience the cycle again; if not, they decline or cease to exist.

Van de Ven and Poole (1995) identified the process and pace of change in the
life-cycle ideal type as first-order, continuous, or incremental change (p. 524). This
mode characterizes change as predictable, gradual, or slightly varied from the past
(see Table 2.1). Most types of life-cycle change result in low uncertainty for members
of the organization and competence-enhancing change, which is improvement in
existing designs and capabilities (Abernathy & Clark, 1985, p. 6).

Life-cycle change has limited applicability to the Technology Solutions case,
except for the company’s relative age and stage of development. At the time of its
major change, the company was in a growth or adolescent phase of organizational
development. Its relative stage of growth may have positioned Technology
Solutions to survive a radical turnaround in its goals and structure, whereas a more
mature organization may have encountered even more resistance to change.

Teleological Theory

The second ideal type, teleological theory, provides a useful perspective for
examining much of the change at Technology Solutions. This school of thought,
derived from the philosophical doctrine of teleology, suggests that change or move-
ment occurs through the use of purpose and goals to guide the organization toward
a desired objective. Van de Ven and Poole (1995) affirmed that the theory works
when like-minded individuals or groups act together as a single entity:

It is assumed that the entity is purposeful and adaptive; by itself or in interaction
with others, the entity constructs an envisioned end state, takes action to reach it,
and monitors the progress. Thus, proponents of this theory view development as
a repetitive sequence of goal formulation, implementation, evaluation, and mod-
ification of goals based on what was learned or intended by the entity. (p. 516)


CHAPTER 2 Concepts of Organizational Change 45

Drivers of Change,
Motors, or Ideal Types

Unit or Level
of Analysis Process of Change

Mode and Pace
of Change

Life cycle

Sample theories:

• Stage theories of
development or

Change innately
programmed into the

Example: a pharmaceutical
company’s stages in the
development and approval
process for a new drug

Within one
or group

Metaphor: organic

Movement through
stages of change:
start-up > growth >
maturity >
death/decline or

Intellectual heritage:
biology, human

• First-order change:

� Prescribed/
predictable mode

� Patterned on
existing framework

� Low uncertainty

• Continuous change
(based on past or
current framework)

• Incremental change
(slow, gradual


Sample theories:

• Systems theory/systems

• Strategic theory

Change enacted purposely
by members of organization

Example: a product or
service innovation in an
organization’s area of
strength or capacity—Apple’s
creation of the iPod

Within one
or group

Metaphor: purposeful
cooperation (internal)

Emergent sequence of
change: goal setting >
implementation >
evaluation >
modification > setting
of new goals

Intellectual heritage:
teleology (philosophy)

• Second-order change:

� Creative or
innovative mode
(new purpose,
goal, capabilities,
or products/services)

� Unpredictable
� High uncertainty

• Discontinuous change
(break from past

• Radical change (novel
or unprecedented)


Sample theories:

• Conflict/conflict
resolution theories

Change generated by
conflict and synthesis

Examples: mergers and
acquisitions involving
different organizational
cultures—fire and police
services or Eastern
companies and Western
workers or private sector
management of public sector
employees and services

Between two
or more
or groups

Metaphor: opposition,

Intellectual heritage:
Hegelian philosophy,
Marxist theory, conflict

• Second-order change:

� Creative or
innovative mode
(new purpose,
goal, capabilities,
or products/

� Unpredictable
� High uncertainty

• Discontinuous change
(break from past

• Radical change (novel
or unprecedented)

TABLE 2.1 Organizational Change: Drivers, Units of Analysis, Processes, and Modes



Drivers of Change,
Motors, or Ideal Types

Unit or Level
of Analysis Process of Change

Mode and Pace of


(an emerging theory;
Poole & Van de Ven, 2004)

Sample theories:

• Chaos/complexity theories
• Self-organizing systems

Change and problem solving
occur by searching for
emerging themes or patterns
in systems and forming self-
organizing teams and
structures around these
themes or patterns

Example: the Orpheus
Chamber Orchestra, some
evangelical churches or
ministries, many community
groups or organizations

Within one
or group and
or groups

self-organizing or

Intellectual heritage:
complex systems
theory, chaos theory
(from physics,
chemistry, biology,

• Second-order change:

� Creative or
innovative mode
(new purpose, goal,
capabilities, or

� Unpredictable
� High uncertainty

• Discontinuous change
(break from past

• Radical change (novel
or unprecedented)

Sample theory:

• Organizational ecology

Change generated by
organizational learning and
imitation over long periods
of time

Example: The progression
from agrarian and craft work
to industrialization and work
in bureaucracies or the
development from
bureaucracies to information
technology and project or
teamwork structures

or groups

competitive survival

Intellectual heritage:
natural selection
through growth and
decline (Darwin);
learning and imitation
(Lamarck); gradual
change with periodic
interruption that
produces new species
(Gould & Eldredge,

• First-order change:

� Prescribed/
predictable mode

� Patterned on
existing framework

� Low uncertainty

• Continuous change
(based on past or
current framework)

• Incremental change
(slow, gradual change)

NOTE: Ideal types are adapted from Van de Ven and Poole (1995).

TABLE 2.1 (Continued)

The teleological ideal type is the foundation for many theories and models of

• Social construction (Berger & Luckmann, 1966)—individuals and society
develop shared meaning (shared beliefs and conceptions) of what reality is
and embed this shared meaning in the institutions and structures of society;
as a result, social reality is said to be socially constructed.

CHAPTER 2 Concepts of Organizational Change 47

• Decision making (March & Simon, 1958)—organizational members develop
certain goals and objectives by employing four major processes—problem
solving, persuasion, bargaining, or politics.

• Equifinality (Katz & Kahn, 1966)—this concept, which is within systems
theory (described separately), suggests there are several equally effective ways
to reach a goal.

• Adaptive learning (Heifetz, 1994; March & Olsen, 1976; Schön, 1971; Senge,
1990)—organizational members work to improve their actions and resulting
organizational outcomes using a learning cycle that entails assessing individ-
ual beliefs that lead to individual actions, which in turn lead to organizational
action and a response from the environment that can induce improved indi-
vidual beliefs.

• Functionalism (Merton, 1968)—this method of analyzing social and cultural
units is used to determine how well these units work together and adapt to
support and sustain society as a whole.

• Strategic change (Chakravarthy & Lorange, 1991)—This concept is described
separately in this section. (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 516)

From the founding of Technology Solutions, senior managers developed
objectives (goal setting) for the organization—serving clients through delivery of
technology-based projects—and took appropriate action to carry out their goals
(implementation). When profits began to shrink after a major boom, senior managers
assessed the trends in purchase orders from clients to identify changes in their clients’
needs (evaluation). These findings led to significant change in their original objec-
tives (setting new goals) and vital innovations in the company’s products and services.
Creativity and change are built into organizations such as Technology Solutions,
where members have the ability to generate any goals they deem appropriate. As a
result, Van de Ven and Poole (1995) use the metaphor of purposeful cooperation
among internal constituents to symbolize the teleological ideal type (p. 514).

The process and pace of change in the teleological ideal type can be described as
second order (a break with the past), discontinuous, or radical (Van de Ven & Poole,
1995, pp. 523–524). These modes describe change that is innovative, frame break-
ing, unpredictable, or revolutionary (Table 2.1). The new goals of senior managers
at Technology Solutions—workforce outsourcing and new market and product
development—led to innovation and a radical departure from the past.

This second-order change resulted in high levels of uncertainty, unpredictability,
and competence-destroying challenges—development or innovation that disrupts or
destroys existing designs and capabilities to create new ones (Abernathy & Clark,
1985, p. 6) for employees when senior managers shut down declining divisions and
enlarged profitable ones. Many employees became more insecure as they experienced
layoffs, cutbacks, vanishing perks, and a loss of work in their areas of competence.

Systems Theory

Even though the level or unit of analysis in teleological change is one organiza-
tion or entity (vs. two or more), the external environment greatly influences


organizational change and decisions by participants in the process. Systems theory
or system dynamics helps participants in teleological change see the vast array of
causes and effects that make up a situation in contrast to seeing problems in dis-
jointed, linear, or simplistic ways (Yukl, 2006, p. 203).

Jay Forrester (1961), credited with the founding of system dynamics, posited
that problems (organizational, social, or political) have multiple sources that
require a more complex understanding of the dynamic interrelationships of events
within and between organizational units, functions, or levels and interrelationships
between the organization and its environment. He cautioned that situations may
only worsen if change leaders attempt to solve a problem in one area without con-
sidering the broader cause-and-effect relationships or consequences (intended and
unintended) within the whole system (Forrester, 1995, pp. 11–12). For instance, it
would have been an inadequate response by senior managers at Technology
Solutions to blame the problem of plummeting profits solely on the methods or
assertiveness of their marketing and sales staff without taking into account factors
such as a changing economy, shifting client needs, the company’s internal capabili-
ties and structure, and the company’s need to differentiate its products and services
from others. These and other factors are wholly interdependent.

The structure of change in systems theory is usually depicted in a flow diagram, sim-
ilar to Figure 2.1, consisting of four facets—input, throughput, output, and feedback:

Input describes the conditions at any given moment in time. Throughput
describes the actions that take place, based on the apparent input. Output
describes the future results of those actions. Finally, feedback returns infor-
mation to the system about its performance. By this means, the system regu-
lates itself. (Harter & Phillips, 2004, p. 1516)

In the case of Technology Solutions, assessment by
senior managers of the changing economy, shifting
client needs, declining business, and plummeting prof-
its (input) led them to change the company’s capabili-
ties, internal structure, method and location of service
delivery, and product development (throughput).
These changes resulted in an increase in clients,
improved profits, new products, a decrease in internal

staff, and the recruitment of experts for off-site staffing (output). An evaluation of
performance based on the company’s actions allowed senior managers to deter-
mine their successes and identify new challenges (feedback).

Strategic Change

Participants involved in teleological change depend on information from the
external environment about new occurrences, opportunities, and threats to create
strategic change. Strategic change focuses on actions to achieve a competitively supe-
rior fit between the organization and its environment based on the organiza-
tion’s vision, mission, values, and purpose (Daft & Lane, 2002, p. 487). Balaji
Chakravarthy (1997) contended that in a turbulent environment where the behavior



Input Output

FIGURE 2.1 Systems Theory

of competitors and other aspects of the environment are unpredictable, strategic
change depends on an organization’s ability to sustain flexibility, create distinctive
competencies, and become a repeat innovator (p. 80). Chakravarthy stated the fol-
lowing criteria are needed to create and support this kind of flexibility:

A firm needs to rely more on its front-line entrepreneurs who are close to the
business pulse and can sense the flow of innovation. Constraining them with
top-down strategic intent can be counterproductive, but their innovative ideas
need to be channeled within a guiding philosophy—a broad vision of the
opportunities that the firm seeks to participate in. (pp. 80–81)

Environmental factors often play a role in the decision by some organizations to
pursue a cooperative or collaborative change strategy with competitors or compa-
nies from a different business sector. These cooperative arrangements, known as
interorganizational relationships (IORs), take various forms, including partnerships,
strategic alliances, joint ventures, and research consortia, among others (Ring &
Van de Ven, 1994, p. 90). Much like cooperative conflict resolution (Forsyth, 2006,
pp. 438–439), cooperative change involves the development of superordinate goals
by two or more competitive or diverse organizations that represent the common
interest of all parties. The common interests these parties focus on may include goals
such as cocreating a new product or service, obtaining a broader clientele, or gain-
ing new or scarce resources. IORs involve multiple actors who interact during an
indefinite or specified span of time in a joint effort to mediate or respond to an
uncertain environment. Parties enter these relationships based on their perceptions
of trust, efficiency, and equity or fair dealing with each other and may codify their
arrangement in a formal agreement (Ring & Van de Ven, 1994, p. 94).

Cooperative or collaborative change has it drawbacks. As McCann and Selsky
(1984) pointed out, this approach can be too expensive or too threatening based on
the amount and variety of resources to be managed, may not prevail over historical
antagonisms between parties or substantive differences in values and goals, and
may overwhelm the capacity of organizational partners to accept and make sense
of increasing amounts of information and interdependencies (p. 463).

Cooperative change may seem counterintuitive in a highly competitive context;
however, numerous companies, such as Microsoft and Nortell, use this approach to
codevelop new products, such as communications software. Many nonprofit orga-
nizations join together in a cooperative change effort for fundraising and other
common purposes pertaining to nonprofit functions.

Chaos and Complexity: Emergent Theories

Chaos theory and its offshoot, complexity theory, encompass characteristics of sys-
tems theory and certain characteristics of dialectical theory; however, chaos and com-
plexity theories may represent a new and distinct generation of thought. These
theories maintain that “relationships in complex systems, like organizations, are non-
linear, made up of interconnections and branching choices that produce unintended
consequences and render the universe unpredictable” (Tetenbaum, 1998, p. 21). Rather
than looking for concrete, linear, and nonconflicting answers to complex situations,

CHAPTER 2 Concepts of Organizational Change 49

chaos theory contends that problem solving and change occur by searching for
emerging themes or patterns in a system and forming self-organizing structures
around these themes or patterns.

Chaos theory embraces conflicting views and approaches by using both/and
rather than either/or perspectives. Tetenbaum (1998) found that some organiza-
tions, such as Visa, Motorola, and Sony’s PlayStation unit, have created chaordic
organizational cultures to provide the resilience and flexibility needed to handle
continual and unforeseen change. These organizational cultures foster knowledge
and information sharing, innovation and creativity, teamwork and project orienta-
tion, diversity, and strong core values (pp. 27–29).

Complexity theory assumes “that some events, given our knowledge and technol-
ogy, are unknowable until they occur, and may indeed be unknowable in advance”
(Eve, Horsfall, & Lee, as cited in Schneider & Somers, 2006, p. 354). This theory encom-
passes three interrelated elements not found in general systems theory—nonlinear
dynamics, in which structures are characterized by high states of energy exchange with
the environment and extreme instability; chaos theory, in which an attraction or mag-
netism forms a discernable pattern over time called a “strange attractor” (Wheatley,
1992, pp. 122–125); and adaptation and evolution, in which an ability to modify or
change is evidenced through a process of self-organization and interdependence
among individuals or subunits (Schneider & Somers, 2006, pp. 354–355).

Within complexity theory, the concept of complex adaptive system (CAS) may
provide the best organizational capacity to adapt and change in unknown or
unknowable settings. An organization that develops a CAS can function as a
“poised” system that has the capability to position itself on the edge of chaos
(Schneider & Somers, 2006, p. 355). CASs become poised through adaptive buffer-
ing, emergence, self-similarity, and self-organization.

Adaptive buffering allows organizations optimal flexibility—the right amount of
experimentation and energy exchange with the environment; whereas too much
flexibility results in disruption or instability, too little results in rigidity. Emergence
is the spontaneous bottom-up interaction among organizational actors and units
that generates cooperation and facilitates order in the midst of change. Self-similarity
means all units and subunits (departments, teams, geographic divisions, etc.) share a
vital component of the organization as a whole (similar to fractals in nature). One
way to create self-similarity is to build organizational identity, a form of social iden-
tity that reflects beliefs members hold in common about characteristics of the company
or agency. When this identity resides in the heads and hearts of the organization’s
members, individuals or teams can remain flexible and open to change while main-
taining a sense of continuity (Schneider & Somers, 2006, pp. 357–358).

The dialectical ideal type may provide an intellectual foundation for some tenets
of chaos and complexity theory. Dialectical change brings about ideas, knowledge,
and technology that differ from current and opposing conceptions and yields an
outcome (synthesis) that is often “unknowable in advance.” To this end, chaos theory
can be revolutionary and frame breaking, though some scholars argue the theory is
primarily evolutionary (Schneider & Somers, 2006, p. 354). Because the outcome or
synthesis of dialectical change sets the stage for new challenges to the system, this
synthesis may become a new strange attractor for the next seeds of change.


CHAPTER 2 Concepts of Organizational Change 51

Van de Ven and Poole (2004) did not include chaos and complexity theories as
ideal types or motors in their 1995 change typology; however, they acknowledge in
a later publication that these theories comprise one of several trends in organiza-
tional change research and “have great potential to provide rigorous models for
critical aspects of change including emergence, interlevel relationships, critical inci-
dents, and unintended consequences” (p. xv).

Dialectical Theory

The third ideal type, dialectical theory, begins with “the Hegelian assumption
that the organizational entity exists in a pluralistic world of colliding events, forces,
or contradictory values that compete with each other for domination and control”
(Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 517). These conflicts may be internal (conflicting
goals), external (conflicting organizations), or both. According to dialectical theory,
change occurs when people responsible for existing organizational values, goals, or
modes of operation (thesis) � encounter opposition from people whose opposing
perspectives gain adequate power to challenge the status quo (antithesis) � result-
ing in the creation of a novel set of values, goals, or modes of operation (synthesis)
that departs from both the current perspective and the opposing one.

The changes at Technology Solutions contained elements of dialectical theory.
For example, senior managers built a thriving business by serving clients through
the development and delivery of in-house technology-based projects at the com-
pany’s headquarters (thesis) until business declined sharply due to changes in the
economy and changes in requests from clients (antithesis). These external chal-
lenges resulted in a radical change in services and staffing at Technology Solutions
along with a change in the mode and location of service delivery. Challenges to the
company’s status quo also caused senior managers to expand their mission and
capacity by exploring new markets and developing innovative business products,
such as special-education management software, to expand the company’s mission
and capabilities (synthesis). This new synthesis set the stage for other challenges to
Technology Solutions’ status quo, which will likely set the process in motion again.

Dialectical and teleological ideal types embody several of the same modes of
frame-breaking organizational change, including second-order, discontinuous, and
radical change (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, pp. 523–524). Like the teleological
school of thought, the dialectical embodies high levels of uncertainty, unpre-
dictability, and competence-destroying change. The dialectical ideal type differs
from the teleological in that change arises from conflict rather than constructed
plans, the outcome or synthesis results in a change that was not purposely devel-
oped and guided, and typically the process and outcome are more chaotic in char-
acter than they are when constructed by organizational members.

Evolutionary Theory

The third ideal type, evolutionary theory, focuses on organizational ecology
involving cumulative change over time in organizational entities across communi-
ties, industries, or society at large. Van de Ven and Poole (1995) used this biological
metaphor to explain the three components of an evolutionary ideal type—variation,

selection, and retention. Variation creates new forms of organizations through ran-
dom chance; selection of organizations occurs through competition for scarce
resources, resulting in the environment selecting the best entity; and retention per-
petuates and maintains certain organizational forms and practices (p. 518).

Evolutionary change can be generated through natural selection, organizational
learning, imitation, and adaptation over long time periods or deviation after long
periods of stasis. Darwinists contend that change occurs as organizations inherit
traits through intergenerational processes of natural selection (survival of the
fittest), such as differential birth and death rates. In contrast, the Lamarckian view,
which maintains that organizations change by developing or adopting new traits
through learning and imitation within a generation, seems more applicable and
relevant to contemporary organizations (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, p. 519).
Evolutionary theorists who support Gould and Eldredge’s (1972) concept of punc-
tuated equilibrium explain that major change in organizations occurs when a devi-
ation or discrepancy in organizational traits happens after long periods of gradual
change. Real change takes place if this deviation establishes a trend wherein the new
organizational traits succeed more frequently than the previous ones—such as the
change in work and structure from the industrial to the information era.

The evolutionary ideal type, like the life-cycle ideal type, characterizes change as
predictable, gradual, or slightly varied from the past. They share several modes of
organizational change, including first-order, continuous, or incremental change,
which result in low uncertainty and competence enhancement for members of the
organization (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, pp. 522–523). The evolutionary ideal type
differs from life cycle in that it focuses on competition among organizations in an
environment where resources are limited for each entity’s survival. For example,
competition from Japanese automobile makers, whose employees build high-quality
cars by working in teams, forced U.S. automobile makers to change from individ-
ual to team approaches to compete for the same customers.


Van de Ven and Poole’s (1995) framework organizes process theories of change from
multiple disciplines that help explain how and why change unfolds in organizations.
Using four drivers of change or ideal types—life-cycle, teleological, dialectical, and
evolutionary—they provide a coherent structure that incorporates concepts such as
first-order and second-order change, continuous and discontinuous change, and
incremental and radical change. Added to this framework, the chapter examines
chaos/complexity theory, systems theory, and strategic change. Collectively, these
concepts help organizational members understand the kind of change they want,
need, or are experiencing so that their actions help facilitate the change they desire.


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CHAPTER 2 Concepts of Organizational Change 53









Concepts of Leadership in
Organizational Change

What Type of Leadership Do We Want
or Need to Accomplish Change?

Complex organizational settings make it difficult to create a framework for leading
change that links only one leadership concept to one theory of change.
Organizational members in complex settings will need to use a compilation of
leadership concepts and theories to adapt and change the organization in accor-
dance with their environment. As a result, the more pertinent question may be,
what compilation of leadership concepts do we need to bring about the type of
change we want? The leadership theories and concepts in this section represent
potential components of an overall leadership approach to bring about organiza-
tional change and encompass multiple levels of analysis, ranging from interaction
between the organization and its external environment to project teams.

Collective/Collaborative Leadership

Reliance on the collective or collaborative capabilities of organizational
members and teams provides a logical means for leading change in turbulent or
dynamic environments. Still, leader-focused theories and authority structures,
combined with a shortage of models and experience, make it difficult to benefit
fully from the collective capabilities of groups or organizational members in a
Western context. Effective use of collective capabilities relies on adaptive work, cul-
tural proficiency, organizational learning, and a willingness to experiment.

Allen and colleagues (1998) pointed out that this form of leadership has been
given different names: collective, collaborative, shared, participatory, cooperative,
democratic, fluid, inclusive, roving, distributed, relational, and postheroic (p. 46).


Although there is no consensus on the name, the underlying premise of leadership
in complex organizations is that “answers are to be found in community” in group-
centered organizations where “everyone can learn continually” (Allen et al., 1998,
p. 47). Collective or collaborative leadership in this text refers to leadership that uses
the talents and resources of all members, not simply a single leader or executive
team, to bring about change or generate creative and adaptive solutions in 21st cen-
tury environments. As a result, followers are being transformed into partners,
coleaders, lifelong learners, and collaborators, and adaptive leaders are undertaking
new roles as creators and sustainers of contexts that allow people to lead themselves
(Allen et al., 1998; Chaleff, 1995; Kouzes & Posner, 2002; Manz & Sims, 1993).

Tapscott and Williams (2006) indicated that companies have entered a new era
of collaboration and innovation they call Wikinomics. Like the Internet encyclope-
dia Wikipedia, collaboration in this new era invites the broadest possible participa-
tion from individuals inside and outside an organization. The authors describe
Wikinomics as “deep changes in the structure and modus operandi of the corpora-
tion and our economy, based on new competitive principles such as openness, peer-
ing, sharing, and acting globally” (Tapscott & Williams, 2006, p. 3). The concept of
openness in this context goes beyond traditional ideas of access, flexibility, or
engagement to porous boundaries that allow numerous external and internal par-
ticipants to engage in innovation, research and development, problem solving, and
the creation of new products and services. Peering describes a process that takes
place when mass collaboration occurs among large numbers of people and corpo-
rations or other organizations to drive innovation, growth, and development.
Sharing entails creating value for the organization by providing access to some (but
not all) of its intellectual property, computing power, scientific knowledge, and
other resources. This process allows organizations to expand markets and create
new opportunities. Finally, acting globally means organizations work, innovate, and
design across physical and geographical boundaries, tapping into a global talent
pool and creating an ecosystem for designing, producing, and delivering products
or services worldwide.

Overall, Tapscott and Williams (2006) predicted a new era of collaboration,
described as follows:

We will harness human skill, ingenuity, and intelligence more efficiently and
effectively than anything we have witnessed previously. Sounds like a tall order.
But the collective knowledge, capability, and resources embodied within broad
horizontal networks of participants can be mobilized to accomplish much
more than one firm acting alone. . . . the ability to integrate the talents of dis-
persed individuals and organizations is becoming the defining competency for
managers and firms. And in the years to come, this new mode of peer pro-
duction will displace traditional corporation hierarchies as the key engine of
wealth creation in the economy. (p. 18, italics in original)

Though Tapscott and Williams described this new form of collaboration in a
business context, all forms of organizations—nonprofit, government, and virtual—
are a part of the collaborative phenomenon.

Shared Leadership

Shared leadership is “a dynamic, interactive influence process among individu-
als in groups in which the objective is to lead one another to the achievement of
group or organizational goals or both” (Pearce & Conger, 2003, p. 1). The process
involves peer or lateral influence and can involve upward or downward hierarchi-
cal influence. It differs from traditional leadership in that shared leadership is
broadly distributed among a set of individuals where the influence process involves
more than downward influence on members of the organization.

Robert Kelley (1988, 1992) emphasized that both leaders and followers engage
in leadership. Their work is interdependent, fosters the same leadership ends, and
engages participants in the change process as coleaders. Kelley (1988) indicated that
leadership and followership are “equal but different” roles (p. 146). Roles structure
behavior and determine the “part” that members take in groups or organizations
(Forsyth, 2006, pp. 11–12). Even so, these roles are not fixed because members can
move in and out of different roles within or between various groups. Kelley (1998)
described the roles in leadership as follows:

Effective followership—“People who are effective in the follower role have the
vision to see both the forest and the trees, the social capacity to work well with
others, the strength of character to flourish without heroic status, the moral and
psychological balance to pursue personal and corporate [i.e., organizational]
goals at no cost to either, and, above all, the desire to participate in a team effort
for the accomplishment of some greater common purpose.”

Effective leadership—“People who are effective in the leader role have the vision
to set corporate [i.e., organizational] goals and strategies, the interpersonal skills
to achieve consensus, the verbal capacity to communicate enthusiasm to large
and diverse groups of individuals, the organizational talent to coordinate dis-
parate efforts, and above all, the desire to lead. (p. 147)

Kelley (1988) described effective followers as “well-balanced and responsible
adults who can succeed without strong leadership, adding:

[They are critical thinkers who] carry out their duties and assignments with
energy and assertiveness . . . manage themselves well . . . [sustain commit-
ment] to the organization and to a purpose, principle, or person outside them-
selves . . . build their competence and focus their efforts for maximum
impact . . . [and] are courageous, honest, and credible. (pp. 143–144)

Schneider and Somers (2006) described a similar leadership role they identify as
tags: “As tags are associated with action and outcomes, not necessarily with indi-
viduals or positions, one might co-function as leader, sharing the role in tandem”
(p. 356). Tags exercise considerable influence, which moves others to action
through their facilitation of cooperation, interaction, and resonance among agents
involved in change or adaptation processes.

Because many leadership theories and concepts mainly focus on “the leader,” it
is difficult at times for members of organizations to visualize and develop roles for

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 57

followership that maximize their contributions to leading change. The importance
of both exemplary leadership and followership is most visible in project teams,
described later in this chapter. Roles in project teams are relatively fluid and often
allow the same person to serve as team leader and team member at different points
in time. Kelley (1988) emphasized that preparation for effective followership in
organizations requires the same conscious and deliberate efforts as preparation
for effective leadership. He urged members of organizations to develop training
programs and other opportunities to develop capabilities in both functions.

The assumption described earlier—that concepts and practices of leading change
can apply to multiple participants (leaders and followers), in various roles, and at
different levels inside and outside the organization—stems from concepts of
leadership and followership roles in Kelley (1988, 1992) and later work by Schneider
and Somers (2006) on the concept of a complex adaptive system. Accordingly, these
different but equal roles apply to each type of change—life-cycle, teleological, dialec-
tical (including chaos and complexity theory), and evolutionary change.

Adaptive Leadership

The term adaptive leadership is appearing with more frequency in literature on orga-
nizational change, particularly in relation to chaos and complexity theory. Scholars
began to infer the components and processes of adaptive leadership as they described
the requirements for organizational adaptability in response to turbulent environ-
ments. On the basis of these descriptions, it is probable that adaptive leadership gener-
ates and sustains a context where people develop and use their capacity to pursue new
opportunities, meet unknown conditions or threats, and solve problems that emerge
from a complex, dynamic environment. This form of leadership may require the adap-
tive behaviors shown in Figure 3.1, among others: setting the context, encouraging
organizational members to function as tags, establishing ethical standards, engaging
in adaptive work, developing cultural competency, and creating adaptive capability.

Setting the context entails creating an organizational climate or context for
change and designing the learning experiences for participants in the process
(Schneider & Somers, 2006, p. 356; Wheatley, 1992). Such climates should encour-
age organizational members to function as tags. Like Kelley’s (1988) description of
effective or exemplary followers, tags lead with or without authority, often in a tem-
porary capacity, to influence people and the processes of meaning making, cooper-
ation, and action taking (Schneider & Somers, 2006, p. 356).

One of the most important functions of formal and informal leadership involves
establishing ethical standards of behavior for all organizational activities, including
change. Al Gini (2004) indicated that as a communal exercise ethics is the attempt
to work out the rights and obligations one has and shares with others (p. 28).
Ethics requires people involved in organizational leadership and change to take
into account the impact of their actions on others. The guiding question for setting
ethical standards and making ethical decisions is, what ought to be done in regard
to the others we work with and serve? (Gini, 2004, p. 40). Ethics is about the assess-
ment and evaluation of values, defined as ideas and beliefs that influence and direct
people’s choices and actions. Values can form the centering mechanism and moral
compass for organizations in dynamic environments.


CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 59

Application of ethical standards and values in the process of leading change
requires organizational members to engage in adaptive work. Ronald Heifetz
(1994) described adaptive work as “the learning required to address conflicts in the
values people hold, or to diminish the gap between the values people stand for and
the reality they face” (p. 22). The role of leadership in adaptive work is to orches-
trate the conflict among competing value perspectives and hold people to the hard
work of solving these problems together (p. 23).

Often, competing value perspectives originate from cultural differences among
members and other stakeholders of the organization. Organizations where stake-
holders bring a variety of differences—culture, age, gender, geographical origins,
race, physical and sensory abilities, ethnicity, learning styles, class, language, occu-
pations, affiliations (political, religious, and social), preferences, educational back-
ground, and others—provide expanded opportunities for their members to
imagine new possibilities, do things differently, and develop more innovative and
adaptive responses in dynamic and turbulent environments (Glover, Rainwater,





Engaging in




members to
function as


Setting the


FIGURE 3.1 Adaptive Leadership

Jones, & Friedman, 2002). A major function of adaptive leadership is to develop
organizational contexts that intentionally attract, learn from, explore, struggle with,
and experiment with different ideas, perspectives, and cultures embedded in diverse
environments. Heifetz’s (1994) concept of adaptive work, combined with a shared
commitment among diverse members to advance the organization’s well-being, can
enhance the capacity of organizational members to lead change in a complex adap-
tive system.

Adaptive leadership in diverse environments requires organizational members
to develop cultural proficiency, defined as a change in perspective or “way of being”
that enables people to respond to an environment shaped by diversity and allows
them to deal with issues that emerge in such environments (Lindsey, Robins, &
Terrell, 2003, p. 5). Acquiring cultural proficiency is a component of continuous
learning that changes the way an organization functions by institutionalizing cul-
tural knowledge in its policies, practices, and organizational culture. This adaptive
work is no longer seen as external or supplemental to the “real” work of the orga-
nization (Lindsey et al., 2003, p. 117) but as imperative for its thriving.

Cultural proficiency also includes understanding the organization’s culture.
Glover, Rainwater et al. (2002) warned against dismantling an organization’s cul-
ture in the change process before fully understanding the meaning, content, and
function that the culture provides. Culturally proficient individuals in leader roles
who demonstrate their understanding of the organization’s culture and respect for
the people who cherish it increase the likelihood that members will respond posi-
tively to adaptive changes.

Creating adaptive capacity means that members of the organization are pre-
pared to create and recreate fundamentally new structures and assume the new
behaviors and responsibilities that accompany them (Glover, Friedman, & Jones,
2002, p. 21). Decisions about these and other substantive forms of change depend
on the capability of organizational members to monitor the external environment—
an ongoing process of scanning and interpreting events along with collecting and
analyzing information about opportunities, threats, and trends that may affect the
organization. Adaptive capacity requires people in direct contact with customers
and other stakeholders of the organization to engage in monitoring and dissemi-
nating information about the external environment (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2004,
p. 100). An organization’s adaptive capacity can be constrained by limiting external
monitoring solely to individuals in senior leadership roles.

The Technology Solutions case presented in the Introduction to Part II illus-
trated several elements of adaptive leadership. The company president created an
organizational climate and culture that embraced change by encouraging employ-
ees to learn and pursue knowledge, stay current in their field, be creative and
develop the most innovative ideas possible, solve problems together, and share
information. Employees said that the nature of the information-technology busi-
ness forced them to be creative and use innovative thinking. However, change at
Technology Solutions may have focused somewhat narrowly on technological
innovation and creativity, while leaving adaptive leadership of the overall company
to the traditional realm of senior leadership.

Adaptive leadership requires increasingly more reliance on the collective or
collaborative capabilities of organizational members to engage in monitoring the


external environment, broadly disseminating information, and generating new
structures, behaviors, services, and products. The use of collective capabilities in the
Technology Solutions case was not explicit with regard to external monitoring and
other organization-level functions. Even so, comments from employees about the
degree of autonomy in their work and about their innovation, collaboration, and
mutual problem solving are strong indicators of the potential for greater collective
involvement at the organization level.

Tao Leadership

The concepts of collective or collaborative leadership are not new. In the Tao of
Leadership,Heider and Dao de Jing (1985) drew on the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu’s
teachings from the Tao Te Ching (Lao Tsu, Feng, & English, 1972), or the Book of the
Way and Virtue (there are a number of ways to translate the title), to provide insight
for leading in a collective manner. Three examples from his writings illustrate the
leader and group roles in collective work, the mindset and introspection that facil-
itate collective work, and the leadership processes that promote collective work.

In the first example from the chapter “Beyond Techniques,” Lao Tzu described
the interconnectedness of leader and group roles:

The group members need the leader for guidance and facilitation. The leader
needs people to work with, people to serve. If both do not recognize the
mutual need to love and respect one another, each misses the point. They miss
the creativity of the student-teacher polarity. They do not see how things hap-
pen. (Heider, 1985, p. 53)

In the second example, Lao Tzu focused on the mind-set and introspection that
facilitate collective work. He posed several compelling questions in his teachings on
unbiased leadership to guide the work of individuals in leader roles:

Can you mediate emotional issues without taking sides or picking favorites?

Can you breathe freely and remain relaxed even in the presence of passionate
fears and desires?

Are your own conflicts clarified? Is your own house clean?

Can you be gentle with all factions and lead the group without dominating?

Can you remain open and receptive, no matter what issues arise?

Can you know what is emerging, yet keep your peace while others discover
for themselves?

Learn to lead in a nourishing manner.

Learn to lead without being possessive.

Learn to be helpful without taking the credit.

Learn to lead without coercion.

You can do this if you remain unbiased, clear, and down-to-earth. (Heider,
1985, p. 19)

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 61

In the third example from the chapter “Being a Midwife,” Lao Tzu explained the
leadership processes that support collective work:

The wise leader does not intervene unnecessarily. The leader’s presence is felt, but
often the group runs itself. . . . Imagine that you are a midwife; you are assisting
at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happen-
ing rather than what you think ought to be happening. If you must take the lead,
lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge. When the baby is
born, the mother will rightly say: “We did it ourselves!” (Heider, 1985, p. 33)

Current leadership structures, such as self-directed work teams, team leadership,
and leader as coach, mentor, or trainer, use collective capacity to enhance the orga-
nization and its members. The following story of Johnsonville Sausage Company
provides a prime example of how an Eastern-oriented, collective leadership philos-
ophy translates in a Western business environment.

Ralph Stayer, former chief executive officer (CEO) of Johnsonville Foods,
became dissatisfied with the traditional hierarchical leadership model that he estab-
lished at Johnsonville Sausage Company, even though the company was successful
by all standard business indicators (Belasco & Stayer, 1993; Peters &Video Publishing
House, 1988). Stayer discovered that Johnsonville could not become the exemplary
organization he envisioned because his form of leadership did not allow company
members to use their intellect, talents, and abilities fully. Instead, employees waited
for him, the leader, to tell them what to do and when to do it. After engaging in
mindful questioning and introspection (similar to Lao Tzu’s unbiased leadership),
Stayer realized that he, not his employees, was the problem. He began to restructure
the company using a leadership philosophy that mirrored Lao Tzu’s teachings in
“Being a Midwife.” Stayer’s new thinking changed the leader-member roles and dis-
tribution of power in the company as follows:

• Leaders transfer ownership for work to those who execute the work.
• Leaders create the environment for ownership where each person wants to be

• Leaders coach the development of personal capabilities.
• Leaders learn fast themselves and encourage others also to learn quickly.

(Belasco & Stayer, 1993, p. 19)

Stayer brought in instructors to teach team members the functions previously
performed by middle managers and changed the role of middle manager from boss
to coach, mentor, and teacher. In a company of sausage workers, not technology
specialists, he restructured the organization into self-directed work teams that
made their own decisions; hired, evaluated, and fired their own team members; set
their team’s schedules; managed their own budget; and rotated team leader and
team member roles. Like Lao Tzu’s analogy in “Being a Midwife,” members of
Johnsonville could truly say, “We did it ourselves.”

Anyone in the company could propose new ideas or business ventures. In his video
The Leadership Alliance, Peters (Peters &Video Publishing House, 1988) told the story
of how Ralph Stayer’s administrative assistant came to him with a business startup


idea for a Johnsonville sausage catalog business. Stayer replied, “Fine with me,” and
the administrative assistant started a successful new business for the company.

Johnsonville Sausage Company became a learning organization with incentive
and reward structures tied to learning. This was no easy transition. One former
middle manager, now coach, commented, “We thought Ralph was losing it” (Peters
& Video Publishing Company, 1988). Over time, members of the organization,
including Stayer, continued to learn and use collective or collaborative leadership to
develop their capabilities and the innovative and adaptive capacity of Johnsonville.
The company remains a successful and thriving business.

Ubuntu Leadership

The philosophy of ubuntu leadership comes from traditional African concepts
of leadership and life as a collective function. Ubuntu means “a person can only be
a person through others” (Mikgoro, 1998). It exists only in the interaction between
people in groups and functions to sustain humanity and dignity. Ubuntu embod-
ies the belief that an individual’s most effective behavior occurs when he or she is
working toward the common good of the group. The indigenous concept of
ubuntu is being restored and infused into education, law, business, nonprofit orga-
nizations, and government in South Africa.

In organizations, leaders and members must integrate ubuntu into their processes,
structure, policies, and practices to benefit from this philosophy. Organizational
change occurs through interactive forums, collective value creation and clarification,
self-accountability for decisions and actions consistent with group values, account-
ability to each other, and community problem solving (Boon, 1996, pp. 88–124).

According to Boon (1996), critical organizational discussions take place in inter-
active forums where members of all departments, sections, or teams work collec-
tively to create the values that will govern the organization. The forums occur
regularly and serve to build trust and meaningful relationships among participants.
Members identify and develop consensus on the core values and work to narrow
the gray areas in a manner similar to adaptive work. Participants consider the open-
ness, interaction, and integrity of the process as important as the outcome.

The group’s value consensus provides a basis for members to exercise self-
accountability and accountability to each other. Members of the organization also
handle serious matters, such as a lack of accountability or a values conflict, as a
community rather than through a single leader. If it is impossible or impractical to
hold an interactive forum, individuals can choose to have a group of elected elders
act on their behalf to resolve the problem (Boon, 1996, pp. 117–118). Elders must
examine each situation in relation to core values. They are accountable to their col-
leagues and can take any action they deem appropriate. Ultimately, the use of
ubuntu in organizations results in a collective process of leadership and change that
holds all members of the group responsible and accountable.

Invisible Leadership

Sorenson and Hickman’s (2002) concept of invisible leadership proposes a col-
lective form of leadership that can spur teleological, dialectical, and chaos/complexity

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 63

forms of change and may be useful in the startup, growth (adolescence), or revital-
ization phases of life-cycle change. Invisible leadership “occurs when individuals,
without regard for recognition or visibility, are motivated to take action by a pas-
sionate commitment to achieve a common purpose that is greater than the [group]
members’ individual self-interest and, in certain cases, even greater than the group’s
overall self-interest” (Hickman, 2004, p. 751). Sorenson and Hickman used the term
charisma of purpose to refer to the dedication to a powerful purpose as the motivat-
ing force for people to take action and even give up personal needs or safety.

The researchers identify several interconnected components of invisible

• A compelling common purpose that draws people who have deep commit-
ment to its intent. (This purpose does not appear magically but forms as the
result of a cumulative set of events or ideas.)

• Individuals who are driven by their passionate commitment and ownership
of the purpose and a willingness to take the necessary action to achieve it.

• An opportunity (event) or resource (human or intellectual capital) that
makes collective action toward the purpose possible.

• The self-agency to act on behalf of the common purpose even in the face of
sacrifice or fear.

• A readiness to use individual strengths in leader or follower roles with or
without visible recognition.

• The willingness to rise above self-interest, when necessary, for the sake of the
group’s common purpose. (Hickman, 2004, p. 751)

Sorenson and Hickman (2002) cited the example of the Orpheus Chamber
Orchestra as one illustration of invisible leadership at work in an organizational
setting. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is a conductorless ensemble founded on
the belief that musicians can create extraordinary music when an orchestra uses the
full talents and creativity of every member (Seifter, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, &
Economy, 2001). Instead of a traditional conductor, the musicians use a democra-
tic leadership process in which leader and follower roles are fluid and rotating, per-
mitting members of the ensemble to share equally in the group’s leadership. All the
while, the group’s leadership remains invisible to the public. The driving force of
the orchestra is its common purpose:

Above all, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is marked by our passionate dedica-
tion to our mission. That passion drives every musical and business decision
that we make. Our organization’s mission isn’t imposed from above, but is
determined—and constantly refined—by the members themselves. (Seifter &
Economy, 2001, p. 16)

Team and E-Leadership

Contemporary organizations accomplish a great deal of their work, including
leading change, in teams, a phenomenon known as team leadership. Forsyth (2006)
indicated that teams have several basic qualities:


• Interaction: Teams create, organize, and sustain group behavior. Teams focus
primarily on task-oriented activity, because they are based in workplaces, and
their members are paid to address work-related concerns. Teams also pro-
mote relationship-sustaining interactions.

• Interdependence: Team members’ interactions are cooperative and coordi-
nated. Members work together, combining their individual inputs in a delib-
erate way.

• Structure: Teams are structured groups. Group norms, members’ specific
roles in the group, and communication patterns are often explicitly stated.

• Goals: Teams are goal oriented. Teammates’ interdependence is based on the
coordination of actions in pursuit of a common goal

• Cohesiveness: Teams are typically cohesive, particularly in the sense that their
members are united in their efforts to pursue a common goal. (pp. 160–161)

Organizations have discovered that the collective or collaborative capabilities of
teams typically result in more creative and productive outcomes than individual
work. In fact, team effectiveness depends on the ability of team members to develop
strong collaborative abilities (Hill, 2007, p. 220). The widespread use of teams in
organizations is changing the concept and authority structures of leadership from
leader-centered to group-centered processes (Yukl, 2006, p. 342). Like the Johnsonville
Sausage Company, organizations that embrace group-centered leadership in teams
transform the role of leader to consultant, teacher, coach, and facilitator because
task, decision-making, control, and other functions are shared in the group. Group-
centered leadership is not the model used in all cases. There are a number of
reasons why some organizations and teams use a leader-centered rather than team-
centered approach: The leader resists sharing control, lacks trust and confidence in
the capabilities of group members, lacks adequate interpersonal skills to deal with
emotional or relational issues among team members, fears appearing weak or
incompetent, or encounters obstacles and constraints, including temporary teams
with short timeframes, traditional rituals or procedures, and legal requirements in
charters and bylaws (Yukl, 2006, pp. 342–343).

Teams lead change as part of an organizational initiative or a team-generated
initiative, or both, in alignment with organizational vision, mission, and values. In
complex organizational settings, leading change in teams requires that organiza-
tions consistently develop adaptive capacity (as described earlier) throughout all
their teams so that they can act individually and collectively to meet the challenges
and opportunities of a dynamic external environment.

An underlying assumption of most mid- to late 20th leadership theories is that
leadership and change will occur in face-to-face (FTF) situations. In reality, organiza-
tional members use technology to varying degrees in their leadership interactions, a
phenomenon known as e-leadership. Avolio and Kahai (2003) pointed out that
“e-leadership takes place in a context where work is mediated by information tech-
nology,” and, as a result, leader-follower communication and information collection
and dissemination take place through this medium (p. 326). E-leadership is defined
as “a social influence process mediated by AIT [advanced information technology] to
produce a change in attitudes, feelings, thinking, behavior, and/or performance with
individuals, groups, and/or organizations” (Avolio, Kahai, & Dodge, 2000, p. 617).

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 65

Much of the research on e-leadership focuses on virtual teams. Virtual teams are
geographically dispersed, often across time zones or countries, and may bring
together members with diverse expertise, capabilities, and cultural backgrounds from
one or more organizations or sections to work toward a common goal. Virtual or
e-leadership facilitates collaborative work that generally would not be feasible or cost
effective without information technology. Does leadership by means of information
technology create a new form or concept of leadership? The answer is possibly.

A small body of emerging research seems to indicate that e-leadership, by neces-
sity, relies on the collective capabilities of team members to varying degrees and
requires team members to be reasonably self-directed. Avolio and Kahai (2003)
provided insights from various contributors to a special issue of Organizational
Dynamics about the impact of a virtual medium and context on leadership. Several
factors suggested by the contributors point to the possibility that e-leadership may
have components that are unique to virtual versus FTF concepts of leadership:

• Virtual team leadership is expressed through the interplay of team members
and technology and is not under the control of any one person.

• E-leadership requires virtual team leaders and members to project some level
of “telepresence.” This means that they must use the technology to convey a
sense of themselves and a sense of “being there” to members of the team. At
the same time, certain technology often removes the influence that identifi-
able characteristics, such as age, ethnicity or race, physical appearance and
abilities, and gender, may have on leaders and members.

• If “information is power,” then e-leadership alters the power dynamics in the
leader-follower or leader-team member relationship. E-leadership alters the
patterns of how information is acquired, stored, interpreted, and dissemi-
nated, which broadens access to information and changes what people know,
how people are influenced and by whom, and how decisions are made in

• There are certain leader behaviors that are likely to enhance a virtual team’s
ability to function together: virtual collaborative skills, virtual socialization
skills, and virtual communication.

• The software employed by virtual groups, such as groupware (software that
helps members of groups or teams in different locations to work collectively),
can potentially take on roles in teams, including leadership roles. (Avolio &
Kahai, 2003, pp. 327, 332–336)

Stace, Holtham, and Courtney (2001) reported similar findings in their prelim-
inary field research on e-change and concluded, “It is unarguable that the tech-
nologies of the E-revolution have led to a greater democratization of the workplace”
(p. 412). They acknowledge that multichannel corporations (called bricks and clicks
companies because they conduct business using physical and electronic sites or
channels) are more likely to use directive-change processes mixed with some con-
sultative processes (p. 412). The researchers predict that over time, multichannel
corporations will move increasingly toward consultative-change processes due to
the expectations, education, and skills of younger generation workers, who look for


involvement as a precondition of organizational membership. They view the
e-revolution as a movement that “appears to be pushing the boundaries of change
upward to more collaborative and consultative approaches and outward to more
transformative modes of change” (p. 414).

Prospects for Collective or Collaborative Leadership

The emergent concepts of collective or collaborative leadership require consid-
erably more theory building, research, and insight from praxis. Adaptive leadership
may help organizations learn and benefit from the embedded conflict in dialectical
change and complexity that challenge previous ways of thinking, interacting, and
organizing. The development of adaptive, invisible, team, and virtual leadership
concepts and of modified forms of Tao and Ubuntu leadership holds considerable
promise for advancing chaos, complexity, dialectical, and teleological change.

An increasing number of research studies provide insight into collective
leadership as an organization-wide phenomenon. For example, Denis, Lamothe,
and Langley (2001) drew on a study of five public health-care organizations in
Canada to develop a process model of collective leadership. Their study examined
strategic leadership (to be described later in this chapter) as a collective process of
“executive leadership teams,” rather than leadership by a single CEO. They wanted
to discover how collective leadership operates to achieve deliberate change in situ-
ations where leadership roles are shared, objectives are divergent, and power is dif-
fuse (p. 809). The researchers identified six components concerning collective
leadership and change:

1. Major substantive change in pluralistic organizations is more likely to be
established under unified collective leadership in which each member of a
“leadership constellation”plays a distinct role and all members work together
harmoniously. . . . A team assembling a variety of skills, expertise, and
sources of influence and legitimacy [can achieve the type of substantive
change that is not feasible for a single leader].

2. Unified collective leadership is necessary but is always fragile in a context of
diffuse power and multiple objectives, where leaders rule at least partly by the
consent of the led. . . . A [leadership] constellation [can] be shattered by
internal rivalry . . . , dislocation from its organizational base . . . , or [lack of
ability to adapt] to the needs of the environment.

3. Change in pluralistic organizations tends to occur in a cyclical manner in which
opposing pressures are reconciled sequentially rather than simultaneously.

4. The effect of leaders’ actions on their political positions drives cycles of
change. [Leaders must consider the effect of two competing forces on their
political positions—promoting the aspirations of their organization and its
stakeholders (credibility enhancing) and offering concessions that support
the leadership constellation and satisfy their stakeholders, while refraining
from offering too many concessions (credibility draining).]

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 67

5. Despite the presence of opposing forces, four factors can contribute in dif-
ferent ways to the stabilization of change in a pluralistic setting: slack [suffi-
cient resources]; social embeddedness [leaders’ involvement in interconnected
social networks where they have implicit knowledge of how things are done];
creative opportunism [the ability to create win-win situations for organiza-
tions in the constellation]; and time [for the change to occur], inattention
[from other organizational members for a while], and [protection of the
leaders’] formal position.

6. Increased pluralism [intensifies] the need for counterbalancing sources of stabil-
ity, such as slack, social embeddedness, creative opportunism, and time, inat-
tention, and formal position. . . . [In several organizations in the study,] extreme
pluralism add[ed] to the difficulty of forming unified leadership constellations
because no group [could] unite all sources of power, expertise, and legitimacy
and still remain grounded in its own organizational base. (pp. 833–834)

Subsequent studies can build on the findings of this research to examine collec-
tive leadership as a phenomenon of the whole organization. Denis et al. (2001)
acknowledged that their study focused more narrowly on leadership elites, “albeit
collective elites”; however, they see great potential for broadening the research and
practice of collective leadership to include people and processes at all levels of the
organization (p. 835). In the meantime, their study provides a viable connection
between organization-wide collective leadership and strategic leadership.

Strategic Leadership

Theoretical literature on strategic leadership primarily emerged from studying
the roles of executive leaders and senior management teams in highly competitive
and turbulent environments (Hunt, 2004, p. 40). Strategic leadership adapts and
changes the patterns, aims, behaviors, and capabilities of an organization as a whole
so that it thrives in an increasingly turbulent and competitive environment (Boal,
2004, pp. 1498–1499). Strategic leaders are “responsible for knowing the organiza-
tion’s environment, considering what it might be like in 5 or 10 years, and setting a
direction for the future that everyone can believe in” (Daft & Lane, 2005, p. 510).

Strategic leadership seems most compatible with teleological and dialectical
change. Participants involved in teleological change create their own goals (social
construction) and reach consensus internally; however, this process often incorpo-
rates strategic analysis and goal setting due to the context of 21st century environ-
ments. In the Technology Solutions case, for example, the company president and
senior managers employed strategic leadership while initiating purposeful change
in direction, goals, and product innovation (teleological change). They assessed the
company’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to changes in the highly competi-
tive external environment and then implemented new initiatives and strategies. The
adaptive capacity of Technology Solutions was clearly challenged by changing the
company’s focus from in-house consulting to workforce outsourcing, forming
business groups for newly targeted markets, hiring employees with expertise in new
market areas, and laying off employees without capabilities in the new areas. This


change in strategic direction, though difficult, allowed the company to survive
rather than meet impending demise.

Strategic leadership can advance dialectical change through actions such as
direct challenge to competitors through new-product innovation (e.g., Apple vs.
IBM), elimination or absorption of competitors (buying or taking over other com-
panies), or collaboration with other organizations in joint ventures. Effective use of
strategic leadership during dialectical change requires that participants develop
resilience, flexibility, and multiple strategies to handle outcomes (synthesis) from
conflicting goals and perspectives in the external environment.

The concept of strategic leadership has gained rapid acceptance among organiza-
tional leaders and provides an engaging area of research for leadership scholars. Hunt
(2004) suggested a need for more research on underlying explanatory factors in
strategic leadership and more emphasis on several promising new research thrusts,
including absorptive capacity—the ability to learn by recognizing, assimilating, and
applying new information; adaptive capacity—strategic flexibility and the ability to
change in highly competitive and erratic conditions; and managerial wisdom—the
ability to perceive variation in the environment, understand social actors and their
relationships, and take the right action at a critical moment (pp. 40–41).

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership motivates others to do more than they originally
intended or thought possible (Bass & Riggio, 2006, p. 4). Leaders motivate followers
“by (1) making them more aware of the importance of task outcomes; (2) induc-
ing them to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the organization or
team; (3) activating their higher-order needs” (Yukl, 2006, p. 262). Transformational
leadership components, commonly known as the four I’s, inspire participants to
achieve high performance levels:

• Idealize Influence (II)—Followers see leaders as role models they admire,
respect, and trust, and, consequently, want to emulate the leader’s high stan-
dards and ethical behavior;

• Inspirational Motivation (IM)—Leaders involve followers in envisioning an
attractive future state or compelling vision; they provide meaningful, chal-
lenging work and communicate clear expectations that encourage followers’
commitment to the shared vision and goals (charisma);

• Intellectual Stimulation (IS)—Leaders stimulate followers to be innovative
and creative by questioning assumptions, reframing problems, and
approaching old situations in new ways; and

• Individualized Consideration (IC)—Leaders provide special attention, support,
and encouragement to foster growth and achievement of followers through
individualized mentoring and coaching. (Bass & Riggio, 2006, pp. 6–7)

Transformational leadership is well suited for teleological and dialectical change
because it stimulates the creativity, innovation, and critical thinking of followers
(IS) and inspires commitment to a compelling common vision. An essential goal of

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 69

transformational leadership is to encourage growth and achievement in followers
(IC), often with the intent of developing followers into transformational leaders.
The development component (IC) of transformational leadership increases the
capabilities of followers to meet the turbulent and competitive conditions that
accompany dialectical and teleological change.

Transformational leadership permeated the work environment at Technology
Solutions. The charismatic president was an admired and respected role model, full
of energy and inspiration and able to engage company members in fun, intellectual
stimulation and meaningful work. Individual coaching and mentoring were funda-
mental practices throughout the company. The company president was essentially
able to sustain transformational leadership during and after the economic down-
turn that triggered both teleological and dialectical change. Still, a third of the com-
pany members felt betrayed and alienated by the consecutive layoffs and change in
vision, direction, and employee competencies to save the company.

Did the company president exhibit authentic transformational leadership dur-
ing the difficult times in the company? Were there leadership concepts, decision-
making processes, and actions that would have changed or reduced the alienation
and feelings of betrayal among some company members? Did the company presi-
dent maximize use of the collective intellect of a creative, innovative, and highly
educated employee group in the decision-making and change processes (discussed
further in a later section on empowerment)?

Bass and Riggio (2006) cited research conducted by Nystrom and Starbuck
that found in crisis situations, such as the one Technology Solutions faced, trans-
formational leaders convert crises into challenges by questioning assumptions,
identifying opportunities, and focusing on new ways of thinking and doing things
(p. 77):

It is important for the leaders themselves to believe they face a challenging
problem rather than a crisis. They are more open to ideas and suggestions
from their subordinates. More effective decisions are reached as a conse-
quence. . . . [T]hose managers who thought they were in a challenging situa-
tion were most likely to explore and incorporate subordinates’ views into their
own. They were most likely to integrate their subordinates’ opposing opinions
into their own decisions, and they indicated most often the desire to hear more
arguments. (pp. 78–79)

Irving Janis’s (1982) well-known study of groupthink (when groups avoid or
censor pertinent ideas and information in decision making to preserve group cohe-
siveness) substantiates the importance of the intellectual stimulation (IS) compo-
nent of transformational leadership in decision making. He examined inherent
problems in cases where groupthink led to inadequate or disastrous decisions. To
improve the quality of decisions, Janis advised groups to use effective decision-
making techniques by generating alternative scenarios and assessing their pros and
cons, limiting premature seeking of concurrence, and correcting misperceptions
and biases (Forsyth, 2006, pp. 364–366).


The Technology Solutions case does not provide details concerning how the
president presented the company’s situation or handled decision making with
organizational members, but the case raises the kinds of questions and issues that
can help organizational leaders and members choose a course of action and exam-
ine possible consequences for internal and external stakeholders.

Charismatic Leadership

Charisma is an integral factor in leadership theory—most essentially in trans-
formational leadership theory. Charisma is the inspirational motivation (IM) com-
ponent of transformation leadership theory (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio, 1994; Bass
& Riggio, 2006). Additionally, scholars study charismatic leadership as a distinct
theory of leadership. They attribute charismatic leadership to individuals who, by
the power of their person, have profound and extraordinary effects on their fol-
lowers (Bass, 1985; Conger & Kanungo, 1988; House, 1977; Howell, 1990; Weber,
1947). It usually reflects perceptions by followers that the leader is endowed with
exceptional qualities (Yukl, 2006, p. 252). Several characteristics distinguish charis-
matic leaders: “their vision and values, rhetorical skills, ability to build a particular
kind of image in the hearts and minds of their followers, and personalized style of
leadership” (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2006, p. 412).

Critics of transformational and charismatic leadership warn against the poten-
tial dark side of these theories wherein leaders become manipulative, self-serving,
or authoritarian to exploit followers and fail to entrust followers with genuine
power (empowerment). In response to these criticisms, Bass and Riggio (2006)
distinguished between authentic and inauthentic transformational leadership.
Authentic transformational leadership is morally uplifting and stimulates col-
leagues and followers to view their work from new perspectives; embrace the mis-
sion and vision of the team and organization; develop the ability and potential of
others; and motivate individuals to look beyond their own interests to concerns
that benefit the group. In contrast, inauthentic, or unethical, leadership is exploita-
tive, self-concerned, self-aggrandizing, and power oriented (pp. 12–14).

Charismatic leadership can activate teleological and dialectical change in orga-
nizations, especially in crisis conditions or turbulent environments. During teleo-
logical and dialectical change, the leader’s charisma engenders respect, trust, and
admiration from followers; inspires commitment to the organization’s vision and
goals; develops followers’ capabilities; and encourages high levels of performance.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership provides ongoing resources, support, and encouragement to
individuals engaged in the change process. Robert Greenleaf (2002), a renowned
AT&T executive, management consultant, and lecturer, believed that service to
followers was the primary responsibility of leaders. Service includes nurturing,
defending, and empowering followers by listening to them, learning about their
needs and aspirations, and being willing to share in their pain and frustrations

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 71

(Yukl, 2006, p. 420). Greenleaf (2002) provided certain criteria for successful ser-
vant leadership as follows:

The best test . . . is this: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being
served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely them-
selves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in
society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived? (p. 27)

Greenleaf (2002) insisted that businesses and other institutions that establish a
servant-leadership ethic of “people building” rather than “people using” ultimately
thrive as organizations and benefit society. Accordingly, servant leadership can apply
to organizations with inherent life-cycle stages where individuals or teams need sus-
tained resources and support to meet the challenges of an external approval process.
The people-building focus of servant leadership may help organizations prevent the
decline or extinction stages of life-cycle change. It can also support participants as
they modify their organization’s traits, structure, or functions in keeping with evo-
lutionary change and development in organizational structure or behavior.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership “occurs when one person takes the initiative in making
contact with others for the purpose of an exchange of valued things” (Burns, 1978,
p. 19). Leadership occurs through a social exchange process. James MacGregor Burns
pointed out that the substance of this exchange may be economic, political, or psy-
chological in nature and each participant is aware of the power resources and atti-
tudes of the other.

Transactional leaders use either contingent rewards (CR) or management-by-
exception (MBE) to encourage higher levels of performance from followers,
according to the full-range-of-leadership model (Avolio, 1999, pp. 40–41, 49). The
full-range-of-leadership model expands the gamut of leadership styles by adding
the two components of transactional leadership (CR and MBE) and laissez-faire
(LF), or inactive leadership, behaviors to the four components of transformational
leadership (detailed in a later section in this chapter). CR consists of positive
exchanges where followers anticipate rewards, such as performance bonuses, more
autonomy over their work, a promotion, favor with senior managers, or telework-
ing privileges. Regarded as less effective than managing through the use of contin-
gent rewards,MBE is a corrective transaction wherein leaders, regardless of whether
they have been passive observers or active monitors of their followers’ activities,
step in and take corrective action when they discover that their followers have made
mistakes. LF leadership is a passive style that demonstrates a lack of involvement or
transaction with followers. Research findings indicate that LF is the most ineffective
form of leadership, though it can apply in situations where the leader has no stake
or reason to be involved with matters between followers (Bass & Riggio, 2006,
p. 208). Avolio (1999) explained that in the full-range-of-leadership model, leaders
exhibit each style to some degree, but leaders with more optimal profiles seldom
use LF leadership (pp. 38–39).


Transactional leadership supports life-cycle and evolutionary change when
individuals or teams can readily see what they will gain in exchange for their
meaningful participation or performance in the change process. It can provide
incentives during life-cycle change, especially in the startup, growth, or revitaliza-
tion stages. Transactional leadership is more effective generally in relatively stable
or incrementally changing environments that accompany life-cycle and evolution-
ary change, rather than in unstable or turbulent environments (Bass & Riggio,
2006, pp. 87–89). Burns (1978) contended that this form of leadership is effective
when each person in the exchange is treated with respect as a person and gains his
or her desired outcome (p. 19). Burns warned that the outcome of this reciprocal
transaction will not bind leaders and followers together in the long-term pursuit
of a higher purpose (p. 20), specifically, because there is no strong commitment to
a moral purpose.

Contingency Theories of Leadership

Contingency Theory

Contingency theory “maintains that leadership effectiveness is maximized when
leaders correctly make their behaviors contingent on certain situational and fol-
lower characteristics” (Hughes et al., 2006, p. 361). According to Fred Fiedler
(1964), contingency theory maintains that effective leadership is a good fit among
three variables: the leader and followers—leader-member relations; the task—
degree of task structure; and the power inherent in the position—leader position
power (pp. 158–161). Although there are several prominent contingency theories
that may be applicable to leading change, this section of the chapter focuses on two
that seem most relevant—path-goal theory and task-relations-and-change theory.

Path-Goal Theory

The aim of leadership in path-goal theory (Evans, 1973; House & Mitchell, 1975;
Vroom, 1964) is to influence the satisfaction, motivation, and performance of par-
ticipants. Similar to transactional leadership, there is the promise of valued rewards
(the goal) for followers who achieve the desired performance or objective. Path-
goal theory adds a factor to transactional leadership given that leaders help follow-
ers find the best way (the path) to attain an objective. The theory identifies four
leader behaviors for various situations:

• Supportive leadership: Giving consideration to the needs of participants, dis-
playing concern for their welfare, and creating a friendly climate in the work
unit. Situation: When the task is stressful, boring, tedious, or dangerous.

• Directive leadership: Letting participants know what they are expected to do,
giving specific guidance, asking participants to follow rules and procedures,
and scheduling and coordinating the work. Situation: When the task is
unstructured, participants are inexperienced, and there is little formalization
of rules and procedures to guide the work.

CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 73

• Participative leadership: Consulting with participants and taking their opin-
ions and suggestions into account. Situation: When the task is unstructured,
this behavior increases role clarity.

• Achievement-oriented leadership: Setting challenging goals, seeking perfor-
mance improvements, emphasizing excellence in performance, and showing
confidence that participants will attain high standards. Situation: When the
task is unstructured (i.e., complex and non-repetitive), this behavior increases
self-confidence and expectation of successfully accomplishing task. (Hughes
et al., 2006, pp. 378–385)

Contingency theories imply that there is one type of leadership for each situa-
tion, yet the complexity of change in contemporary organizations requires that
leaders use several behaviors, often at the same time. In this environmental context,
it makes sense to use the leadership behaviors in path-goal theory in an adaptable
manner. Path-goal leadership may facilitate life-cycle change as participants strive
to meet certain prescribed objectives (e.g., in the Food and Drug Administration
approval process); teleological change as participants increase organizational via-
bility through purposely enacted goals (e.g., Technology Solutions’ new direction);
and evolutionary change as participants adopt prevailing organizational and busi-
ness structures or processes (e.g., moving from individual work to teamwork).
Given the influx of knowledge workers and the use of teams in contemporary work
settings, adaptive uses of path-goal leadership make joint endeavors between leaders
and participants and participant-driven processes viable for life-cycle, teleological,
and evolutionary change.

Task-Relations-and-Change Theory

The task-relations-and-change model is a three-factor taxonomy of leadership
effectiveness that adds change behaviors to the traditional contingency theories.
The framework provides greater adaptability of leader behaviors in complex situa-
tions and departs from the “one behavior for each situation” or mutually exclusive
contingency approaches. Yukl, Gordon, and Taber (2002) used a half century of
theories and research on leadership effectiveness and incorporated specific change-
oriented behaviors to develop a questionnaire. Their survey results identified three
meta-categories of interrelated behaviors: task behaviors—short-term planning,
clarifying responsibilities and performance objectives, monitoring operations and
performance; relations behaviors—supporting, developing, recognizing, consult-
ing, and empowering; and change behaviors—external monitoring, envisioning
change, encouraging innovative thinking, and taking personal risks to implement
change (Yukl, Gordon, & Taber, 2002, p. 18).

Yukl et al. (2002) incorporated definitions of change behaviors, along with well-
established descriptions of task and relationship behaviors:

Envisioning change: presenting an appealing description of desirable outcomes
that can be achieved by the unit, describing a proposed change with great enthu-
siasm and conviction.


Taking risks for change: taking personal risks and making sacrifices to encourage
and promote desirable change in the organization.

Encouraging innovative thinking: challenging people to question their assump-
tions about the work and consider better ways to do it.

External monitoring: analyzing information about events, trends, and changes in
the external environment to identify threats and opportunities for the organiza-
tional unit. (p. 25)

The inclusion of change behaviors in this taxonomy facilitates connections between
concepts of change and concepts of leadership. Like path-goal theory, task-relations-
and-change theory may advance life-cycle, teleological, and evolutionary change. Its
change component, unlike that in path-goal theory, introduces essential leadership
behaviors for dealing with forces in an organization’s external environment. For
instance, leaders and members in the Technology Solutions case implemented inten-
tional (teleological) change primarily in response to real threats and opportunities in
the company’s external environment. The president and other participants exhibited
the change behaviors described in task-relations-and-change leadership to meet
changing client demands, create new products and services, and stabilize the business.

Task-relations-and-change leadership can also help participants in dialectical
change build adaptive capacity using leadership behaviors such as risk taking, inno-
vative thinking, and external monitoring. These leadership behaviors may be espe-
cially useful for responding to the antithesis and synthesis components of dialectical
change.While task-relations-and-change leadership addresses change behaviors, few
leadership theories address explicitly the conflict elements of dialectical change.


The leadership component of change is a collective process in which no single form
or concept of leadership will accomplish the change organizational members wish
to achieve. Instead, a compilation of leadership concepts that guide action will
better position organizations to deal with both external and internal requirements
of change. Change that requires interaction between the organization and its exter-
nal environment may require strategic, transactional, and charismatic leadership,
whereas internal leadership may entail adaptive, ubuntu, team, and invisible
leadership. Multiple combinations are possible in most change processes. The need
for an ensemble of leadership approaches means that organizations must prepare
and rely on people throughout the company, agency, or nongovernmental organi-
zation to assume leadership in the change process.


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CHAPTER 3 Concepts of Leadership in Organizational Change 77





Stages of change
Scenario building

Appreciative inquiry



Change Practices

Which Practices Do We
Employ to Implement Change?

The focus of considerable scholarship on leading change stems from studies of
change practices in organizations. Researchers strive to determine which practices
generate the most effective processes and outcomes. This section highlights several
categories of practice—collective or collaborative approaches, strategic planning
and goal setting, stages of praxis, and ethical practices—and links them to concepts
of organizational change and leadership. Additionally, several practices including
environmental scanning (periodic or continuous), scenario planning, and scenario
building help to address several questions raised earlier in the chapter about the
environment. Which primary factors or indicators in the environment are impor-
tant to organizational well-being and survival? What are the indicators? How do
organizational leaders and members proceed in this environment?

Collective/Collaborative Approaches

The literature on organizational leadership and change includes a small and dif-
fuse body of research on collective or collaborative change approaches. Included in
this category are institutionalized-leadership and change practices, organizational
learning, and empowerment or shared power. These practices are interrelated and
mutually reinforcing, as indicated in Figure 4.1. They function to support teleolog-
ical, dialectical, and chaos/complexity change in conjunction with collective con-
cepts of leadership.



Institutionalized-Leadership and Change Practices

O’Toole (2001) and his colleagues surveyed more than 3,000 leaders at various
organizational levels in 10 large companies in Asia, Europe, and North America.
They also interviewed 20–40 of the individuals who completed the survey from
each company. O’Toole discovered that companies with the highest collective
leadership capacity used systems that used institutionalized-leadership and change
practices throughout their organizations. “We found that there is something palpa-
bly different about a company that emphasizes building enabling systems versus
one that depends on a single personality at the top” (O’Toole, 2001, p. 168). Similar
to Kelley’s (1988) description of effective or exemplary followers, O’Toole (2001)
made the following discovery:

[People throughout these companies] act more like owners and entrepreneurs
than employees. . . . Take the initiative to solve problems. . . . Willingly accept

Shared Power/



Collective Practices

FIGURE 4.1 Collective/Collaborative Practices

accountability for meeting commitments and [living organizational val-
ues]. . . . Share a common philosophy and language of leadership. . . . [and]
create, maintain, and adhere to systems and procedures designed to measure
and reward . . . distributed leadership behaviors. (pp. 160–161)

Two major institutional practices when used together contributed to long-term
success: coherence and agility. Coherence encompasses the common behaviors that
are found throughout an organization and that are directed toward achieving the
organization’s goals, and agility represents the organization’s institutionalized abil-
ity to detect and cope with changes in the external environment, especially when
the changes are hard to predict (O’Toole, 2001, p. 167). O’Toole found that the suc-
cessful companies focused on building human capacity collectively rather than
relying on a small number of individuals to lead and change the organization.

O’Toole (2001) measured each organization’s effectiveness using 12 leadership

• Vision and strategy: Extent to which corporate strategy is reflected in goals
and behaviors at all levels.

• Goal setting and planning: Extent to which challenging goals are used to drive

• Capital allocation: Extent to which capital allocation decisions are objective
and systematic.

• Group measurement: Extent to which actual performance is measured against
established goals.

• Risk management: Extent to which the company measures and mitigates risk.
• Recruiting: Extent to which the company taps the best talent available.
• Professional development: Extent to which employees are challenged and

• Performance appraisal: Extent to which individual appraisals are used to

improve performance.
• Compensation: Extent to which financial incentives are used to drive desired

• Organizational structure: Extent to which decision-making authority is dele-

gated to lower levels.
• Communications: Extent to which management communicates the big picture.
• Knowledge transfer: Extent to which necessary information is gathered, orga-

nized, and disseminated. (p. 165)

The highest-performing companies intentionally selected specific systems to
emphasize and did not attempt to focus on all of the systems. To develop collective
capacity throughout the organization, leaders and members had to ensure that
their professional development, performance appraisal, and compensation systems
foster coherent practices. These practices ensure alignment among systems so that
a compensation system for project teams, for example, includes rewards for collab-
orative teamwork and does not unintentionally perpetuate competitive individual

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 81

Organizational Learning

Organizational learning is a process that adapts the organization and its members
to change in the external environment by encouraging experimentation and inno-
vation, continually renewing structures and practices, and using performance data
to assess and further develop the organization (London & Maurer, 2004, p. 244). The
Technology Solutions case in Chapter 2 shows the company’s emphasis on learning
and continuous self-development in its employees through sharing ideas to spark
new thoughts, seeking guidance from any member of the organization, and provid-
ing access to the newest and most innovative ideas possible.

Donald Schön (1971) was one of the early scholars to recognize the need for
organizational learning as a process to foster change collectively. He made the fol-
lowing contention:

[Organizational participants] must become able not only to transform our
institutions, in response to changing situations and requirements; we must
invent and develop institutions which are “learning systems,” that is to say, sys-
tems capable of bringing about their own continuous transformations. (p. 30)

Since Schön’s initial work, organizational-learning systems have become an inte-
gral component of the change literature. Senge (1990) popularized organizational
learning as a generative process that enhances the capacity of organizational par-
ticipants to create. He stated that five essential elements must develop as an ensem-
ble to create a fundamental learning organization:

• Personal mastery—continually clarifying and deepening personal vision,
focusing energies, developing patience, and seeing reality objectively;

• Mental models—changing ingrained assumptions, generalizations, pictures
and images of how the world works;

• Shared vision—unearthing shared “pictures of the future” that foster genuine

• Team learning—aligning and developing the capacity of a team to create the
results its members truly desire; and

• Systems thinking—integrating all the elements by fusing them into a coher-
ent body of theory and practice. (pp. 6–10)

Several theories and concepts of leadership incorporate learning as a part of
organizational development and change. Transformational, adaptive, and task-
relations-and-change leadership encourage organizational learning by similar means,
including challenging people to question assumptions; take risks; be innovative and
creative; reframe problems and cultivate new approaches; analyze information
about events, trends, and changes in the external environment; and then pursue
new opportunities, meet unknown conditions or threats, and solve problems.

According to Berson, Nemanich, Waldman, Galvin, and Keller (2006), the liter-
ature on organizational learning implies that leadership can influence learning
among organizational members and foster a learning culture. Individuals in
leadership roles need to develop three essential organizational characteristics to


facilitate a learning culture: participation—involvement of organizational
members in processes such as decision making, learning, inquiry, challenge, and the
creation of greater autonomy; openness—receptiveness to diverse ideas, tolerance,
and free flow of information; and psychological safety—freedom to take risks, trust,
and support (pp. 580–581).

Shared Power or Empowerment

Movement toward shared power or empowerment is a logical course of action
as organizations place greater reliance on the collective or collaborative capabil-
ities of their members to innovate and respond in turbulent or dynamic envi-
ronments. Shared power or empowerment entails two components: delegating
or distributing leadership, authority, responsibility, and decision-making power,
formally vested in senior executives, to individuals and teams throughout the
organization, and equipping organization members with the resources, knowl-
edge, and skills necessary to make good decisions (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy,
2006, p. 537).

Like the example of empowerment at Johnsonville Sausage Company, discussed
in Chapter 3, senior executives must examine themselves to determine whether they
are willing and ready to share power with employees as coleaders or partners in the
process of leading change. Inauthentic attempts at empowerment can be more
detrimental to organizational members than maintaining the status quo. Hughes
et al. (2006) indicated that “empowered employees have latitude to make decisions,
are comfortable making these decisions, believe what they do is important, and are
seen as influential members of their team” (p. 539). The authors further described
the following best practices for empowerment:

• having leaders in the organization decide whether the organization really
wants or needs empowerment;

• creating a clear vision, goals, and accountabilities;
• developing others (through coaching, forging a partnership, developing

knowledge and skills, promoting persistence, and transferring skills);
• delegating decision making to followers;
• leading by example; and
• making empowerment systemic—a strategic business practice that is rein-

forced in selection, performance appraisal, rewards, training, organizational
structure, and so on. (pp. 539–542)

Strategic Planning

Executive leaders initiate strategic planning as a part of their overall design to
adapt, change, and position the organization to thrive in a highly competitive and
turbulent environment. Strategic planning generally originates from the top and
involves members at various levels of the organization in certain components of the
process. In business settings, companies use strategic planning to establish and sus-
tain competitive advantage in their industry. Nonprofit and government agencies

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 83

also use strategic planning to provide intentional direction to their organizations
and adapt to external changes that affect their services and stakeholders.

Primary components of strategic planning include creating or updating the
vision and mission, conducting an environmental scan, setting strategic direction
using goals and strategies, and implementing and updating the plan. A vision,
much like a compass, points an organization toward its desired end goal, or “true
north.” It is a realistic, credible, and appealing future for the organization that sets
a clear direction; defines a more successful and desirable future; fits the organiza-
tion’s history, culture, and values; and reflects the aspirations and expectations of
major stakeholders (Miller & Dess, 1996; Nanus, 1992; Yukl, 2006). A good vision
links the present to the future, energizes people and garners commitment, gives
meaning to work, and establishes a standard of excellence (Daft & Lane, 2005,
p. 516). A mission is the tangible form of the vision that identifies the organization’s
purpose or reason for existing and identifies its uniqueness or distinctiveness
(Miller & Dess, 1996, p. 9).

The vision and mission serve as a base or foundation for planning the organiza-
tion’s future (teleological change), whereas the strategic component involves spe-
cific positioning of the organization for competitive advantage or effective service
delivery on the basis of factors outside the organization. Relying on multiple
sources and multiple disciplines or inputs, leaders and members use environmen-
tal scanning to gather information about trends in the external environment:

• Stakeholder analysis—an assessment of the expectations, wants, and needs of
all parties that have an interest or stake in the organization, including leaders,
team members, managers, employees, customers/clients, recipients of services,
and investors/shareholders, among others;

• Competitors’ activities—knowledge of competitors’ products, services, and
methodologies through benchmarking and other information-gathering

• Demographic changes—changes in the age, ethnic composition, growth, or
decline of the population;

• Social and lifestyle changes—women in the workforce, health and fitness
awareness, erosion of educational standards, spread of addictive drugs, con-
cern for the environment;

• Technological changes—advances in and use of all forms of technology;
• Economic changes—stock market indices, budget deficits, consumer-spending

patterns, inflation rates, interest rates, trade deficits, unemployment rates;
• Legislative/regulatory and political changes—changes in crime laws, environ-

mental protection laws, deregulation, antitrust enforcement, laws protecting
human rights and employment; and

• Global changes—economic alliances, changes in consumer tastes and prefer-
ences, economic development, international markets, and poverty and dis-
ease rates. (Dess, Lumpkin, & Eisner, 2008, pp. 19, 44–50, 380)

The executive leadership team uses information from the environmental scan to
determine the organization’s opportunities and threats along with its strengths and


weaknesses. On the basis of this analysis, the team identifies core competencies
(capabilities that combine expertise and application skills) in the organization,
evaluates whether there is a need for a major change in strategy, and identifies
promising strategies along with possible outcomes of each strategy (Yukl, 2006,
pp. 378–380). Frequently, a broad cadre of managers and members are invited to
participate in the strategy formulation process. Strategies represent desired states of
affairs that the organization wants to reach or end points toward which organiza-
tional efforts are directed (Daft & Lane, 2005, p. 526). They are the indicators of the
organization’s progress toward its vision, mission, and strategic direction.

Clearly, strategic leadership uses strategic-planning processes to bring about
strategic change in organizations. Strategic planning is also compatible with teleolog-
ical and dialectical change. As stated earlier, teleological change is constructed inter-
nally by leaders and members of the organization, yet this form of change cannot be
fully effective without considering the kind of information that the environmental-
scanning component of strategic planning highlights. Dialectical change can also
benefit from the environmental-scanning component of strategic planning, even
though strategic positioning may or may not be feasible in dialectical change.

Strategic planning is often a lengthy process in many organizations. With the
increasing pace and unique patterns of change in society, organizations will need
continuous scanning and highly participative processes with a broader base of
members (beyond executive levels) to determine appropriate action in the short
term while planning for the long term. The strategic-planning process may assume
a different structure or different characteristics in a less-predictable and less-
controlled environment of continuous change, experimentation, and learning. Some
communication scholars and practitioners suggest that planning strategically may
mean engaging in scenario planning—exploring possible outcomes of what could
happen in the future and planning for those possibilities (Ströh & Jaatinen, 2001,
p. 162). Scenario planning, similar to Peter Schwartz’s (see Chapter 1) concept of sce-
nario building, uses information from continuous-scanning processes to develop
and plan for probable scenarios, while keeping plans flexible and adjustable.

Stages of Praxis

Kurt Lewin (1951) provided some of the earliest research on stages of praxis in
organizational change. His force-field model identified three fundamental stages of
change: unfreezing—the stage where organizational participants recognize that
their old methods are no longer useful, often due to crises, threats, or new oppor-
tunities; changing—the phase where people seek new ways of doing things and
choose new approaches; and refreezing—the stage in which leaders and partici-
pants implement the new approaches and establish them in the organizational cul-
ture (Yukl, 2006, p. 286). Lewin’s earlier work provided a foundation for subsequent
models (Kanter, 1983b; Kanter, Stein, & Jick, 1992; Kotter, 1996; Nadler, Shaw, &
Walton, 1995) that expanded the stages, methods, and practices of organizational
change. Figure 4.2 compares Lewin’s three-stage model to a much later eight-stage
model developed by John Kotter (1996). Kotter’s model provides a fitting structure
for examining praxis shared by other familiar models.

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 85


The Unfreezing Stage

The purpose of unfreezing old ways of doing things (Lewin, 1951), establishing a
sense of urgency (Kanter et al., 1992; Kotter, 1996), or initiating a galvanizing event
(an action or situation that requires a change response) (Kanter, 1983a,
p. 22) is to draw attention to the critical need for organizational change. This sense of
urgency or galvanizing event may stem from a current or impending crisis. Yet it is
just as likely to come from the organization’s inability to adapt—that is, the ability of
its members to see and take action to address the gap between the current organiza-
tion and its need to modify or change its culture, structure, behaviors, and responsi-
bilities. According to Kotter (1996), this stage involves identifying and discussing
crises, potential crises, or major opportunities that may galvanize or inspire change
(p. 21). Crises include economic threats, like the situation at Technology Solutions;
competitive threats; changing markets; shifting demographics; or other changes in
the external or internal environment. A galvanizing event may present a crisis or
entail a new opportunity, such as launching new products; developing new markets,
innovations, or services; and interacting with stakeholders in new ways, such as
engaging in community volunteering or environmental sustainability programs.

Both crises and opportunities can create fresh or revitalized momentum in an
organization, especially when these crises or opportunities are acknowledged as

8. Anchoring new change
in the culture

7. Generating short-term wins
6. Consolidating gains and

producing more change
5. Empowering broad-based

4. Communicating the change

3. Developing a vision and
2. Creating the guiding

1. Establishing a sense of

Eight Stages of Change
(Kotter, 1996)

Stage 3—Refreeze

Stage 2—Change

Stage 1—Unfreezing

Force-Field Model:
Three Stages of Change

(Lewin, 1951)

FIGURE 4.2 Stages of Praxis

authentic by members of the organization. Many people fear change and resist
change efforts even in situations where a crisis or beneficial innovation is justified.
There are multiple reasons why members of organizations resist change:

1. Lack of trust—distrust of the people who propose the change;

2. Belief that change is unnecessary—satisfaction with the status quo and no
clear evidence of serious problems with the current way of doing things;

3. Belief that the change is not feasible—a view that the change is unlikely to
succeed, too difficult, or likely to fail like some previous efforts;

4. Economic threats—fear that the change may benefit the organization but
result in personal loss of income, benefits, or job security;

5. Relative high costs—concern that the cost of change may be higher than the
benefits due to loss of resources already invested in the current approach or
loss of performance as employees learn the new procedures and debug the
new system;

6. Fear of personal failure—organizational members’ reluctance to abandon
known skills or expertise and their insecurity about mastering new ways of
doing things;

7. Loss of status and power—fear of shifts in power for individuals or subunits
that may result in loss of status in the organization;

8. Threat to values and ideals—resistance to change that appears incompatible
with personal values or strongly held values embedded in the organization’s
culture; and

9. Resentment of interference—opposition of individuals to perceived control,
manipulation, or forced change by others in situations where they have no
choice or voice in the change. (Yukl, 2006, pp. 285–286)

Despite these fears, various organizations have implemented successful change
processes by using the stages approach with effective forms of leadership and change.

The Changing Phase

Lewin (1951) referred to the next stage simply as the changing phase; later schol-
ars (Kanter et al., 1992; Kotter, 1996; Nadler et al., 1995) defined several additional
stages in the changing phase. Specifically, Kotter delineated six stages—creating the
guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change
vision, empowering broad-based action, generating short-term wins, and consoli-
dating gains and producing more change (p. 21).

Creating the guiding coalition involves putting together a group with enough
power to lead the change and getting the group to work together as a team. This
group could comprise the tags, described earlier as members of the organization
who lead with or without authority, often in a temporary capacity, to influence

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 87

people and the processes of meaning making, cooperation, and action taking. They
have the kind of influence that moves others to action through their facilitation of
cooperation, interaction, and resonance among individuals involved in change or
adaptive processes.

Developing a vision and strategy relates to the processes described in strategic
planning or creating an image of a realistic, credible, and appealing future for the
organization that energizes people, inspires commitment, gives meaning to work,
and establishes a standard of excellence. The guiding coalition then develops a
strategy to achieve the vision.

Communicating change1 requires that change leaders use every vehicle possible
to communicate constantly the new vision and strategies to organizational
members and model the behavior expected of employees. In four case studies of
planned change, the researcher concluded that “creating [and communicating]
vision, maintaining buy-in to mission, sense-making and feedback, establishing
legitimacy, and communicating goal achievement” are essential elements for main-
taining commitment to organizational change (Lewis, 2000, p. 151).

Ströh and Jaatinen (2001) suggested that single incidents of change, such as a
crisis, require different approaches to communication than do continuous changes
(p. 159). They caution that technical communication channels, such as newsletters,
electronic and face-to-face updates, or annual reports, are good but not sufficient
in organizations where continuous change is a way of life. Effective communication
channels need to be consciously embedded and facilitated in the continuous change
process through dialogue, relationship building, diversity of ideas, and participative
decision making for change (p. 159).

The use of dialogue, discourse, or conversation is a prominent theme in the lit-
erature on communicating change (Ford & Ford, 1995; Heracleous & Barrett, 2001;
Jabri, 2004; Kellett, 1999). Kellett (1999) pointed out that creating collaborative
learning through dialogue is one approach to generating continuous and inten-
tional change in organizations (p. 211). Creating dialogic conversations is an inten-
tional process with fundamental characteristics and guidelines:

• Dialogue provides a “container” for collective thinking with dedicated time to
allow the process to emerge;

• The purpose of dialogue is to create thoughtful exchange, generate mutual
understanding, make assumptions explicit, and take action with regard to the
issues people care about and need to discuss;

• The spirit of inquiry is essential to dialogue and involves focusing on con-
nections, embracing diverse perspectives, and allowing shared understanding
to transform us;

• The process of reflective questioning relies on our ability to listen, value
others, and address deep issues; and

• A dialogue is a practical approach for developing a meaningful vision or mis-
sion statement, understanding what needs to change and how the change
aligns with other factors in the organization, and understanding and negoti-
ating conflicts expressed in the dialogue process. (Kellett, 1999, p. 212)


Another key communication role in continuous change involves building rela-
tionships within and across the organization and building transorganizational rela-
tionships to develop networks and achieve creativity, innovation, mutual problem
solving, and shared meaning. Given this emphasis on relationships between enti-
ties, one researcher remarked, “Relationships are all there is to reality and nothing
exists independent of its relationships with the environment” (McDaniel, 1997, p. 24).

Dialogue that encourages diversity of ideas is critical for continuous change in
organizations. Yet diversity brings both conflict and cooperation, “marked by the
struggle of multiple voices to be heard” (Kellett, 1999, p. 213). Dialectic communi-
cation is a process through which change occurs:

In a change process, if there is an effective negotiation or resolution of core
dialectics between the stakeholders, it is likely to be a collaborative change that
is marked by a respect for difference. If, as Baxter and Montgomery say,
“Relational well-being is marked by the capacity to achieve ‘both/and’ status”
(p. 6), then “healthy” organizational change will be marked by talking through
dialectics, or at least the respect for differences as they figure into change deci-
sions. (p. 213)

Communication in continuous change environments is highly participatory by
necessity. Organizations must facilitate dialogue within and across groups to gen-
erate and sustain a free flow of information, diversity of ideas, high levels of coop-
eration, and substantive involvement in decision making.

Empowering broad-based action requires getting rid of obstacles, changing sys-
tems or structures that undermine the change vision, and encouraging risk taking
and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions (Kotter, 1996, p. 21). Earlier in the
chapter, empowerment was described as delegating or distributing leadership,
authority, responsibility, and decision-making power and equipping organizational
members with the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to make good deci-
sions. Empowerment can facilitate broad-based action in the change process when
leaders and members fully endorse and incorporate it in their organizational val-
ues, culture, and practices. Organizational systems can be configured to reinforce
empowerment in selection, performance appraisal, rewards, and training processes
along with communication and work structures.

Generating short-term wins involves making change visible by recognizing,
rewarding, and celebrating achievements along the way. This includes setting and
achieving short-term goals that support the change initiative; recognizing and
rewarding people who made the wins possible; demonstrating or showcasing com-
pleted projects and new products or services; publicizing new ventures, partner-
ships, or collaborative work arrangements; and recognizing monthly, quarterly, or
annual accomplishments. Kotter (1996) identified three characteristics of a good
short-term win—it’s visible and large numbers of people can see it for themselves,
it’s unambiguous, and it’s clearly related to the change effort (pp. 121–122). He
pointed out that one possible drawback to acknowledging and celebrating short-
term wins is the tendency of some people to lose momentum and motivation for

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 89

completing the larger change. As a result, recognition of intermediate successes
needs to be balanced with a realistic perspective that much more remains to be
done. Clear or visible gauges of the work ahead are as important as indicators of
successes to date.

Consolidating gains and producing more change occur when the guiding
coalition, tags, and participants in change throughout the organization learn
from and use the gains at each juncture to develop expertise and experience for
producing more change. Because complex organizations function through inter-
dependencies—people work in cross-functional and project teams across the
organization and between organizations—change in one part of the system pro-
duces a kaleidoscope effect by changing all or most parts of the system. In other
words, change in interconnected systems produces more change. This is a good
outcome for the achievement and sustainability of the larger change, but it can be
frustrating in the short run.

According to Kotter (1996), cumulative gains along the way provide increased
credibility to change all systems, structures, and policies that no longer fit the trans-
formation vision. Actions in this stage include hiring, promoting, and developing
people who can implement the change vision and reinvigorating the process with
new projects, themes, and change agents (pp. 21, 143).

Refreezing or Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture

This phase represents the last stage of change, as defined by Lewin or Kotter,
respectively. Both Lewin and Kotter recognized this stage as the fitting time and
place to establish or anchor new approaches and behaviors in the organizational
culture (shared assumptions, beliefs, values, language, etc.). Many scholars (Deal &
Kennedy, 2000; Kotter, 1996; Schein, 1992) acknowledge that culture is the most
difficult element to change in an organization, and it is much more challenging to
alter culture in mature organizations. Schein (1992) offered several primary and
secondary ways to influence cultural change. Each of these factors reinforces the
connection between new behaviors and organizational success:

• Primary ways to influence culture

� Attention—the amount of attention leaders focus on certain issues or
factors in the organization;

� Reactions to crises—the values and assumptions expressed by leaders
during crises;

� Role modeling—the messages about values and expectations leaders
communicate through their actions or through deliberate modeling such
as coaching and teaching;

� Allocation of rewards—the criteria used in the organization to allocate
rewards; and

� Criteria for selection and dismissal—values expressed through criteria for
recruiting, selecting, promoting, and dismissingmembers of the organization.


• Secondary ways to influence culture

� Design of systems and procedures—placing an emphasis on the new app-
roaches or change in budgets, planning processes, reports, training
programs, performance reviews, and so on;

� Design of organizational structure—designing an organizational structure
that facilitates the philosophy, working relationships or interdependencies,
and flexibility needed to implement change and adapt to the environment;

� Rites and rituals of the organization—the ritualization of certain types of
behaviors can serve as a powerful reinforcer of leaders’ assumptions;

� Design of facilities—designing facilities that reflect the change in
approach or philosophy such as open layouts; open access to conference
rooms, dining facilities, and workout spaces; or similar offices for all
members of the organization;

� Stories, legends, and myths—transmitting stories about actual events,
people, or actions that exemplify the philosophy, values, and approaches
that are important for change in the culture; and

� Formal statements—conveying the new or modified philosophy, values,
and approaches in organizational publications and other appropriate
venues. (Schein, 1992, pp. 230–252; Yukl, 2006, pp. 290–293)

A final factor in refreezing or anchoring new change in the culture is developing
a means to ensure ongoing leadership development. If change is dependent only on
individuals currently serving in formal (chief executive officer) and informal (tags)
leadership roles, then change processes will likely end when these individuals leave.
This statement may seem obvious; however, lack of adequate leadership develop-
ment has been the downfall of many promising attempts to generate organizational
change. Individual and team leadership development along with O’Toole’s (2001)
concept of institutionalizing leadership in the people and systems of organizations
provide the greatest potential for initiating, developing, and benefiting from change.

The practices identified in the stages-of-praxis category most often apply to tele-
ological (intentional and constructed change) and strategic change. These stages
can also facilitate evolutionary change when organizations need to adopt new
structures, organizational types, or traits. They can apply to the maturity and revi-
talization phases of life-cycle change, especially as organizations face inertia or
potential demise. Organizations in the maturity phase of life-cycle change have the
hardest time embracing new opportunities or structures due to their entrenched
organizational culture and history of success. Communicating a change strategy or
vision among organizational members can foster dialectical change.

Different phases can require different forms of leadership. For example, charis-
matic leadership frequently succeeds in generating a sense of urgency by inspiring
a motivating vision or purpose in the hearts and minds of organizational members.
In the case of invisible leadership, however, the purpose itself may be the motivat-
ing factor (charisma of purpose) that drives organizational members to work
toward a goal. Strategic leadership can help organizational participants shape the

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 91

vision and strategies that will focus the change effort, and transactional and task-
relations-and-change leadership may empower broad-based action to implement
changes in behavior, work structures, or processes and generate short-term wins.
Transformational leadership can operate during most stages of praxis; it may be
particularly effective during the stage of consolidating gains and producing more
change during the last phase involving anchoring new approaches in the culture.
Coleadership or exemplary followership functions throughout the stages of praxis
in a team effort to accomplish the common purpose of the change.

Scenario Building

Schwartz (1996) advocated an eight-step process of scenario building (also dis-
cussed in Chapter 1) that helps leaders and members take a long view in a world of
uncertainty (p. 3). He contended that scenarios are not predictions but mechanisms
to help people learn. Scenario building involves more than guessing. It requires a
process that uses factual information and indicators of early trends to project alter-
native futures. The eighth factor, which corresponds with Willis Harman’s (1998)
concept of “acting with feedback” (pp. 193–194), fosters ongoing learning and flex-
ibility as leaders and participants move toward a desired common goal. Although
scenario building is a method used most often in business or organizational set-
tings, it provides a useful means for developing informed action in other settings,
including nonprofit and government agencies.

Scenario building is especially useful for teleological change and strategic
leadership due to its planned, constructed approach. However, it may also be rele-
vant to dialectical change, including chaos and complexity theory and collective or
collaborative forms of leadership, because it helps organizations prepare for
multiple possibilities and identify early indicators in uncertain environments. In
virtual or multichannel organizations, scenario building is highly compatible with
e-leadership, which uses technology such as groupware to brainstorm and generate
multiple responses simultaneously.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an organizational change practice developed by
Cooperrider and Srivastva (1987). It focuses on aspects of the organizations that are
working well—the positive history and stories, best organization members, and the
relationships that contribute to advancement—rather than on negatives, such as dis-
trust, resistance, and barriers to positive possibilities. AI begins with and retains the
“positive principle”—hope, excitement, caring, esprit de corps, urgent purpose, joy
in creating something meaningful together—to sustain momentum throughout the
process (Fitzgerald,Murrell, & Miller, 2003, p. 6). The process has five essential phases:

1. Choose the positive as the focus for inquiry.

2. Inquire into stories of life-giving forces.

3. Locate themes that appear in the stories and select topics for further inquiry.


4. Create shared images for a preferred future.

5. Find innovative ways to create that future. (Seo, Putnam, & Bartunek, 2004,
p. 95)

AI uses a social constructionist approach to organizational change, a teleologi-
cal model that focuses on the human ability to construct new realities for the orga-
nization through an intended process of change. Cooperrider and Srivastva’s
(1987) AI model departs from previous change approaches because it fully sup-
ports the idea that “organizational members have the capacity to create their own
future,” it rejects interventionist approaches that focus on problem-solving with a
heavy emphasis on positivist methods, and it employs less linear methods, such as
“stories, narratives, dreams, and visions that stimulate human imagination and
meaning systems” (Seo et al., 2004, p. 96).

AI has received positive attention and considerable use by practitioners.Yet there
has been little academic research conducted on this method. Future researchers
need to raise and examine several methodological and organizational questions
regarding AI: Do the methodologies and philosophy used in AI omit significant
factors from the change process? For example, does the “positive only” approach of
appreciative inquiry resolve underlying problems, conflicts, and mistakes in the
organization or does it inadvertently mask or ignore them? Can positivist method-
ologies (survey research, experiments, etc.) in combination with AI methodologies
(dialogues, interviewing, imagining) add or reveal vital information for organiza-
tional change that would not be apparent or available using AI methodologies
alone? How does AI compare to other theories of change and organizational devel-
opment? What are the comparative outcomes of AI in relation to other organiza-
tional change approaches over time?


Leading change in virtual teams requires some of the same practices as those
used by face-to-face (FTF) teams, as well as some different practices. In a study of
effective practices in virtual teams, Lurey and Raisinghani (2001) found that these
teams, like their FTF counterparts, must have a shared purpose, their members
must rely on each other to perform the work, and team leaders must facilitate
positive group processes, generate team-based reward systems, and select the most
appropriate team members for projects or change initiatives (p. 532). Virtual teams
need additional factors to be effective:

• added connectivity among team members through more structured or for-
mal processes including clearly developed and designated roles for team
members and very explicit team goals; and

• more attention to communication issues that enhance personal contact and
connection among team members such as facilitating face-to-face interaction
when possible and identifying and using the most appropriate technology for
the people and project. (p. 532)

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 93

Respondents in Lurey and Raisinghani’s (2001) study used daily e-mail, personal
telephone calls, and voice mail most frequently. Other means of communication,
including group-telephone and online-computer conferencing, FTF interaction,
groupware, shared databases, and videoconferencing, received less frequent use.
The researchers suggested that the availability and use of videoconferencing may be
effective in bringing together geographically dispersed team members.

To enhance successful e-practices, Zigurs (2003) made the following recom-
mendations for virtual team leaders:

• provide training on participation in virtual teams;
• use team-building exercises in face-to-face processes, when possible;
• provide for both task and relational roles;
• establish standards for communication of contextual cues with each message;
• use process-structuring tools but build in adaptability for individual needs;
• use frequent communication and feedback to nurture emergent leadership

and self-leadership that moves the team forward;
• put special and continuous emphasis on relational development; and
• anticipate unintended consequences and debrief the team’s responses and

approaches to these events. (p. 348)

Virtual organizations and multichannel corporations need the capacity to inno-
vate, change, and respond quickly to meet the needs of customers or service recip-
ients in a round-the-clock Internet environment. Change in virtual organizations
and virtual divisions of multichannel organizations entails practices that are infor-
mation rich and highly collaborative. Stace, Holtham, and Courtney (2001) sug-
gested that these organizations base their design on principles of self-management,
collaborative behavioral protocols, shared strategic intent, and equitable sharing of
returns (p. 417). They advised that organizations base their e-practices on time
spent in productive interchange, trust developed between people, and territory,
defined as psychological space and a stake in outcomes (p. 417).

On the basis of current information, e-practices seem to apply to teleological
(planned, constructed) and dialectical change, including chaos and complexity
theory, in multichannel and virtual organizations. They align with virtual
leadership, or e-leadership, and may be fitting for other collective forms of
leadership, such as adaptive, team, and invisible. Research on effective virtual or
e-practices is still developing. E-change may ultimately constitute a new form of
change with its own characteristics and processes.

Ethical Practices

Ethics require leaders and followers in organizations to take into account the
impact of their actions in relation to others. Ethics are principles of right conduct or
a system of moral values. The guiding question for ethical decisions and practices in
leading change is, what ought to be done in regard to coworkers and customers
(Gini, 2004, p. 28)? Gini (2004) pointed out that “ethics is primarily a communal,
collective enterprise” (p. 28), which makes ethical practices especially relevant in this


era of collective and collaborative approaches to leading organizational change,
including adaptive, ubuntu, Tao, invisible, team, and virtual leadership.

Critical issues for ethical practices in leading change consist of authenticity,
trust, and reciprocal care, among others. Authenticity entails honesty—with one’s
self and others, between and among organizational leaders and members, and
between organizational members and other partners, collaborators, and stake-
holders. Authenticity is critically important in the practice of empowerment or
shared power, which is a fundamental component of collective or collaborative
leadership and change. Ciulla (2004) maintained that “the obvious difference
between authentic and bogus empowerment rests on the honesty of the relation-
ship between leaders and followers” (p. 76). She warned that it is not adequate for
members of an organization to “feel” empowered; they must “be” empowered to
make decisions, take action, and be accountable for their efforts on behalf of the
organization (p. 76).

Leaders in positions of authority have a choice to share power with members of
the organization or not, but bogus empowerment is both inauthentic and ineffec-
tive in the long run. Leaders must weigh the risk in each direction. If organizational
leaders choose empowerment or shared power, they need to develop the training,
resources, systems, and practices that support it. Most of all, senior leaders must
have enough self-knowledge and introspection to know whether they are truly
capable of sharing power or whether they fear that most organizational members
are unable to handle shared power appropriately, and, therefore, members’mistakes
will reflect negatively on leaders. If leaders decide not to empower members, they
need to develop substantial capacity within the senior executive team to lead
change in a dynamic environment. They must assess the potential impact on their
competitive position or service delivery in relation to similar organizations with
and without shared power among their members.

Authenticity is a significant factor in developing a sense of urgency or establish-
ing a galvanizing event in the stages-of-praxis approach. Organizational members
will likely become indifferent and highly suspect of any change effort when execu-
tive leaders attempt to revitalize an organization by “creating” a scare tactic to gen-
erate a sense of urgency. Instead, organizational leaders and members must build
an honest, compelling case for revitalization on the basis of information, involve-
ment, and commitment.

Openness, or transparency, is included here under the rubric of authenticity.
Openness reinforces authenticity and trust by making processes, decisions, and
information open and available to members of the organization. In the Technology
Solutions case, members indicated that the company’s transparency practices—a
“no secrets” policy, free sharing of ideas, the open-door policy among all company
members, and the discussions during company meetings—contribute to an open
and innovative environment. Team members at Johnsonville Sausage performed
budgeting and finance, hiring and firing, scheduling, and quality control. Processes,
decisions, and information in the organization were transparent, enabling
members to take appropriate actions. Members were fully aware of the company’s
financial status and competitive position in the market, and they knew whether cost
cutting, layoffs, or downsizing were necessary for the company to thrive.

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 95

Earlier in this book, I cited Tapscott and Williams (2006), who discussed the idea
that openness, or the new-era transparency, goes beyond disclosure of information to
internal members of the organization. It includes a vast array of external collaborators.
As a result, senior leaders need to decide whether they can honestly practice openness
in the organization. If they decide to implement openness in the organization’s inno-
vations, processes, decisions, and information, then they need to develop systems and
practices that support transparency along with procedures that protect some (but not
all) confidential and proprietary information. If leaders decide not to practice full
transparency, they still need to develop an organizational culture of trust where
members experience authenticity and integrity in leader-member relationships. They
also will need to evaluate the potential impact on their competitive position or service
delivery of maintaining a highly proprietary and confidential organization.

Trust is the foundation of a relationship between and among leaders and
members of an organization. Robert Solomon (2004) contended, “Trust character-
izes an entire network of emotions and emotional attitudes, both between individ-
uals and within groups and by way of a psychodynamic profile of entire societies”
(p. 95). He characterized trust as a social role, a reciprocal relationship, a dynamic
decision that makes leadership possible, something to be given that transforms
a relationship at its most basic level (pp. 95–99). Honesty builds trust so that
members have confidence in a leader’s word that the need for change is authentic,
that power is indeed shared, and that the member has true agency to effect change
in the organization, while leaders have confidence that members can lead them-
selves, build competence, use their shared power to advance the change initiative,
and sustain commitment to the organization’s purpose.

Reciprocal care develops from a relationship of trust where “every person
matters and each person’s welfare and dignity is the concern of us all” (Allen et al.,
1998, p. 57). Leading change in a collective or collaborative context creates greater
interdependence and mutual responsibility between organizational leaders and
members. The leader-follower relationship shifts from a traditional dynamic, where
leaders assume responsibility for members, to a shared dynamic, where leaders and
members assume responsibility for each other. This relationship involves reciprocal
care for the rights, treatment, diversity, and well-being of leaders and members.

Leaders and members in organizations with ethical practices establish a “healthy
moral environment,” where ethical behavior and expectations are explicitly stated
and conscientiously practiced and where ethical practices are not inadvertently
undermined by contradictory messages in the organizations’ environments (Ciulla,
1995, p. 494). The ethical practices of authenticity, trust, transparency, and recipro-
cal care apply to leadership and change concepts in this chapter and are necessary
for collective or collaborative approaches. They provide the essential underpinning
for the communal, collective enterprise of ethics in the process of leading change.


Although there is no one approach or formula to choosing the most appropriate
practices for leading change, leaders and members of companies, nonprofit organi-
zations, and government agencies can use the guiding questions in each of the


chapters on organizational change to assess and select their options. Organizational
members can inspire and generate change that allows their organizations to flour-
ish in the midst of a turbulent environment when they consider and select
mutually reinforcing forms of leadership, change, and practice. Table 2.1 in the
introduction provides examples of connecting components of organizational
change—concepts of change, concepts of leadership, and change practices.
Intentional consideration of all three components of change is more than an ana-
lytical tool, though it definitely serves that purpose. It is a means of preparing
people and their organizations for new ventures into the unknown, fueled by
human innovation and advanced technologies.

1. I am deeply indebted to my late colleague Fredric M. Jablin for his help in identifying

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Applications and Reflections

The applications and reflections section provides an opportunity to relate the con-
cepts and practices of leading change in Chapters 2–4 to several real-life situations.
These situations illustrate the challenges of leading change in various types of orga-
nizations, including business, religious, government, education, and nonprofit/
nongovernmental organizations.

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 99

The New Rules

by Betsy Morris

Even now, nearly five years after his retirement from General Electric, Jack Welch commands
the spotlight. He is still power-lunching, still making the gossip columns, still the charismatic
embodiment of the star CEO. His books are automatic bestsellers. More than any other single
figure, he stands as a model not just for the can-do American executive but for a way of doing
business that revived the U.S. corporation in the 1980s and dominated the world’s economic
landscape for a quarter-century. Just try to find an executive who hasn’t been influenced by his
teachings. What came to be known as Jack’s Rules are by now the business equivalent of holy
writ, bedrock wisdom that has been open to interpretation, perhaps, but not dispute.

But the time has come: Corporate America needs a new playbook. The challenge facing U.S.
business leaders is greater than ever before, yet they have less control than ever—and less job
security. The volatility of the markets is so unpredictable, the pressure from hedge funds and
private-equity investors so relentless, the competition from China and India so intense, that the
edicts of the past are starting to feel out of date. In executive suites across the country, a
dramatic rethinking is underway about fundamental assumptions that defined Welch and his
era. Is an emphasis on market share really the prime directive? Is a company’s near-term stock
price—and the quarterly earnings per share that drive it—really the best measure of a CEO’s
success? In what ways is managing a company to measure of a CEO’s success? In what ways
is managing a company to please Wall Street bad for competitiveness in the long run?

Jack Welch, needless to say, is having none of it. When Fortune caught up with him
recently, he was as confident and outspoken as ever. “I’m perfectly prepared to change,”
says Welch (who co-writes a column in Business Week with his wife, Suzy). “Change is
great.” But, he asserts, he sees no reason to back away from the principles by which he and
other star CEOs like Roberto Goizueta of Coca-Cola managed. If applied correctly, Welch
contends, his rules can work forever.

Sorry, Jack, but we don’t buy it. The practices that brought Welch, Goizueta, and others
such success were developed to battle problems specific to a time and place in history. And
they worked. No one questions today that bloated bureaucracy can kill a business. No one
forgets the shareholder—far from it. Yet those threats have receded. And they have been
replaced by new ones. The risk we now face is applying old solutions to new problems.


Appl i ca t ion 1 BUS INE S S



Early on, Welch argued that lagging businesses—those not No. 1 or No. 2 in their
markets—should be fixed, sold, or closed. In a 1981 speech titled “Growing Fast in a Slow-
Growth Economy,” he announced that GE would no longer tolerate low-margin and low-
growth units. GE, he told analysts at the Pierre Hotel in New York, “will be the locomotive
pulling the GNP, not the caboose following it.” As much as any other single event, Welch’s
words marked the dawn of the shareholder-value movement. And GE eventually became its
star. No question who was Welch’s boss. His report card: the stock price. His goal: consistent
earnings growth.

As his ruthlessly efficient strategy wrenched GE into high performance, the company’s
stock took off. Soon virtually everything Welch said became gospel—often to the extreme.
When Welch embraced Six Sigma, the program began to proliferate all over corporate
America. He talked about being the leanest and meanest and lowest-cost, and corporate
America got out its ax.Welch advocated ranking your players and weeding out your weakest,
and HR departments turned Darwinian. As time went on, the mantra of shareholder value
took on a life of its own. Cheered on by academics, consulting firms and investors, more and
more companies tried to defy history (and their own reality) to sustain growth and dazzle
Wall Street as Welch was doing. Accounting tricks, acquisition mania, outright thievery—
executives went overboard. “It became all about ‘real men make their numbers,’” says one
CEO. “What were we thinking?”

This, says Harvard Business School’s Rakesh Khurana, is the legacy of the Old Rules.
Managing to create shareholder value became managed earnings became managing quarter
to quarter to please the Street. “That meant a disinvestment in the future,” says Khurana,
author of Searching for a Corporate Savior. “It was a dramatic reversal of everything that
made capitalism strong and the envy of the rest of the world: the willingness of a CEO to
forgo dividends and make an investment that wouldn’t be realized until one or two CEOs
down the road.” Now, he believes, “we’re at a hinge point of American capitalism.”

There is another model. In breathtakingly short order, the rock star of business is no
longer the guy atop the Fortune 500 (today Rex Tillerson at ExxonMobil), but the very guy
those Fortune 500 types used to love to ridicule: Steve Jobs at Apple. The biggest feat of the
decade is not making the elephant dance, as Lou Gerstner famously did at IBM, but
inventing the iPod and transforming an industry. Dell spectacularly upended Compaq and
Hewlett-Packard, yet few big companies paid close enough attention to see that new
technologies and business models were negating the power of economies of scale in myriad
ways. Nobody has proved that more than Google.

Yet in the corridors of corporate power, the old rules continue to cast an outsized shadow.
Many CEOs are following a playbook that has, at best, been distorted by time. “How do you
think about building shareholder value when a lot of people are really just going to hold the
share for the moment?” says Jim Collins, a former Stanford Business School professor and
the author of Good to Great and Built to Last. “The idea of maximizing shareholder value is
a strange idea when [many shareholders] are really share flippers. That’s a real change. That
does make the notion of building a great company more difficult.”

That doesn’t mean everything about Welch’s era is wrong. Indeed, we named him
“manager of the century” in 1999. Were he at GE today, he might well be in the forefront of
the current wave of rethinking, as his successor, Jeffrey Immelt, surely is. Still, in the way of

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 101

all good analogies, we must begin by tearing down the old so that we can really open
ourselves to something different. In that spirit, then, here are seven old rules whose
shortcomings have become apparent and seven replacements that point toward a new model
for success. Some of the old rules are inspired directly by Welch’s teachings; others are not.
You may not agree with all of our conclusions (Welch certainly didn’t—see “Welch Fires
Back”). We welcome the debate. What’s most important is to get the discussion started.

Old rule: Big dogs own the street.

New rule: Agile is best; being big can bite you.

Until the very end of the last century, big meant good in the business world. B-schools taught the
benefits of economies of scale. The greater your revenue, the more you could spread fixed costs
across units sold. With size came dominance—of airwaves, store shelves, supply chains, distribu-
tion channels. Until the mid-1990s, a company’s market value usually tracked its revenue.

Then strange things started to happen. Microsoft’s market cap passed IBM’s in 1993, even
though Bill Gates’ $3 billion in revenue was one-twenty-second that of IBM. Scale didn’t
insulate GM from near-catastrophic decline. The big dogs seemed to hit a wall. (The median
Fortune 500 company is now three times the size it was in 1980, in real terms, and thus much
harder to manage.) Citigroup, built through acquisitions by Sandy Weill to deliver consistent
earnings, suddenly found the market focused on whatever bad news emerged in Citi’s far-
flung units instead of on the smoothness of its overall performance. Big Pharma used to be
prized for its unmatched R&D spending; now it is the smaller biotech firms that generate the
cutting-edge drugs—and drugmakers Merck, Bristol-Myers, and Eli Lilly all have smaller
market caps than biotech Genentech, despite significantly higher revenue and profits.

Technological advances and changing business models have diminished the importance
of scale, as outsourcing, partnering, and other alliances with specialty firms (with their own
economies of scale) have made it possible to convert fixed costs into variable ones. Dell, it
turned out, was not an anomaly, it was just the beginning—a pioneer at all this, keeping its
costs down by outsourcing disk drives, memory chips, monitors, and more, freeing itself to
focus on (and clean up in) direct selling and just-in-time assembly.

Old rule: Be no. 1 or no. 2 in your market.

New rule: Find a niche, create something new.

Nobody wants to be a laggard, of course, and there is much to be said for being the market
leader. Nike, Wal-Mart and Exxon certainly don’t wish they were anything else. But more and
more, market domination is no safety net. Disney’s stranglehold on animated films meant
nothing once Pixar’s digital innovation hit the scene. AOL’s established user base couldn’t
slow down Google.

Look at Coca-Cola, whose still-strong No. 1 position in cola turned out to be not an
insurance policy but proof of what consulting firm McKinsey calls the “incumbent’s curse.”
Coke’s archrivalry with Pepsi was always about market share—capturing it or defending it
by tenths of a percentage point in grocery stores, restaurants, and faraway lands. Coke
executives defined their industry as “share of stomach”—that is, the total ounces of liquid




an average person consumes in a day and what percentage of it can be filled with Coke. CEO
Roberto Goizueta told Jack Welch in a conversation in Fortune a decade ago that the soft
drink industry wouldn’t run out of growth until “that faucet in your kitchen sink is used for
what God intended”—dispensing Coke from the tap.

But eventually Coke’s monomaniacal focus backfired. When bottled waters like Evian and
Poland Spring began to gain traction, Coke didn’t pay sufficient attention. Its board vetoed
management’s proposal to buy Gatorade in 2000 (sending the sports drink into the arms of
Pepsi). Such niche products were viewed as low-volume distractions. Yet last year, in a
turnabout that would have been inconceivable a decade ago, soda sales fell, and water,
sports drinks, and energy drinks all soared. The jaw dropper: Energy drinks—which boast a
profit margin of 85%, according to Bernstein Research—are now expected to outearn every
other category of soft drink within three years.

Not everyone missed the opportunity. Out in Corona, California, tiny Hansen Natural
Corp. didn’t care about being No. 1 or No. 2. CEO Rodney Sacks was instead noticing how
consumers were migrating from carbonated soft drinks to juices, iced teas, and “functional
drinks.” So in the 1990s he began moving Hansen beyond its base as a maker of natural
sodas (Mandarin Lime, Orange Mango) toward vitamin and energy drinks. Never mind that
the energy-drink market was tiny then. “We look for niches and see how they grow,” he says.
Since launching an energy drink called Monster four years ago (deftly packaged in a
dramatic-looking 16-ounce can adorned with a clawmark), Hansen’s sales have quadrupled
to $348 million, vaulting its shares to $79 from a split-adjusted $2.

Coke has gotten religion. CEO Neville Isdell’s team is pushing an array of new drinks,
including a half dozen of its own energy entries that have earned the company a significant
stake in the U.S. market. “We believe there is value in those niches,” Isdell told Fortune this
spring. “It will not drive the volume number, but volume is something we’ve often chased to
the detriment of the long-term business.”

Starbucks, on the other hand, is a drink-seller that has avoided the incumbent’s trap.
“We’ve never said we wanted to be No. 1 or No. 2,” says CEO Jim Donald. Starbucks isn’t
a brand per se; it’s more an identity that’s morphed from a product (a latte) to a place to get
wireless, to a place with music to meet friends. “If we said we wanted to be the No. 1 coffee
company, that’s what would be on our mind,” Donald says. Instead, the company has kept
moving, evolving, trying new things. “It doesn’t matter where you end up,” says Donald. “It
matters that you’re the company of choice.”

Old rule: Shareholders rule.

New rule: The customer is king.

Whenever you ask a CEO about the importance of customers, you hear the requisite
platitudes. But in fact, customers have often lost out in the relentless push to maximize
shareholder value (as represented by the stock price) and to maximize it immediately. One
Bain & Co. study found a huge gap between the perceptions of executives—80% of whom
think they are doing an excellent job of serving customers—and the perceptions of
customers themselves: Only 8% of them agree. Every four years, according to Bain, the
average company loses more than half its customers. Aggressive pricing (on hotel phone

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 103

bills, rental-car gas charges, and credit card fees, to name a few examples) has increased as
the profit pressure on companies has mounted, says Bain’s Fred Reichheld. Abusing
customers this way, says Reichheld, “destroys the future of a business.” He believes that
such behavior—and not scandals like Enron and Tyco—is why fewer than half of all
Americans have a favorable opinion of business today.

This is shareholder-value theory taken to the extreme: the tail wagging the dog. One
CEO, who asked not to be named, describes the pressures this way: Businesses became
disconnected from their fundamentals, producing “perceived value” instead of real value,
because that’s what the stock market rewards. When investor-driven capitalism took over
from managerial-driven capitalism, as Harvard’s Khurana puts it, CEOs began managing the
company by earnings per share instead of focusing on details like new products, service
calls, customer-satisfaction scores—all those things that are supposed to produce the
earnings per share.

Yet some renegades thumbed their noses at Wall Street and truly kept the consumer
experience front and center. Think Apple, which has from inception been predicated on
dreaming up what customers want before they know it. Or look at Genentech, whose
employees are greeted each day by billboards of the cancer patients who take its drugs, to
remind everyone of the importance of their work. At GE, CEO Immelt has instigated what he
calls “dreaming sessions” to brainstorm with key customers. He also requires all businesses
to be judged using a metric called Net Promoter Score, developed by Reichheld and his
colleagues at Bain, that measures how likely a customer is to have you back. “When
everything is focused on delivering for customers, that makes employees proud,” Reichheld
says. “They become the powerful engine.”

Old rule: Be lean and mean.

New rule: Look out, not in.

In 1995 Jack Welch “went nuts,” as he later put it, over Six Sigma, a set of methods for
improving quality—plus a powerful way to reduce costs—that had been developed by
Motorola in the 1980s. At GE’s annual managers’ meeting in Boca Raton the following
January, he told his troops that embracing Six Sigma would be the company’s most
ambitious undertaking ever. GE’s “best and the brightest” were redeployed to put the
methods into action. And it worked. Welch would later write that Six Sigma helped drive
operating margins to 18.9% in 2000 from 14.8% four years earlier.

No wonder that after Welch adopted Six Sigma (to which he devotes a chapter of his
book Winning), more than a quarter of the Fortune 200 followed suit. Yet not all firms were
able to find the same magic. In fact, of 58 large companies that have announced Six Sigma
programs, 91% have trailed the S&P 500 since, according to an analysis by Charles Holland
of consulting firm Qualpro (which espouses a competing quality-improvement process).

One of the chief problems of Six Sigma, say Holland and other critics, is that it is narrowly
designed to fix an existing process, allowing little room for new ideas or an entirely different
approach. All that talent—all those best and brightest—were devoted to, say, driving
defects down to 3.4 per million and not on coming up with new products or disruptive
technologies. Innovation is “a meta-stable entity,” says Vishva Dixit, vice president for




research of Genentech, who oversees 800 scientists at a company that has created some of
the most revolutionary anticancer drugs on the market. “Nothing will kill it faster than trying
to manage it, predict it, and put it on a timeline.”

An inward-looking culture can leave firms vulnerable in a business world that is
changing at a breakneck pace—whether it’s Craigslist stealing classified ads from local
newspapers or VoIP threatening to make phone calls virtually free. “The availability of
information and the opening of key markets is exploding,” says Clay Christensen, a Harvard
Business School professor and the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, “and now you put a
few million Chinese and Indian engineers to the test of disrupting us too.” No business can
afford to focus its energies on its own navel in that environment. “Getting outside is
everything,” says GE’s Immelt (who still deploys Six Sigma). From the day he took over as
CEO, he says, he knew the company would need to be “much more forward-facing in the
future than we ever were in the past.” He explains: “It’s not about change. It’s about
sudden and abrupt and uncontrollable change. If you’re not externally focused in this
world, you can really lose your edge.”

Old rule: Rank your players; go with the A’s.

New rule: Hire passionate people.

At GE under Welch, employees were ranked as A, B, or C players, and the bottom group was
relentlessly culled. “We’re an A-plus company,” Welch told his executives in 1997, according
to Robert Slater’s book, Jack Welch and the GE Way. “We want only A players. Don’t spend
time trying to get C’s to be B’s. Move them out early.”

Pretty soon places as diverse as Charles Schwab and Ford began ranking employees. But
as with Six Sigma, the practice became overdone.Welch’s “vitality curve,” in the hands of less
deft managers, became the “dead man’s curve,” or “rank and yank.” Everybody, it seemed,
was expendable. There was a price to pay. According to a Rutgers and University of
Connecticut poll in 2002, 58% of workers believed most top executives put their own self-
interest ahead of the company’s, while only 33% trusted that their bosses have the firm’s best
interests at heart. “All of a sudden, when big companies had to change and respond to the
marketplace and move quickly, they found out they couldn’t, because they didn’t have people
engaged and aligned around the corporate mission,” says Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy. “Then
being big is a disadvantage. If you’re not nimble, there’s no advantage to size. It’s like a rock.”

While studying companies trying to transform themselves, Christopher Bartlett of Harvard
Business School and a colleague found the major obstacle was inefficient use of increasingly
disenfranchised employees. “People don’t come to work to be No. 1 or No. 2 or to get a 20%
net return on assets,” Bartlett says. “They want a sense of purpose. They come to work to
get meaning from their lives.”

Steve Jobs has emphasized that Apple hires only people who are passionate about what
they do (something that, to be fair, Welch also talked about). At Genentech, CEO Art
Levinson says he actually screens out job applicants who ask too many questions about titles
and options, because he wants only people who are driven to make drugs that help patients
fight cancer. GE still ranks employees, but Immelt has also added a new system of rating—
red, yellow, or green—on five leadership traits (including creativity and external focus).

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 105

Employees are rated against themselves, not one another. Immelt doesn’t talk about
jettisoning the bottom 10%. He talks about building a team. “When you’re 18 years old, you
say, ‘The iPod is neat,’” Immelt explains, “but people don’t dream about making a gas
turbine. If we can recruit the best 22-year-olds, we can double and triple in size. If not, then
we’re already way too big. You’ve got to be pragmatic about what turns people on.”

Old rule: Hire a charismatic CEO.

New rule: Hire a courageous CEO.

As big shareholders began to throw their weight around in the 1980s, boards sacked their
CEOs and named dazzling replacements. And the celebrity CEO was born. The stars of that
era were a varied crew: Jacques Nasser, Lou Gerstner, George Fisher, Michael Armstrong,
Jack Welch, Ken Lay, Al Dunlap, Sandy Weill, Carly Fiorina. Some got more credit than they
deserved, others more blame. A voracious business press helped burnish (or break)
reputations. The bull market fueled the myth that a truly superior CEO could hit earnings
targets quarter after quarter and propel the stock price unrelentingly higher.

But the tactics used by this generation of leaders—squeezing costs, deftly managing
financial and accounting decisions, using acquisitions to grow—did not always provide
long-term solutions. (A McKinsey study of 157 companies that bulked up through acquisition
in the 1990s found that only 12% grew significantly faster than their peers, and only seven
firms generated returns that were above industry-average.) Today many of those methods
have fallen out of favor. Tellingly, one top management tool du jour is the stock buyback,
which can buoy share prices and pacify investors—but also indicates that the CEO has no
better ideas for deploying capital.

If the celebrity CEO needed a spotlight, then today’s leaders need internal fortitude. Of
940 executives surveyed by Boston Consulting Group last year, 90% said organic growth
was “essential” to their success. But less than half were happy with the return on their R&D
spending. And therein lies the rub: Organic growth is not a quick fix.

Real growth requires placing big bets that probably won’t pay off until far into the
future—and today’s impatient culture offers little incentive. What practically killed Xerox
was its leaders’ resistance to making the technological leap from analog copying to digital,
which was almost guaranteed (as most such changes are) to cut margins. By the time they
were finally forced to, their business was in free fall. The company was eventually charged
with improperly accelerating revenues and overstating earnings. (It settled without admitting
wrongdoing and paid a $10 million fine.)

“You have to change when you’re at the top of your game in terms of profit,” says
Mulcahy, who cleaned up the mess, made the changes to digital and color, and is now trying
to jump-start revenue. “It’s hard to do. Your business looks its best. Your margins are at their
best. All that makes your job easier. Then you’re like, ‘Oh, shit, here we go again.’ You’ve got
to jump into that risk pool, and once again you’re in this mode of ‘You know, this could fail.’”

Never before has a CEO more needed to take risks, but rarely has Wall Street been less
receptive. A recent Booz Allen study found that a CEO is vulnerable to ouster if his stock
price has lagged behind the S&P 500 by an average of 2% since he took the top job. Cisco
Systems CEO John Chambers says he knows a number of colleagues who are planning to




step down because of the difficulty of balancing the short-term pressures of the Street with
what’s in the long-term best interest of the company.

But standing tall is precisely what all those corner-office pros get paid the big bucks for,
isn’t it? “You have to have the courage of your convictions,” says Chambers. Immelt agrees
that you must be willing to spend time “in the wilderness with no love.” And directors need
some courage too: to resist pressure to judge a CEO by the company’s stock price today and
get back to harder measures like return on invested capital. Hark back again to that seminal
Jack Welch speech in 1981. It hardly took the world by storm—in fact, Welch has talked
about how little it seemed to impress analysts that day, barely moving the stock. But
leadership is not about following the rules of the past. It is about standing up for what you
believe is best, regardless of the consequences.

Old rule: Admire my might.

New rule: Admire my soul.

Today bravado is dangerous. Soft-drink companies became bad guys when they were slow
to leave the school lunchroom. Nike got smacked by sweatshop allegations. Try surfing to see how powerful a critical community of Internet activists can be.
That old notion that has served Goldman Sachs so well is creeping back into vogue: It’s okay
to be greedy as long as it’s “long-term greedy.” Says Isdell at Coke: “I do not [agree with]
Milton Friedman—that the role of the corporation is solely to make money. Our legitimization
in society is a very important part of what we do.”

Having a “soul” as a corporation is more than contributing to causes or being transparent
about executive compensation or adhering to environmental regulation (though it is certainly
all of those things). It is defining a company’s vision in a sustainable, long-term way—and to
hell with what the hedge funds or other pay-me-now investors say. CEOs must get better at
courting long-term investors—explaining their strategies, saying exactly what they intend to
do, avoiding the temptation to sugarcoat. “There is so much pressure to hit your numbers,”
says Genentech’s Levinson. “I’ve been very clear with Wall Street since 1995 that if we see
an opportunity to make better drugs and more money down the road at a short-term cost, we
will do that every time. And you need to know that’s the kind of company we are.”

That’s easier to do, of course, when you’re a glamorous, fast-growing little biotech. So it
raises the question: Does the rest of corporate America have the moral fiber to defy the present,
when needed, and focus on the future? And do shareholders have patience enough to support
them? In other words, are they willing to be long-term greedy—or are they just greedy?

Welch Fires Back

Neutron Jack Defends His Turf

by Betsy Morris

Jack Welch was about to head to a television studio for what he calls “the best job I’ve ever
had”—on-air analyst for the Boston Red Sox pre-game cable show—when we caught up
with him. As usual, he had no shortage of opinions.

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 107

• On the power of size. It’s great to be big. Being big doesn’t mean you have to be
slow. It doesn’t mean you have to have tons of layers. It doesn’t mean you can’t
have highly entrepreneurial people. . . . You can get fat. Monopolies are often
guilty of not moving. If GE had stayed pat and we didn’t grow in financial services
and we stayed No. 1 in light bulbs, we’d have been in deep yogurt. But that doesn’t
mean you don’t want to be big and strong.

• On leadership. You want to be No. 1. There’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t want
to be a loser. Nos. 3, 4, and 5 don’t have the same flexibility. You don’t have the same
level of resources. You can’t do R&D at the same level. I agree being No. 1 in a static
environment is not by itself sufficient. No. 4 might have smarter management that uses
money more wisely. What you do with the resources that come from being a leader—
that’s what determines your future.

• On keeping lean. I was all for de-layering and flattening organizations. Today I’d flatten them
even more. Some companies are still too hierarchical. Some are right out of Bethlehem Steel.

• On exploiting niches. It’s not inconsistent at all with wanting to be No. 1, No. 2. In a big com-
pany you’d better be out exploring new niches. Today’s niches, tomorrow’s big things. Those
aren’t inconsistent.

• On customers. When has there ever been a divergence between shareholders and cus-
tomers? No one is out saying, “Let’s screw this customer today, and if we do, our share price
might go up 20 cents.” They’re just not doing it.

• On looking outward. GE in the 1990s was all about looking outward. We traveled to other
companies constantly to bring back best practices. It is one of the great ways to multiply the
intellect in your organization.

• On ranking employees. That was very controversial.Weed out the weakest. The Red Sox and
the Mets are playing tonight. Guess what? They’re not putting on the field guys in the
minors. It’s all about fielding the best team. It’s been portrayed as a cruel system. It isn’t. The
cruel system is the one that doesn’t tell anybody where they stand.

SOURCE: From “Welch fires back: Neutron Jack defends his turf”; “The New Rules,” by B. Morris, 2006,
Fortune, 154(2), pp. 70–72, 74, 78, 80, 84, 87. Copyright 2006 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with


• Which leadership and change concepts best fit each of the new rules?

• What concepts and practices can businesses use to counter an “inward-looking culture”?

• Christopher Bartlett and Steve Jobs emphasize purpose and passion in employees’ work. What can
companies do to inspire authentic purpose and passion?

• Considering concepts and practices of leading change in this chapter, what argument would CEOs use
to convince their board of directors and stockholders of the importance of “balancing the short-term
pressures of [Wall Street] with what’s in the long-term interest of the company”?


Wanted: Excited Christians: Declining Congregations
Are Either Being Pruned for Growth, or Burned for Their
Failure to Grow

By Carol Ann Keys

I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are
dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find
that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and
believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will
come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

—Revelation 3:1–3

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a little church of The Presbyterian
Church in Canada. This church had a long and proud history in its land, and the people of
this church believed that God would bless them for their faithfulness forever. Every Sunday
the little congregation gathered to worship its Lord in a dignified and orderly manner. But
the years went by and slowly the congregation began to fall asleep, and attendance at the
little church started to fall quietly away.

First the younger people left and later the Sunday school shut down. The younger
generation was bored and disinterested in what the little church had to offer. The message
of the good news of Jesus Christ was not being presented to them in a manner which ignited
their interest or held their attention. The culture in the land was changing at a pace
unprecedented in its history, but the little congregation insisted that the Lord must be
worshipped in the same way. The young people said “Okay,” and they registered their kids
in Sunday morning hockey or went Sunday shopping or slept in.

The people told themselves, “Young people aren’t interested in religion, there is nothing
we can do.” And so one by one the people of the little church grew older and began to die,
and soon even the mighty Presbyterian Church Women folded. “What are we to do?” said
the session members to each other. “There aren’t enough people here to pay our expenses.
How will we be able to continue to worship the Lord?”

Two of the elders of the little church joined with their minister to form a committee of
session, which grew to include three more people from the congregation. They were charged
with finding a solution to this problem. Faithful servants of the Lord, they worked tirelessly to
find the clues they needed, and after many months of searching they reported back. “We have
sought a vision from God,” they said, “and this is what He told us:We need to open the doors
of our little church to everyone in the land. We need to meet the people at the level of their
culture and at their point of greatest need, and then we need to deliver the good news of
Jesus Christ to them in a way they will enjoy and understand. We need to reach out to
everyone in this land, young and old, rich and poor, and be the example of Jesus Christ in
word and deed.We need to show our land that this little church has a purpose, and a mission,
and that we are ready, able and willing to act on it. We need to explain to everyone in the

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CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 109

land who we are, and why we are here, and tell them and show them who their neighbour
is—because they no longer know. The people of this land have forgotten about the Lord.”

The session was uneasy. They liked their little church the way it was. They liked the people
they had. Most of all they liked the way they worshipped. The committee tried to show the
people of the church they had nothing to fear. The minister gave them scriptural assurance
that change has been the call of God to his people throughout all time. The committee told
stories of other Presbyterian churches that had successfully made the transition from old to
new worship styles resulting in phenomenal growth. They asked the people of the little
church to read a contemporary translation of the Bible in order to add value and insight to
their understanding of the Lord’s purposes for his church. They challenged the little church
to better discipleship.

Hopefully, they rationalized, this would help the congregation at the little church
understand that “reformed and reforming” has been the cry of the Presbyterian Church since
its Reformation inception. Most of all, however, the committee longed to show the little
church how wonderful the new music of the Christian church could be. They had seen for
themselves how younger people in growing Presbyterian churches had positively responded
to changes in worship music and worship style—music which did not include the use of an
organ. “What,” they asked their people, “would you be willing to give up to bring Jesus
Christ back to the people of this land?”

The people of the little church listened to the committee but they didn’t like what they
heard. It was a John:1 kind of thing; the people saw the light, but they preferred the darkness.
The committee knew that unless the little church could grasp and truly understand its biblical
reason for existence (and then embrace what it has been commanded to do) then there was
little reason for them to continue as a congregation in the church of Jesus Christ. The little
church did not have new people coming to it because new people were never truly wanted or
even invited. There wasn’t any sincere thought put into the fact that younger people, who were
so desperately needed in this little church, did not understand or enjoy the traditional worship
practices. Especially the organ. What were they willing to give up? Nothing. The people of the
little church just didn’t see it as their issue. As far as they were concerned, the little church was
open for business and everyone was welcome to join them in a service of traditional worship
on any Sunday morning at 10:30—just like the sign on the front lawn said.

The committee of session was disbanded and the minister sent on her way. The two elders
and their families left the little church because God had given them a glorious opportunity
to see the possibilities available to any church. An exciting church, they had learned, does
not need be an oxymoron. To be an exciting church you simply need to have excited
Christians. The little church had been far from either.

Today the congregation at the sleepy little church continues to worship in a land not so
far away. Their finances are faltering and they are without a minister. There appears to be no
particular anxiety about death at this little church. It is accepted, and so far as God allows
these things to be seen, there will not be a fairy tale ending. Their light is very dim, and they
will sleep away their existence until they breathe no longer.

Carol Ann Keys has lived this story.

SOURCE: From “Wanted: Excited Christians,” by C. A. Keys, 2007, Presbyterian Record, 26 (2), pp. 26–27. This article was
first published in the Presbyterian Record, March 2007. Reprinted with permission.



Many congregations, regardless of denomination, face these circumstances. According to the life-cycle
theory, this church is facing imminent decline or death. Yet most congregations in similar situations do
not want to see their churches close.

• What concepts and practices of leading change can congregations use to revitalize or recover and
prevent the continuing decline described by Carol Keys?

• Use the guiding questions throughout the chapter (and summarized in the conclusion) to develop
a change proposal for churches in this situation.

Virtual Networks: An Opportunity for Government

By Frank DiGiammarino and Lena Trudeau

Meeting the Changing Needs of Citizens

The interactive Web is forcing some of government’s time-worn institutions to rethink their
relationship with their most important client: the public. A good illustration of this kind of
reckoning can be found in our municipal library systems, which—in the age of
and Barnes and Noble megastores—are under increasing pressure to stay relevant and
engaged with the communities they serve.

“The younger generation today is wired differently than people in my generation,” said
sixty-nine-year-old Harry Courtright, explaining to the New York Times last summer why the
fifteen-branch library system he oversees in Arizona’s Maricopa County jettisoned the once
sacred Dewey decimal system of classifying books in favor of one designed for the majority
of users, who come to browse without a particular title in mind.

Courtright and his colleagues are facing fundamental questions of identity.What is a library
in the twenty-first century? How does the role of librarian change in light of customer reviews
and other peer-to-peer networking opportunities that online bookstores routinely provide? Will
the one-third of Americans who count themselves among Generation Y ultimately expect public
libraries to work more like Netflix? Will we eventually be a society of on-demand books?

The implications for government, which delivers a wide range of services to an ever more
sophisticated public, are immense. Libraries provide just one example of the opportunity virtual
networks offer public-sector leaders—faced with expanding mandates, increasingly constrained
budgets, and unwieldy organizational structures—to rethink their service delivery model.

Emergence of the Virtual Network

The paradigms that define our current understanding of organizations can be traced back to
the 1930s and early public administration scholars like Luther Gulick, who claimed that
organizations should departmentalize work by purpose, process, clientele, or place and should

Appl i ca t ion 3 GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 111

not combine dissimilar activities in single agencies. Gulick argued that although most work
contains all four elements, systems must organize around only one of these core principles, to
the exclusion of the other three. Today’s government institutions reflect this thinking, with
agencies that provide services and information often managed in vertical silos.

Virtual networks, in contrast, place a premium on breaking down these silos and connecting
various audiences across (and within) them for better delivery to the citizen. The “wiki” platform
for virtual collaboration takes its name from the Hawaiian word for “fast” and features built-in
functionality that allows quick content analysis—users can see the labels that have been
applied to content, how content has been edited and reviewed, and the relationships that have
formed between various pieces of data. This allows for nearly limitless access and searchability
that is shifting the structure of thought from the hierarchical and vertical to the diffuse and
horizontal. Particularly in light of Generation Y’s increasing role in the federal workforce,
government leaders have the responsibility to understand the nature of this evolution and
embrace virtual networks as a way to be more efficient while remaining relevant.

“While the government is still buying Rolodexes, the younger generations have 600
friends on Facebook and 250 professional colleagues on LinkedIn,” said Steve Ressler, 27, a
cofounder of Young Government Leaders, a professional organization of more than 1,000
younger federal employees from more than thirty departments and agencies. “It’s very
important for us to see Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace. We are used to working
horizontal, are not afraid of authority, and want our ideas heard.”

Technology and Leadership

The cause of deploying Web 2.0 in government continues to gain committed champions, and
the mounting success stories can be attributed more to leadership than technology. In April
2006, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) created the classified
“Intellipedia” wiki site to allow 16 intelligence agencies to quickly and collaboratively share
classified information. Without compromising security, the goal was to transcend traditional
silos and gain the agility required to combat loosely connected networks of terrorists and
similarly diffuse but urgent threats. The site allows frontline agents to post information on any
aspect of intelligence along with other agencies in the intelligence community.

This powerful collaborative tool has been put to practical use on several occasions,
including the 2006 crash of a small plane into a New York City high-rise. Within two hours,
Intellipedia garnered more than eighty updates, enough to determine with confidence that
the crash was not a terrorist act. Intellipedia has also been useful in providing up-to-date,
peer-driven intelligence on North Korean missile tests, bomb-making by Iraqi insurgents, and
instability in Nigeria. In testimony presented to Congress on September 10, 2007—6 years
after the terrorist attacks of September 11—Director of National Intelligence Admiral
Michael McConnell lauded Intellipedia for enabling “experts from different disciplines
to pool their knowledge, form virtual teams, and quickly make complete intelligence
assessments. . . . The solution does not require special networks or equipment but has
dramatically changed our capability to share information in a timely manner.”

“It’s not complicated technology; it’s not expensive,” says Assistant Secretary of Homeland
Security for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Kip Hawley. “The biggest
challenge, the biggest learning, is that somebody has to make the decision to just




go ahead and do it.” In addition to TSA’s classified involvement with Intellipedia, Hawley has
overseen the launch of a new blog for the traveling public and an internal IdeaFactory, where
TSA’s 43,000 frontline transportation security officers can confer collectively on job-related
issues and ideas. The site empowers employees to share ideas on how to improve the
organization across multiple lines; these ideas are available for every employee to see and
evaluate. Employees vote for the ideas they like and offer constructive criticism. Within a
week of its launch, TSA employees had submitted more than 150 ideas, offered more than
650 comments, and voted on ideas more than 800 times.

The Collaboration Project

Hawley recently discussed these initiatives at the first meeting of The Collaboration Project
(see box), the National Academy of Public Administration’s newly launched leadership forum
that uses research, best practices, and other resources to help apply the benefits of Web 2.0
and collaborative technology in government.

The Collaboration Project

The National Academy is taking the lead on Web 2.0 in government by launching The
Collaboration Project—an independent leadership forum to jump-start the cause of
collaborative technology to drive innovation and change in government. Designed for
leaders looking to overcome the technical, organizational, and cultural barriers involved,
the project convenes members in person and through a virtual collaboration space to
share best practices, case studies, white papers, and leadership tools for implementation.

“This is a big idea that’s being introduced to a somewhat alien culture,” said
National Academy president and chief executive officer Jenna L. Dorn, “but we are
convinced that collaborative technology has the potential to transform government in
America, to tap into the expertise of people outside the hierarchy of any single agency
or department, to make government more transparent, and to open the door to a
broader array of experts focused on solving a particular problem or to citizens who
want to contribute to making government work better.”

The Collaboration Project kicked off operations with its first in-person meeting in
February, drawing a diverse group of key decision makers, including congressional staff,
chief information officers (CIOs), chief technology officers, chief financial officers, and other
senior leaders from more than a dozen federal agencies, including the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), Coast Guard, Government Accountability Office, Small Business
Administration, and Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, and Defense.

TSAs Kip Hawley inspired meeting participants with his presentation on the suc-
cessful Web 2.0 advances at his agency. “It’s self-policing,” Hawley told the audience,
explaining how the various parties collaborate in responsible and inventive ways with-
out the need for excessive oversight by forum monitors. “We’ve found that the lighter
the touch on editing, the better the quality of ideas and the quality of the discussion.”

SOURCE: From “Virtual Networks: An Opportunity for Government,” by F. DiGiammarino and L. Trudeau, 2008, Public
Manager, 37(1), pp. 5–11. Reprinted with permission.

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 113


• What factors in today’s environment challenge Luther Gulick’s ideas about how government should

• Which concepts and practices of leading change contributed to the changes in public agencies
described by DiGiammarino and Trudeau?

• What other change or opportunities could virtual networks offer internal and external stakeholders?

Revolution From the Faculty Lounge: The
Emergence of Teacher-Led Schools and Cooperatives

By Joe Williams

Progressivism in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the home of legendary progressive crusader “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, the
concept of teacher cooperatives has been taking a slightly different turn. In Milwaukee, a city
where charter schooling and even private school vouchers have been part of the landscape
of education for several years, teachers have also begun taking to the idea of running small
schools that they feel will better meet the needs of their students.

Unlike the teachers who work for the EdVisions cooperative, teachers at Milwaukee’s
teacher cooperative schools remain employees of the Milwaukee Public Schools and dues-
paying members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), but they provide
their services to district-sponsored charter schools as an autonomous team. (All the
cooperative schools are district-sponsored charters, rather than independent charters,
because this arrangement allows the teachers to continue to participate in the state’s
teacher retirement system.) They don’t own their practice in an economic sense, but they are
allowed by both the district and their union to own what happens within their autonomous
school communities. The teachers select their colleagues, decide on the work assignments,
determine the expenditures, and—most importantly, they say—shape the learning program.

“The teachers in these cooperatives literally ‘own’ what happens in their schools, which creates
a climate where accountability and flexibility go hand-in-hand,” observes Milwaukee
Superintendent William Andrekopoulos. Unionized teachers in Milwaukee have already formed 11
professional partnerships that run charter schools under the state’s laws that allow for worker
cooperatives. Wisconsin’s cooperatives are organized under Chapter 185 of the state’s statutes
and are tax exempt nonprofit organizations. All full-time teachers at the school site are
automatically considered members of the cooperative, and all have the same rights and privileges.

The I.D.E.A.L. Charter School opened in the fall of 2001 as the first teacher cooperative in
Milwaukee. The partners collectively hold the charter, although, because of a quirk in the
state’s charter school law, only one teacher signs it. The teachers continue as district employees
and are paid the contract rate, but they can decide how many teachers of what type the school


Appl i ca t ion 4 EDUCAT ION



needs, and so they can reallocate expenditures. There is a memorandum of understanding with
the MTEA, the bargaining agent for the district’s teachers, that waives certain provisions of the
master contract. The union has been cooperative, the board of education is happy, and the
teachers are protected but still have full control of “professional issues.”

Any teacher in the district may apply for a vacant teaching position at any cooperative, but
the existing team has the right to interview all the candidates and to select the teachers that
the district will then assign to the school. The current agreement allows these interviews up
until an established deadline, after which teachers must fill the vacancies using traditional
seniority rights—a practice that some members of the cooperatives hope to eliminate in the
future since teacher selection is crucial to the team building that allows cooperatives to thrive.

What Happens in These Co-ops?

While the hallways and classrooms of cooperative schools don’t always look entirely
different from what you would find in a typical school, it is the regular partner meetings that
stand out as unconventional. Unlike the often-inflexible, compliance-based cultures that
exist in traditional schools—where the principal implements district-wide edicts and there is
little room to make meaningful adjustments based on the particular needs of individual
schools—partner meetings under the professional partnership model demonstrate what is
possible when teachers have a say over what happens in schools.

“All the teachers are at the table,” says Avalon’s Whalen, who now works as a consultant for
EdVisions, helping other teams of teachers around the nation to form cooperatives. At Avalon,
about 12 weeks before the doors first opened to students, the teachers got together and simply
divided up the lengthy list of tasks that needed to be completed.The concept of “professionalism,”
Whalen says, ends up meaning something different when you have complete ownership of the
work experience. It often means that teachers willingly participate in cafeteria duty, bathroom
duty, and hallway duty, for example, because a professional team has determined that resources
would be better spent on instruction than on school aides. It isn’t that the aides wouldn’t be nice
to have, Whalen notes, but such costs can be converted into hiring additional teachers, which
keeps class sizes lower and keeps the focus on student instruction.

Sometimes the decisions confronting the teacher/owners of a school aren’t particularly
interesting to much of the outside world, but they illustrate the kinds of everyday issues that
can’t be easily solved by large, bureaucratic school systems. Signs are also beginning to
emerge that teachers will use this new level of flexibility to better understand and respond
to the academic needs of their students.

At the Milwaukee Learning Laboratory and Institute, for example, which opened in the fall
of 2005, the partnership’s teachers determined in the first few months that their students
needed to hone their organization, research, and study skills. The students were so weak in
these areas that it limited their learning in other subject areas, such as science. For some
students, an inability to work on their own was making their lessons irrelevant.

The teachers decided to alter the student schedules midstream to provide an ad hoc
course in study skills. They created the time for this unplanned instruction by dropping
science class for one marking period. Once the students at the small school were brought up
to speed on their research and study skills, the partnership changed the schedules again, so
that all students doubled up on science for the final marking period. Thus the students made

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 115

up for the lost classes and, because they had a better grip on handling homework and
research, made better use of their science time than they would have otherwise. “We could
never have done that in a large high school that wasn’t run by the teachers,” said David
Coyle, the lead teacher under the partnership arrangement.

Teachers who are members of these cooperatives spend a great deal of time honing the
decision-making process, since that is the professional cornerstone on which the school culture
is built. “We’ve had to struggle at times with the question of whether or not we make
decisions by consensus or by majority rule,” Avalon’s Whalen says. “The vast majority of
decisions end up being made by consensus, but the tough ones end up being by majority rule.”

Conceptually, since the EdVisions and Milwaukee teacher co-op schools are public
“schools of choice,” there is a connection between the decisions the teachers make about
their offerings and the desires of students in the marketplace. If students don’t want to
attend these schools, they cease to exist.

There are also some built-in levers that ensure the quality of the team members. Teachers who
don’t cut it in the partnerships, based on evaluations by a cooperative peer-review system, are
allowed to return to the traditional employment pool of the district with their seniority intact. The
same applies to teachers who decide on their own that the partnership model just isn’t a good fit.

One of the Milwaukee teacher cooperatives, Advanced Language and Academic Studies
(ALAS), was started by a group of teachers who had grown frustrated working in the
perennially troubled South Division High School, a school serving primarily Latinos on
Milwaukee’s South Side. “We were frustrated with the fact that no one would take
responsibility for what was happening,” said Linda Peters, the lead teacher at ALAS. In some
ways, it was remarkable that the rebellious South Division teachers found one another at all.
But, in addition to a burning desire actually to do something to help their students, they had
one thing in common: they all avoided the large high school’s teachers lounge like the
plague. “It was like a den of negativity,” one South Division refugee remarked.

At ALAS, there is no room for negativity, teachers say. As soon as a problem is identified,
it becomes the professional team’s collective responsibility to solve it. There is no need
to establish study commissions or run decisions through myriad layers of district-level
bureaucracy. Identify a problem, decide collectively on a solution, and implement it. The
model is about streamlined school operations. The hours are long, and the hats the
teacher/owners wear are many. The partners meet regularly to tackle problems as they arise,
and, because there is no principal, they can’t leave until someone has taken charge of
whatever situation the staff collectively deems worthy of an intervention.

Teachers say the most important change they sought from their teacher union contract was
the ability to choose like-minded colleagues who share their vision of education. If anything,
teachers say they would like even more flexibility on this issue for the sake of preserving school
culture. “We’re really hard on ourselves. The pressure comes from within,” says Kevin Kuschel,
who was driven to join the co-op, in part, by his belief that bilingual students were more capable
of taking Advanced Placement courses in subjects like history than South Division seemed to
believe. “This is our baby, and we want the baby to be successful,” Kuschel continues.

Even students see the difference in terms of staff cohesion when teacher partners work
as a team. “The students understand the staff is a unit. There is no playing one teacher off
against another,” Roxanne Mayeur, a teacher at Milwaukee’s Community High School, told




the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We don’t think administrators are useless or a negative
thing, [but] it is important that this movement be about teachers having more of a voice.”1

Mark Van Ryzin, a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota who has studied the
teacher partnerships in both Milwaukee and Minnesota, says that virtually anything is possible.
“With these professional partnerships, teachers can not only make more of the day-to-day
decisions but can also undertake whole-school reform and redesign” if they believe that’s what’s
necessary to contribute to student learning. “If the teachers, as a group, are more comfortable in
a traditional classroom-based school, that is what they create. If the teachers are reformers at
heart, they can incorporate any sort of pedagogical or technological innovation and create a very
different kind of school,” Van Ryzin points out. “The ultimate authority lies with them.”

Lead Teachers, Not Principals

Generally, there are no principals at these teacher-led schools, so that the teacher voice will
drive every decision regarding the education to be delivered. Instead of a principal, most
professional partnerships of teachers operate with a single teacher who is designated as the
“lead teacher.” These individuals are responsible for running partner meetings and other
events and for dealing with the state or district bureaucracies when that’s necessary.

Yet, even when the school community is sensitive to the need to share responsibilities,
many foundations and government agencies that work with the schools rely upon traditional
norms and require the signature of the school principal on forms. Teachers said this can be
a tricky hurdle, organizationally, because it means one person ends up getting a lot of
additional responsibility dumped into his or her lap. In Wisconsin, for example, the wording
of the state’s charter school law contributes to the piling-on for lead teachers because it
states that charters may be granted only to sole individuals, not teams of teachers, so one
teacher’s name automatically ends up on the charter contract. Several lead teachers
interviewed in Milwaukee expressed hints of frustration that they end up doing the work of
principals without the pay bump that serving as a principal usually provides.

Teachers in partnership schools also point out that some forms of decision making are
more fun—professionally speaking—than others. Everyone “wants to make a decision
about the budget, but no one wants to call a snow day,” says Avalon’s Whalen. She suggests
that there are some tasks—usually far removed from instruction—that teachers still want
someone else to deal with.

Many outsiders are quick to point out that ultimately someone must be in charge of
handling the day-to-day administrative duties. But supporters of the partnerships say the
fact that the “partnership” is responsible for the school doesn’t mean that there’s “nobody
in charge.” Rather, it means that the partnership—rather than a district central office—
decides who’s in charge and in charge of what. Some partnerships, for example, might opt
to hire an administrator to support the work of the teachers; others may decide to contract
out for administrative services, either because they prefer to have more time with students
or because they prefer not to have administrative work.

One thing that becomes clear at all of these teacher-run schools is that the workload for
teachers is considerably heavier than under traditional arrangements. Some observers worry
that this will work against bringing these teacher-run schools to scale. Simply put, they say,
these types of school ownership arrangements aren’t for everyone, and teachers must decide

CHAPTER 4 Organizational Change Practices 117

for themselves whether the professional satisfaction they gain is worth the cost in additional
time and responsibility. “One of the things I worry about is whether or not we can get
enough people to keep buying into this approach,” Whalen says. “You can’t hire the teacher
who thinks that teaching is a nine-month job. It really is a full-time commitment.”

1. Sarah Carr, “Where Teachers Rule: A School with No Principal?” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

July 18, 2005.

SOURCE: From “Revolution From the Faculty Lounge: The Emergence of Teacher-Led Schools and Cooperatives,” by Joe
Williams, 2007, Phi Delta Kappan, 89(3), pp. 210–216. Reprinted with permission.


• What forms of collective leadership do teacher-led schools illustrate?

• What strengths and weaknesses do these forms of leadership present for public schools?

• How can teacher cooperatives align their concepts of change and leadership with change practices to
take advantage of their strengths and decrease weaknesses?

• Who are the stakeholders in teacher-led schools? How do these schools benefit or create problems for
each group of stakeholders?

Adult Literacy Center

The mission of the Adult Literacy Center (ALC) is to help adults develop basic reading and
communication skills through one-on-one tutoring so that they can fulfill their goals and their
roles as citizens, workers, and family members. For adults with limited literacy skills, voting,
reading a newspaper, or even ordering food at a restaurant is a difficult task. Illiteracy is
commonly correlated with higher school dropout, unemployment, and crime rates and
increased poverty. Even more problematic, illiteracy has intergenerational consequences—
children of adults with limited literacy are more likely to have limited literacy skills.

The need for adult literacy education in Montclair Township was first identified by the
Edgemont Group of Montclair Township with the founding of the Adult Literacy Center’s
predecessor, Reading to Succeed Project (RSP) in 1987. The RSP was formed in response to
the ever increasing problem of adult literacy found throughout the township. It is estimated
that 52%, or 94 million, Americans read below the sixth-grade level, a number growing at
a rate of 2 million per year. The Literacy at Work study estimated the economic impact and
business losses attributable to basic skill deficiencies run into the hundreds of millions of
dollars. The Adult Literacy Center’s role as a nonprofit literacy program in reversing this trend


Appl i ca t ion 5 NONPROF I T



is accomplished through the dedicated work of a small, full-time staff that helps integrate
and connect tutors and students in one-on-one relationships to improve basic reading skills.

The Adult Literacy Center served 320 students in 2007, a sizable number given the
current levels of staffing, funding, and space, but this number is only a fraction of the
township’s 100,000 adults in need. The staff consists of four full-time employees, including
the executive director, office manager, education resource coordinator, and trainer/volunteer
coordinator; the seven part-time employees, who work between 4 and 20 hours per week;
and the volunteer tutors, whose number totals approximately 100.

Jane Atwater, the executive director, has been at ALC for 3 years; however, she has become
increasingly frustrated in her position, and rumors are circulating among staff members that
she plans to leave. A large part of her frustration stems from the board of directors. Turnover
on the board has been very high, and only one fourth of the members are continuing in their
position. The continuing members provide little stability because they are consumed with
arguing about which of them will become president. Board and subcommittee meetings are
sporadic and lack substance. Board members do not fully understand their roles and have not
played a vital role in fundraising, friend raising, or policy setting policy and direction for the
executive director. Their attempt to develop a strategic plan resulted in a document without
a clear vision or strategic direction and with only a few goals.

Jane spends most of her time developing and submitting grant applications to keep the
center running. Even though the ALC filmed a moving documentary with testimony from
graduates about the success of the program, the center lost its grant funding from the
township due to inadequate documentation and assessment of student progress. They had
little or no data (such as pre- and posttests) to support their case for continued funding.

Students speak in glowing terms about the program and their supportive tutors. However,
among the full-time staff, many personnel problems are brewing—in-fighting, claims of
favoritism, and employee turnover. Allegations of favoritism stem from board member
interference in hiring decisions—that is, board members using their influence to hire certain
part-time staff or volunteers into full-time positions. As a result, there is ongoing resentment
and limited teamwork among the staff.

The executive director is at her wits’ end. She has solicited the help of a nonprofit
institute at a nearby university to help turn this situation around.

SOURCE: This application is based on the research of members of the Leading Change class: Sean Baran, Sam Beese,
Marlene Bennett, Kristen Berlacher, Lauren Bifulco, Rachel Brushett, Drake Bushnell, Liz Friend,Whitney McComis, Meagan
Powell, Luke Purcell, Lindsey Reid, David Roberts, Killian Tormey, and Will Vanthunen.


• How should Jane Atwater and the nonprofit institute begin the change process in this situation?

• Considering the various stakeholders, what concepts and practices of leading change should they consider?



Community and
Organizational Change


Social capital

Asset based—Deficit or needs based
Representation and participation

Values—A cohesive sense of

Change, conflict, and collaboration

Initiative, inclusiveness, and

Adaptive work
Community leadership—

Leadership without authority


Vertical and horizontal

Expert advice


action research

Asset mapping


Change Context

Richard A. Couto, Sarah Hippensteel Hall, and Marti Goetz


Change within the community context permits the introduction of new elements
into the theoretical concepts of leadership and offers a different perspective on
leadership for change, such as power and empowerment. This perspective pays
attention to the nature of representation and participation in change efforts. Social
capital, implied in all efforts at change, is particularly relevant in the community
context. Field, a concept of change discussed at some length in Chapter 7 in its
application to the political context, plays an important role in the community con-
text as well.
Community change, not unlike change in other contexts, requires information.

In the community change context, change agents turn to their own resources to
conduct participatory action research (PAR). This is one small manifestation of an
asset-based approach, which concentrates on the resources a group has, as opposed
to a deficit-based approach, which concentrates on the resources a group lacks.
Advocacy plays a role in community change not seen in other change contexts.

Purpose of Community Change

At the overlay of theoretical concepts of leadership, theoretical concepts of change,
and change practices resides the purpose of community leadership for change: the
vitality of a democratic civil society. Citizen leadership and voluntary associations
and advocacy groups form one leg of the three-legged stool of civil society. These


citizen groups hold government agencies accountable for the enforcement of regu-
lations and prod them to action. Citizen groups also play a role in guaranteeing that
businesses are mindful of the health of their workers and neighbors and of the envi-
ronmental quality of the surrounding area.
Without citizen leadership and the values of community that it brings to the

decision-making process, choices all too frequently reflect the expeditious consid-
eration of business and political interests.


CC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt eeCC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt ee

Citizens for the Responsible
Destruction of Chemical Weapons

The Dayton Daily News headline read, “A Victory for All the Little Guys” (McCarty, 2003), and the
“little guys” of Jefferson Township were celebrating. The Army had announced a stop-work order
on a contract it had awarded to a local waste-treatment company, Perma-Fix. Thus, an industrial
hazardous chemical, VX hydrolysate, would not be transported into the community for treatment
and discharged into the county’s wastewater-treatment facility. Mary Johnson, a celebrating
member of the grassroots organization Citizens for the Responsible Destruction of Chemical
Weapons (CRDCW) happily invoked the David and Goliath parallel: “It just goes to show you what
a community of different people can do when it comes together” (DeBrosse, 2003a).

The case of the CRDCW invites examination of Johnson’s pride in community leadership for
change. Some generic aspects of change leadership can certainly be found in the community
context, but some unique aspects of change leadership reside there as well. For example, whereas
values may be common to the theoretical concepts of leadership in all contexts, leadership in the
community context generally emerges when a threat to a group with some cohesive identity
surfaces. In an effort to thwart this threat and preserve community, community leadership
conducts adaptive work that differs from that conducted by leadership in all other contexts in its
lack of formal authority of position. Thus, the adaptive work of community leadership most closely
resembles leadership without authority (Heifetz, 1994; Heifetz, 2007). Likewise, although
empowerment applies to leadership in all contexts, in the community context lies empowerment’s
most genuine form—self-empowerment—that which entails full participation and direct
representation of community members in decision making. This type of empowerment leads to
examination of a much-neglected area of study about leadership and change—power (Csaszar,
2005; Hughes, Wheeler, & Eyben, 2005; Rowlands, 1997).

Following the 1997 U.S. ratification of the international Chemical Weapons Convention treaty
and the passage of several U.S. laws, the U.S. Army became responsible for destroying its chemical
weapons stockpile. VX, a nerve agent so deadly that less than 0.001 of an ounce of the thick, oily
liquid can kill if it comes into contact with the skin or is inhaled, was one of those slated for
neutralization. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the army expedited the
neutralization of its VX stockpile, which had been stored in sturdy steel containers at the Newport
(Indiana) Chemical Depot. The use of sodium hydroxide in neutralizing VX created a highly
corrosive by-product, VX hydrolysate. The army had very limited experience in treating and
disposing of VX hydrolysate (National Research Council, 1998).

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 123

On January 9, 2003, the army awarded a subcontract to Perma-Fix Environmental Services for
the treatment and disposal of its VX hydrolysate by-product. Perma-Fix, a national environmental
services company, provides waste-management and industrial waste–management services to
hospitals, research laboratories, nuclear plants, and other institutions and agencies, including the
U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense, at its nine major waste-treatment facilities across the
country. The subcontract called for Perma-Fix to treat about 300,000 gallons of VX hydrolysate—
about 80 truckloads—at its plant in the Drexel neighborhood of Jefferson Township in Montgomery
County, Ohio. The township is a mix of urban neighborhoods and rural farmland. The urban area,
Drexel, abuts Dayton and has about 30% of the township’s almost 7,000 residents. Thirty-five
percent of Drexel’s population is African American, and 33% of its families have incomes below the
poverty level, according to the 2000 U.S. Census Report. Shipments were scheduled to come almost
200 miles from the Newport Chemical Weapons Depot to Drexel beginning in October 2003.

Community Residents Become Alarmed. The army’s plans alarmed some local residents, who
had successfully opposed proposals for landfills in their area beginning in the late 1980s. They had
stayed together as an informal group, Land Lovers against Neighborhood Dumps (LLAND), without
directors, officers, or a tax-exempt status. A telephone tree kept them informed and organized.

In August 2002, LLAND concluded its protest of another proposed landfill just as rumors began
to circulate that Perma-Fix was looking into an army contract to dispose of a hazardous material.
No one had ever heard of VX hydrolysate, so Laura Rench, a founder of LLAND, began researching
it. Rench grew up in Jefferson Township and owned and managed a local Christmas tree farm there.

She called Perma-Fix and asked the company to confirm or dispel the rumors about the plan to
treat VX hydrolysate in a Drexel waste-management facility. When Perma-Fix didn’t give her an
answer, she spoke to the Jefferson Township trustees. The three trustees were aware of Perma-
Fix’s discussions with the army, assured Rench that the proposal was a good one that would bring
jobs to the area, and told her about the scheduled public meeting mentioned in the contract
(L. Rench, personal communication, September 2, 2005).

Rench’s conversations with the residents of the Drexel area offered cause for alarm. Residents
had been very unhappy since Perma-Fix moved to their area in 1986. The Dayton Daily News had
reported neighborhood complaints and employee accidents several times. Most recently, in
October of 1999, a near-fatal accident occurred when a worker inhaled toxic fumes while cleaning
the inside of a tanker truck (Mong, 1999a). That same month the newspaper reported that
residents in the area were complaining of “foul-smelling, headache-producing air,” which they
believed was coming from the Perma-Fix plant (Mong, 1999b, p. 1).

While gathering this information, Rench met Drexel resident Michelle Cooper. News of the VX
hydrolysate contract renewed Cooper’s long-time concerns with Perma-Fix. The two women joined
forces and began going door to door in the neighborhood. They shared the little information they
had with residents but encountered many people who were reluctant to talk with them. People
seemed fearful about standing up to the U.S. Army at a time when the nation was preparing to
invade Iraq to neutralize its alleged stock of weapons of mass destruction, including, ironically,
VX. This initial reluctance of Drexel neighbors to talk or take action frustrated Rench and Cooper,
who felt a sense of urgency because there was very little time to organize and they had not even
completed their research on VX hydrolysate. Meanwhile, the U.S. Army had already awarded the
contract to Perma-Fix and wanted the neutralization process to begin in 10 months.




Alarm Becomes Action. To reach and recruit more residents, Rench and Cooper called a
meeting at a local elementary school for January 17, 2003. A LLAND member suggested to Rench
that she should contact Jane Forrest Redfern, who had helped LLAND on a landfill fight in the area
in her role as executive director of Ohio Citizen Action (OCA). Founded in 1975, OCA, the state’s
largest environmental organization with 100,000 dues-paying members, had successfully helped
many Ohio communities deal with environmental issues, including hazardous-waste concerns,
groundwater protection, and new landfill locations. It followed a community-organizing model
first laid out by the father of community organizing, Saul Alinsky (1971). Redfern had worked for
several decades in the Dayton area on environmental protection issues and had a history of
significant local accomplishments in reducing risks to the Miami Valley’s drinking water supply.
One person who had worked with Redfern described her as being “as comfortable in a room full
of developers as she is in a room full of environmentalists. She helps people find their voice, which
is one of the purest forms of effective leadership” (Dempsey, 2003).

Rench invited Redfern to this first meeting and shared the information she had gathered and
the community’s concerns. Rench also told Redfern that she needed to “charge the group up”
(L. Rench, personal communication, September 2, 2005). Redfern agreed to help and got excited
about the issue and what the community could do to protect itself from the threat of VX
hydrolysate. Using the LLAND telephone tree, Rench informed people of the meeting.

At the same time Rench was recruiting Redfern, Willa Bronston, an African American resident of
Drexel, independently began her opposition to the Perma-Fix VX hydrolysate disposal plan. She first
heard about the plan on the local evening news and immediately called a township trustee to see what
could be done to stop the plan. Nothing, she was told. Bronston heard about the meeting LLAND was
organizing and decided to attend (W. Bronston, personal communication, September 8, 2005).

The night of the meeting, Redfern, with relatively little knowledge of the VX hydrolysate issue,
used her experience to shape the agenda. She knew the meeting had to address two questions:
What do residents want for their community? When will residents know they have won? Such
meetings, she had learned, often generate four responses to these questions: a short-term
solution, a long-term solution, a call for government action, and a desire for reliable information
from someone residents can trust to be accountable. Redfern asked the dozen or so people in the
room to introduce themselves and then conducted an inventory of what people knew about the
issue. During the course of the meeting, as Redfern expected, those attending provided clear
answers to two of the four questions:

• They wanted the U.S. Army to keep the treated nerve agent by-product in Newport and not
send it to Drexel for secondary treatment.

• They wanted Perma-Fix to be a good neighbor and abide by environmental regulations and
not pollute the nearby neighborhoods or the environment.

• They wanted public officials, government agencies, and companies to be accountable for
their actions and inactions.

• They wanted the truth. (W. Bronston, personal communication, September 8, 2005;
J. Redfern, personal communication, September 6, 2005; L. Rench, personal communication,
September 2, 2005)

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 125

Redfern asked LLAND members to take inventory of their resources, including the skills and
knowledge available within their own ranks and the skills and knowledge they would need to
obtain outside the group (J. Redfern, personal communication, September 6, 2005). This inventory
helped the group identify and assess their allies, those whose support they needed, those likely to
oppose them, and those neutral about the issue.

Redfern explained the issues at stake and what it would take for the community to stop Perma-
Fix from bringing the VX hydrolysate to the neighborhood. Drawing on her experience, she assured
them they could prevail against Perma-Fix and the U.S. Army. Encouraged by the accomplishments
of so much in just a few hours, LLAND members left the meeting buoyed by newfound confidence.
They began to conduct further library and Internet research to determine the accuracy of their
information and to identify any gaps in information.

On January 23, 2003, the U.S. Army and Perma-Fix held a daytime public-information session,
set up like an open house with display booths, at the Board of Education building. Bronston called
her lifelong friend Mary Johnson and two other neighbors and asked them to attend the meeting.
They observed right away that few people were in attendance and began to worry that the low
turnout might be interpreted as tacit community support of the project. When Bronston and her
friends asked the U.S. Army and Perma-Fix representatives about the experiences at other
treatment locations for VX hydrolysate, they learned that the process was experimental. They left
with the same concerns they had brought to the meeting—concerns about risks to the residents
living near the Perma-Fix facility, especially given that the Drexel neighborhood didn’t have a fire
department nearby to respond to emergencies.

Even though they had met Redfern and Rench, Bronston and Johnson did not interact much
with the LLAND group, and they did their own research. Johnson, a retired nurse, wanted to
understand the basic science of nerve gas and what happens to it during disposal. Bronston and
Johnson canvassed their neighborhood, knocking on hundreds of doors, talking to people about
what they knew, and asking for help. But they found, as Rench had, that most people expressed
a reluctance to be involved.

They created a presentation to give to township trustees, county commissioners, and officials in
the fire department, the wastewater-treatment plant, the environmental agency, and other agencies.
At the Montgomery County Commission meeting on February 4, 2003, they did their best to present
all their findings, concerns, and questions within the 3-minute timeframe allotted to each of them.
When the commissioners asked the two women what they wanted them to do, Bronston and
Johnson responded that they would like the commissioners to take a moral stand. The commissioners
declined to do so, leaving Bronston and Johnson very disappointed (W. Bronston, personal
communication, September 8, 2005; M. Johnson, personal communication, September 8, 2005).

Several LLAND members also attended the commission meeting. Afterwards, they spoke with
Bronston and Johnson about working together. Up to this point, two separate teams had been
doing the same research and coming to the same conclusions. Bronston and her friends met with
LLAND members several times and eventually decided to join forces to form Citizens for the
Responsible Destruction of Chemical Weapons (CRDCW).

Mobilizing Resources. CRDCW moved into action and divided responsibilities. Bronston and
Johnson were asked to visit every jurisdiction in the Greater Dayton area, ask for residents’




support, and encourage communities to pass resolutions against the VX hydrolysate disposal plan.
Bronston and Johnson met with residents of cities, towns, and villages; members of churches, the
NAACP, and the Urban League; officials of regional government agencies; and many other
individuals. Having learned from their experience with the Montgomery County commissioners,
they drafted a resolution that the officials could use as a template to pass a resolution against the
plan. Then when officials asked what Bronston and Johnson wanted them to do, the women
handed them the draft resolution and asked them to support it (W. Bronston, personal
communication, September 8, 2005; M. Johnson, personal communication, September 8, 2005).

In the meantime, Rench, Redfern, and other members of the original LLAND group conducted
research and enlisted Ellis Jacobs of the Legal Aid Society of Dayton in their cause. They knew Legal
Aid was a nonprofit organization that provided civil legal assistance to poor families and
individuals in the Greater Dayton area, including communities such as Drexel. Jacobs immediately
went to work trying to find ways that the army contract could be rescinded or cancelled. He quickly
learned that the VX hydrolysate disposal plan at Drexel didn’t contain an environmental impact
statement (EIS). All federal agencies, including the U.S. Army, are required by the National
Environmental Policy Act to conduct a study on the consequence of any action on the environment.
Jacobs sent a letter to the U.S. Army stating that no EIS was on file for the proposed disposal
process slated for the Perma-Fix facility. The army responded that it had filed a “generic off-site
disposal facility” EIS and a Final Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the area, land,
ecological resources, water, socioeconomic resources, or people “living near the site.” Both of these
documents had been filed before the selection of the Drexel site. Jacobs pointed out the obvious,
namely, that the EIS and FONSI could not be applied to Drexel without first conducting a study of
the impact on Drexel specifically (E. Jacobs, personal communication, September 2, 2005).

Jacobs also discovered that the U.S. Army had a clause in its proposed contract with Perma-Fix
of Dayton that required “public acceptance” of the plan before Perma-Fix could begin treating
shipments of VX hydrolysate and then discharging it into Montgomery County’s wastewater-
treatment system. At the request of Jacobs and the CRDCW, U.S. Representative Mike Turner asked
the army to define public acceptance (J. Redfern, September 6, 2005). In his response, Assistant
Secretary of the Army Claude M. Bolton Jr. explained to Jacobs that approval of the Ohio EPA, with
its public involvement process, satisfied the army’s public acceptance requirement. The Ohio EPA,
on the other hand, told Jacobs that it had no authority in the matter, and even if it did public
involvement did not mean public acceptance; approval of a permit did not require the latter
(E. Jacobs, personal communication, September 2, 2005). Legally, the army was obligated to
demonstrate public acceptance of the project, however tortuous the logic of setting criteria might
be. Bronston and Johnson’s work proved invaluable in suggesting a lack of public acceptance.
They obtained resolutions opposing the VX hydrolysate disposal plan from 37 entities, including
20 different jurisdictions!

CRDCW members took other steps to display the lack of public acceptance. They scheduled an
accountability session on April 10, 2003, at the local high school to bring all parties together in
one place and to show that the community was active and organized. They compiled a list of local,
state, and federal public officials and agency representatives, making sure to include the
Montgomery County commissioners, and U.S. Army and Perma-Fix representatives. The CRDCW
sent an invitation explaining the purpose of the meeting and stating that invitees would find their

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 127

name and affiliation on a designated chair at the front of the room. The CRDCW also informed the
media of the session. Thus, members of the audience and the media could easily ascertain which
agencies had failed to send a representative by looking at the clearly labeled empty chairs. The
CRDCW asked each agency to give a 5-minute presentation about what their agency was doing
about the issue. More than 200 people attended. Redfern recalled an army representative claiming
that the meeting “was the most well-organized session they had ever attended” (J. Redfern,
personal communication, September 6, 2005).

Redfern also taught CRDCW members to work with the media in a way that generated a lot of
negative publicity about the issue. CRDCW members learned how to issue press releases, contact
the assignment editor, and follow up once a press release was issued. Redfern suggested a goal
of some kind of media exposure about the VX hydrolysate disposal plan and the problems at the
Perma-Fix facility no less than once every 10 days. CRDCW far exceeded this goal. The Dayton
Daily News ran nearly 70 articles about VX hydrolysate or the Perma-Fix facility from the time
Redfern was invited to help the CRDCW in January 2003 to the battle’s conclusion in October
2003—an average of one story every 4 days.

Media events and coverage helped get the word out about the issue and build community
opposition to the VX hydrolysate disposal plan. Eventually, the CRDCW framed its fight in a
national context, explaining that the Drexel community health effects resulting from such a
disposal plan would have ramifications across the country. At about the same time, the U.S. Army
began to make decisions about the best places to neutralize their chemical stockpiles given
Homeland Security concerns. The army decided temporarily that keeping the VX hydrolysate in
Newport was a better idea than risking additional Homeland Security issues by transporting it the
long distance to Drexel on public transportation routes.

CRDCW raised residents’ awareness of environmental issues. For example, Redfern began
educating the neighbors near the Perma-Fix facility about the firm’s history of environmental
problems, such as the release of noxious fumes that caused burning eyes, nausea, and headaches.
One resident said, “Often, particularly in the morning, it smells so awful that I get dizzy and sick
to my stomach” (E. Jacobs, personal communication, September 2, 2005). The problem was particularly
evident in the evenings and on weekends, whether because it was worse at those times or simply
more noticeable given that more people were at home during those times.

Redfern taught neighborhood residents to record their daily observations. They were given odor
and incident logs and asked to record any air-related issues, including the date and time and a
description of what occurred. Redfern urged residents to call the Regional Air Pollution Control
Agency (RAPCA) each time they noticed a strong odor or suspected a violation. RAPCA’s mission
is to protect the citizens of the Miami Valley from the adverse health and welfare impacts of air
pollution. RAPCA has the initial responsibility for maintaining air quality in Montgomery County
through enforcement of federal, state, and local air-pollution regulations and implementation of
the state’s industrial-permit system. RAPCA began to receive an average of two complaints a
week from residents in the area.

Redfern also instructed community members in how to conduct a survey of health incidents
that occurred around the Perma-Fix facility, which she then submitted to the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The ATSDR, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, has a mission to serve the public by using the best science, taking




responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful
exposures and disease related to toxic substances.

Seeking Public Action and Local Support. RAPCA records, which Jacobs required the agency to
make public, showed the agency found 150 “instances of emissions” attributable to biological
reactors from 2001 to 2003. These emissions produced strong odors and caused many people to
suffer from burning eyes. Jacobs also learned that in January 2002 RAPCA had notified officials
at Perma-Fix and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that Perma-Fix was in violation of
federal clean air laws. Since then, RAPCA and the Ohio EPA had been awaiting a ruling from the
U.S. EPA that would confirm a violation before following up on this finding. In the meantime,
residents, frustrated with RAPCA’s inaction, started calling the local Ohio EPA office to complain.
The Ohio EPA referred them back to RAPCA. Residents came to realize that unless they demanded
action, discussions of the VX hydrolysate issue would simply continue unabated in a bureaucratic
stalemate, much like discussion of the 2002 federal clean air violation.

Jacobs sent a letter to RAPCA and the Ohio EPA director pressing one or the other agency to
act. Jacobs explained to the Dayton Daily News, “We’re saying we don’t care. Somebody needs to
pick up the ball on this, and it’s a big ball” (DeBrosse, 2003c; E. Jacobs, personal communication,
September 2, 2005). As Drexel neighbors collected more complaints about air emissions, they
became more upset that no one was addressing their complaints (J. Redfern, personal
communication, September 6, 2005). Finally, after months of receiving surveys and logs from
neighbors, RAPCA stated in a letter dated June 12, 2003, that it would start daily surveillance of
the Perma-Fix facility’s air emissions (E. Jacobs, personal communication, September 2, 2005).

CRDCW members not only undertook a broad media campaign, they also undertook a deep
media campaign on a local level. They posted fliers all over the affected communities, including in
grocery stores and churches. Members stood on local street corners gathering signatures on
petitions and telling people about the issue at the same time.

Most of these efforts proved effective in raising awareness and recruiting people to oppose
the VX hydrolysate disposal plan, but one of them backfired. CRDCW encouraged people to sign
preprinted postcards it created and then mail the cards to the program manager of the U.S.
Army, Office for Chemical Demilitarization, who oversaw the neutralization issue. The postcard
read, “As a resident of the Miami Valley, I strongly oppose transporting partially treated VX
Nerve Agent (VX hydrolysate) to the Miami Valley for further treatment and disposal into our
sewers and waterways” (J. Redfern, personal communication, September 6, 2005). Hundreds of
people signed these cards, added their names and addresses, and mailed them. The army’s
policy of sending an acknowledgment letter for every letter received meant that everyone who
filled in their name and address received a letter from the U.S. Army that stated, “The Army is
also doing its best to support Homeland Security Initiatives by eliminating a potential terrorist
target as expediently as possible” (E. Jacobs, personal communication, September 2, 2005). At
a time when the army was at war and terrorist threats ranged from orange to red, these letters
raised questions about CRDCW’s credibility among some local residents (L. Rench, personal
communication, September 2, 2005).

During this time, the U.S. Army was recruiting members for their community advisory panel and
implementing their plan for outreach activities and public involvement. But only one community

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 129

representative actually joined the panel. The panel held three meetings—March 18, April 2, and
May 29—to “educate the community” and answer questions about the VX hydrolysate disposal
plan. Representatives from the CRDCW attended each of the three meetings. They asked the panel
prepared questions and, after receiving answers, they stood up, sang a gospel song, and left.

In addition to these public forums, in May 2003 Jacobs signaled that a local resident and the
NAACP were prepared to go to federal court to sue the U.S. EPA, the Ohio EPA, and Perma-Fix of
Dayton for violation of Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice
in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. Jacobs explained that the U.S. Army was in
violation of the law by its action to move a hazardous program from the Newport Chemical Depot
to the Drexel neighborhood in Jefferson Township:

The U.S. Army is clearly violating the Executive Order on Environmental Justice by moving the
second phase of treatment from a rural location that is 97 percent white and where treatment
will take place at least 2.6 miles from residences to a densely-populated urban location where
the treatment will take place directly across the street from residences in an area that is more
than 33 percent people of color and where no less than 33 percent of the households are
below the poverty level. (E. Jacobs, personal communication, September 2, 2005)

Jacobs pointed out that the army acknowledged there would be hazardous air emissions from
handling and processing VX hydrolysate and dangers from transportation and processing
accidents and fires. Yet the army had not made any effort to measure the effects on the
environment, the surrounding neighborhood, and the health of individuals stemming from the
specific process to be used at Perma-Fix. After further research, the Legal Aid Society of Dayton
filed suit in August 2003 against the U.S. Army and its program manager for chemical
demilitarization on behalf of CRDCW and several local residents.

Despite all of this, Montgomery County commissioners still refused to speak out against the VX
hydrolysate disposal plan or become directly involved in any way. The CRDCW insisted that they
get involved because the commissioners had control over the county wastewater-treatment plant,
which would have to handle the discharge from the Perma-Fix-treated VX hydrolysate.

When the commissioners finally acted, they hired an outside consultant to determine how
the discharge would affect the county’s wastewater-treatment process; the commission was
responsible for the quality of discharge that left the county wastewater-treatment facility and
flowed into the river, regardless of where the waste came from before it entered their plant. In
response to the consultant’s report, on October 8, 2003, the Montgomery County Sanitary
Engineer’s Office refused to issue a permit for the Perma-Fix facility to discharge treated waste
products from neutralized VX hydrolysate into the county’s wastewater system. It cited “the
considerable number of unanswered questions, incomplete, missing or inadequate data, apparent
treatment process deficiencies and the risks—health and ecological—involved” (DeBrosse,
2003b, p. A1).

On October 11, 2003, U.S. Representative Mike Turner called Redfern to officially announce
that the U.S. Army was withdrawing its contract from the Perma-Fix facility in Dayton. The CRDCW
drafted a press release and arranged for a press conference with Representative Turner. The U.S.
Army did not state the exact reason it had withdrawn the contract. Regardless, the CRDCW—the
little guys—had won!

Concepts of Change

So how does a relatively powerless and underrepresented group of people organize
to effectively protect their community against the threat of an environmental haz-
ard? What is the recipe that brings individuals together around a local issue and
helps them succeed in their fight? The answers entail familiar aspects of theoretical
concepts of leadership—values, adaptive work, leadership without authority, and
the common and distinguishing elements of leadership. These concepts may apply
a bit differently in the community context. The primary value and nature of adap-
tive work in this and other community change contexts, for example, are the
defense of a community against a threat. The community context also best illus-
trates leadership without authority or at least without positional authority.
As is often the case, an expansive field of actors and events surrounded what

appeared to be a local change effort. CRDCW faced the threat of global terrorism,
specifically the fear of a terrorist attack that would release deadly VX somewhere in
the United States. The U.S. war in Iraq played a minor part in the case, given its
association with the war on terror in general and its initial, ironic mission to
destroy Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, including VX. National
and international disarmament efforts started the VX hydrolysate problem by
requiring the neutralization of VX. The corporate structure of Perma-Fix and its
safety-practice history involving local, state, and federal environmental agencies,
factored into the case. The county engineer, commissioners, and a consultant from
Northwestern University all played a part in assessing the quality of the wastewater
resulting from the VX hydrolysate treatment.
Some actors and groups in this case clearly had local roots. The work LLAND

had done in opposing landfills in the area had a cumulative effect on the local citi-
zenry. No one could have foretold how LLAND’s work years earlier would influence
the efforts of CRDCW. Similarly, Ohio Citizen Action and the Legal Aid Society of
Dayton did not have previous ties to CRDCW. Nevertheless, both organizations
offered relevant skills and resources in support of CRDCW efforts.
Racism played a major role in this case as well. The history of racism in the

United States led to legislation designed to prevent the perpetration of further
injustices against minorities by prohibiting the disposal of toxic wastes in minority
communities (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1998). This legisla-
tion gave CRDCW a strong legal footing for combating the proposed VX hydrolysate
treatment plant in the Drexel community.

Social Capital

Looking at the VX hydrolysate case through the lens of social capital also proves
instructive. Sociologist James Coleman first developed the concept of social capital
as an analog to other forms of capital—financial, physical, and human—in organi-
zational and for-profit contexts. He used it to refer to the bonds among people who
are the human capital of an organization. Political scientist Robert Putnam (1995,
2000; Putnam, Leonardi, & Raffaella, 1993) took this concept and considerably


expanded it to include social networks among people in community contexts.
These community social networks stemmed from membership in groups ranging
from labor organizations to bird-watching clubs. The cultural norms of trust and
cooperation developed in these community settings spilled over, in Putnam’s esti-
mation, into business and political contexts. Putnam later researched membership
in various associations and groups in the United States and found a decline in social
capital; more people were bowling alone, in a manner of speaking, than in leagues.
Putnam’s social capital thesis may come into play in the VX hydrolysate disposal
case to explain how LLAND and other associations provided experience in group
action that permitted Bronston, Cooper, Johnson, and Rench to collaborate quickly.
His thesis falls short in explaining why residents of Drexel and Jefferson
Township—one better off than the other—both had the social capital to collabo-
rate. If poverty is associated with a deficit of social capital, then the low-income
neighborhoods should have remained inactive.
The lens of citizen leadership provides another look at social capital, especially

when citizen leaders are considered social capital entrepreneurs. Citizen leadership
suggests that social capital is not so much a characteristic of a group or an individ-
ual as it is an investment in people as members of a community. This investment
includes not only developing the moral resources of trust, cooperation, and associ-
ation but also fostering the social goods and services that permit people to sustain
themselves in a community marked by a reasonable degree of well-being. Most
often, public policy in the United States invests social capital—education, health
care, income floors, and so on—based on membership in the workforce. The more
lucrative your work, the more social capital you have; the more social capital
invested in you, the better your employment opportunities. Citizen leaders become
social capital entrepreneurs by investing in people regardless of their place in the
labor force and sometimes precisely because they are not part of the labor force—
the elderly and very young, disabled, unskilled, and unemployed—and thus are
likely to be bypassed by other forms of social capital investment.
In the VX hydrolysate disposal case, the concept of social capital entrepreneur-

ship counted the environment as a social good. The risks associated with the dis-
posal of VX hydrolysate fell to Drexel because the neighborhood had a dearth of
social capital investment. More precisely, Drexel was put at risk of social capital dis-
investment by the proposed disposal plan that almost certainly would have resulted
in the degradation of the neighborhood’s environment, thereby denying residents
the ability to sustain themselves in a community of well-being. The relation of envi-
ronmental risks and social capital as investment in people as workforce members
implicitly resides in the environmental justice policies of the EPA. The pattern of
locating the most toxic wastes in communities with the least income and lowest
rates of employment underscores the neglect of social goods among people not
considered valuable to the workforce. Although legislation exists that was intended
to redress this type of inequity, it might never have been acknowledged without the
citizen leadership, or social capital entrepreneurship, of CRDCW. CRDCW invested
the moral resources necessary to guarantee that the social good of environmental
quality not be further eroded in a low-income, high-unemployment area.

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 131


Empowerment is a specific moral resource best expressed in leadership change
efforts at the community level. Discussions of empowerment often confuse it with
the delegation of power and sometimes with the mere appearance of change in the
forms and expressions of power. Genuine empowerment, by contrast, involves new
and improved forms of representation and participation in decision making. Social
advocacy pioneer Sherry R. Arnstein (1969) assembled a ladder of participation
ranging from citizen control at one end to manipulation at the other, with varying
degrees of effective and ineffective participation in between. These levels of partic-
ipation are in turn marked by varying degrees of influence and power. A ladder of
participation and representation appears in Figure 5.1. The three top rungs of par-
ticipation entail degrees of power, and the next three entail degrees of recognition
that imply some power. The last two rungs, therapy and manipulation, are forms of
control by those in authority and nonparticipation by those served by programs.
Accompanying these forms of participation are forms of representation that range
from direct participation, as exemplified by the participation of CRDCW members
in their own meetings as well as the panel meetings organized by the U.S. Army and
Perma-Fix, to indirect participation, as exemplified by the citizens selected by the
U.S. Army and Perma-Fix to represent residents of the area. The degree of direct
representation and full participation in the accountability session offered an even
clearer distinction: CRDCW practiced citizen control by organizing the account-
ability session and then setting the rules, including representation and participa-
tion of authorities, and CRDCW practiced consultation and informing during the
panel sessions that were governed by rules established by individuals in positions
of authority.

The Facets and Forms of Power

Empowerment, as measured by representation and participation, brings us face
to face with power, a much-neglected element of leadership, according to James
MacGregor Burns (2007, pp. v–vi). Political sociologist John Gaventa’s (1980) early
work brought the three dimensions of power to the fore in a synthesis and analytical


FIGURE 5.1 A Ladder of Citizen Participation

Citizen control
Delegated power

Degrees of citizen power Full participation


Degrees of tokenism Partial participation

Manipulation Degrees of nonparticipation Disfranchisement

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 133

framework of the history of a coal-mining region of central Appalachia. In his
book, Gaventa dealt exclusively with one form of power—power over others—and
resistance to it. Gaventa explained then and more recently that power over others
has three dimensions:

• Visible—when those in authority use sanctions or coercion to accomplish
their ends, often expressing the futility of resistance by saying things like “You
can’t fight the Army!”

• Hidden—when those in authority do not have to make their power visible by
using sanctions and coercion because the people’s mere knowledge of the
authorities’ capability to use sanctions and coercion is enough to deter
opposition. Such was the case when Perma-Fix and the U.S. Army used a
generic environmental-impact statement rather than one specific to the Drexel

• Invisible—when groups in and out of power hold to the same set of beliefs
about what is right and just. Even though these beliefs support great inequal-
ity, they are not viewed as unjust but as part of a natural order that social con-
ditions manifest. The hesitancy to confront the U.S. Army at a time when it
was mobilizing to conduct a war on terrorism draws on values to which
almost all Americans are thoroughly socialized. (Gaventa, 1980, 2005)

Empowerment increases the visibility of power: People move from the “com-
monsense” acceptance of a decision, such as the location of a VX hydrolysate–
processing plant at Drexel, to the realization that there are winners and losers
hidden in any arrangement. When people challenge the arrangement, their power
becomes visible. Redfern played a key role in this process of power analysis, or what
Paulo Freire (1993), a Brazilian adult educator, calls conscientization.
But a complete analysis of empowerment must not only consider the power over

but also the power to, defined as the sense of power that individuals or group
members must possess if they are to bring about change. In the VX hydrolysate case,
this sense of power began with Redfern’s explanation of what needed to be done
and her confidence that the group could succeed with hard work. The power within
and the power with go hand in hand with the power to. Empowered group members
come to understand the power they have as part of the group (the power with) and
the power group members have within themselves (the power within). Using this
power entails serious internal conflict because people who have come to accept hid-
den forms of power—the invisible dimension of power over—must now challenge
their “commonsense” views. This brings them to unfamiliar and uncertain territory
that may be somewhat intimidating. For example, CRDCW experienced a setback
in its mobilization efforts when residents who had registered their opposition to VX
hydrolysate reprocessing in Drexel received letters from the U.S. Army invoking
homeland security. These letters fed residents’ doubts about their power to chal-
lenge an authority such as the U.S. Army about certain decisions it makes.
A true sense of empowerment does not take the form of power over other group

members but is much more aligned with a sense of power to bring about change by

developing a sense of power within one’s self and then seeking to direct that power
in collaboration with others. Ultimately, community change leadership, much more
than change leadership in other contexts, emphasizes power as a resource a group
may mobilize to conduct its adaptive work.
Gaventa (2005) offered a “Rubik’s power cube” analogy. The cube contains the

four forms of power—over, to, with, and within (Csaszar, 2004; Hughes et al., 2005;
Rowlands, 1997). Each form has three dimensions—visible, hidden, or invisible.
Gaventa added different levels for power and participation—global, national, and
local. Clearly, CRDCW participated and exercised power primarily, but not exclu-
sively, at the local level. When CRDCW members asked a congressional representa-
tive to clarify the nature of public approval of U.S. Army plans for disposal of
hazardous wastes and their by-products, what had been a local issue took on
national implications. The CRDCW also played a small part in the global effort to
deal with weapons of mass destruction.
Gaventa (2005) suggested that power and participation occur in different

spaces—closed, invited, and claimed or created. CRDCW encouraged the partici-
pation of residents at its meetings, thereby creating spaces for people to discover the
power within them to work with others to accomplish change. CRDCW members
claimed space by singing in panel meetings where they were expected only to listen
and ask questions. Clearly, they did not participate in the space where the army
made its final decision to cancel the contract with Perma-Fix. But their organized
resistance to the plan represented a new space for both them and the army.

Power over continues as long as people focus only on the closed or invited spaces
dictated by those in positions of authority and power. Empowerment comes with a
sense of the power within groups without authority to create space for participation
and decision making. Again, the accountability meeting and the panel meetings
demonstrated the power of the “powerless” party to create a space in which all par-
ties are invited to participate.
This discussion of power underscores the relational dimension of leadership and

change. Power with has a synergistic quality. It has roots in the power within and the
power to. It undermines the authority of those who rely on power over. It spills over
into new forms of representation and participation in decision making, all of which
promote genuine forms of empowerment. This implies that the forms and amounts
of power are not fixed but created and cocreated. Thus, power within is the self-
discovery of capacity for action and power to is the exercise of that sense of agency.
Done in conjunction with others—namely, power with—these two forms of power
create a synergy of vitality and transformation at the personal, local, national, and
global levels of Gaventa’s Rubik’s cube.

Concepts of Leadership

Values—A Cohesive Sense of Community

The values of community—some sense of connectedness to a place, a group of
people, or a common problem or an issue—lie at the center of theoretical concepts


of leadership. Although a sense of community may often be present among a group
of people, something needs to trigger it so that people mobilize resources. Most
often this trigger takes the form of a clear threat to the community, such as the envi-
ronmental threat described in the case study in this chapter.
Jefferson Township gradually became more cohesive as more residents learned

of the VX hydrolysate problem. People called on friends to accompany them to
meetings. A telephone tree created to combat a previous environmental threat to
the community still connected people to each other years after the initial impetus
to assemble it had passed. Residents made new community connections based on a
sense of place and a common threat. Black and White residents collaborated.
Residents mobilized group resources to do the adaptive work necessary to deal

with a threat to group values and welfare (Heifetz, 1994, 2007). They compiled and
organized the information they already had and then charged certain group
members with researching and disseminating additional information. They did so
without the benefit of any official authority stemming from organizational or polit-
ical position. Whatever authority residents had came from their position within the
CRDCW, an organization they had started. Their adaptive work resembles a very
high degree of leadership without authority and, thus, what Heifetz (2007) termed
the “most useful analytical unit of leadership” (p. 34).

Citizen Leadership—Leadership Without Authority

We may extrapolate on this case study further by referring to citizen leadership
(Couto, 1995). Citizen leadership facilitates organized action among people tradi-
tionally underrepresented in official decision-making processes. It takes as its
premise the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, age, gender,
income, or any other demographic factor. Unlike leaders in other contexts, citizen
leaders most often do not choose to lead and reluctantly leave private lives for
public roles. Most often, their first action is to approach public officials, such as the
Jefferson Township trustees, to do something about a particular problem. Often the
lack of information and action from those in formal positions of authority creates
a realization that citizens will have to do the adaptive work themselves. In a law of
inverse proportion, citizen leaders come to trust themselves more as they come to
trust public and corporate authorities less. The adaptive work of citizen leaders
occurs in response to a clear, simple question: Will our children have the chance to
live in dignity and health in their community?

Adaptive Work

The adaptive work of community leadership offers the means to redress the con-
ditions that undermine and understate the human dignity of community members.
Thus, community leadership supports civil society. In so doing, it has to overcome
a lot, including the beliefs of many community residents that they do not count and
that the values of others always outweigh their own values. In the case study
detailed in this chapter, for example, many residents initially cited the futility of
fighting the U.S. Army.

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 135

Change, Conflict, and Collaboration

The three constants of leadership—change, conflict, and collaboration—were
evident in this case study as well. CRDCW members conflicted with Perma-Fix
officials, U.S. Army representatives, and political officials at the local and county
levels. They collaborated with each other, with Ohio Citizen Action (itself a col-
laborative network of environmental groups), with the 37 organizations and juris-
dictions that supported their resolution, with their congressional representative,
and with countless others.
Despite their conflict with some local and county officials, CRDCW members

nevertheless participated with them in some events, such as accountability night,
and later collaborated with them in opposing the plant. The Montgomery County
commissioners didn’t take action until CRDCW members brought them into the
conflict on their side. CRDCW opposed change, thus challenging the assumption
that leadership always initiates change and suggesting that, in some cases at least, it
may actually prevent change. Adam Yarmolinsky (2007) suggested that rather than
initiating change, leadership mediates change.
Leaders must be mindful of the interrelationship between change, conflict, and

collaboration. As a community leader once explained, conflict clarifies values and
thus provides a better foundation for possible collaboration (Couto, 2002, pp. 90–91).
The experience of another community leader suggests principles of conflict as
respectful engagement—seeing conflict as temporary in an enduring collaborative
relationship, educating oneself and others to resolve conflict, making a set of humane
assumptions about those with whom one is in conflict, and giving credit to others
for favorable outcomes (Couto, 2002, pp. 140–141).

Initiative, Inclusiveness, and Creativity

Leadership may have common tasks, but values, initiative, inclusiveness, and cre-
ativity differentiate some forms of leadership from others. The case study in this
chapter illustrates how a few individuals took the initiative to oppose the VX
hydrolysate disposal plan, a little later friends and neighbors joined in their efforts,
and eventually various individuals and groups merged into CRDCW in a success-
ful bid to combat the disposal plan. Leadership entails acting on behalf of values,
but when or if people choose to act varies greatly and is affected by the amount of
information they have and events going on around them.
Creativity was evident in many CRDCW actions. The creative labeling of chairs

for the accountability session, for example, clearly identified those who were not
participating and created a compelling photo opportunity for journalists. CRDCW
also demonstrated creativity with their gospel singing at the panel hearings con-
ducted by the U.S. Army and Perma-Fix. Creativity is more than artistic expression,
however; it also involves the type of strategic thinking and problem solving demon-
strated in the mobilization of CRDCW resources and the networking with other
groups and resources. Finally, creativity enables people to have fun—an important
rule for community organizing (Alinsky, 1971, p. 128).


Change Practices

Successful community change efforts generally have four elements:

• A cohesive sense of identity and a sense of imminent threat to it
• Strong local leadership
• Vertical and horizontal networks
• Expert outside advice (Couto, 1999)

The discussion of theoretical concepts examined the first factor. Rench,
Cooper, Bronston, and Johnson stand as examples of strong and effective local
leadership. This leaves the last two elements of community change leadership to

Vertical and Horizontal Networks

The discussion of social capital and community leadership as social capital
entrepreneurship touched on networks. Now we examine networking as an essen-
tial element of community change leadership. Initially, community leadership may
be at a complete loss about where to start to accomplish the change it seeks. The VX
hydrolysate case typified most community change scenarios in that residents
turned to one another, to local authorities, and to people within the organization(s)
that posed the threat (Perma-Fix and the U.S. Army, in this case). If these networks
do not help, community leadership then looks for groups that have made or are
making similar change efforts. This horizontal network informs community leaders
of lessons learned and mistakes made. Leaders in one community receive empathy
and support from leaders in another community, not only in terms of the how-to’s
of conducting change but also in terms of the personal sacrifices they must make in
giving up time with family and friends to pursue a change initiative and the per-
sonal conflicts they must face while leading without authority.
Often local community leadership learns of its horizontal network through links

to organizations in a vertical network. In the VX hydrolysate case, Ohio Citizen
Action assisted local groups across the state. Even before the founding of CRDCW,
Redfern explicitly shared with local residents the lessons about the horizontal net-
works of communities like theirs and how these networks were instrumental in
achieving desired change.
The vertical network parallels the levels of participation in Gaventa’s (2005)

Rubik’s cube. To be successful, local community leadership needs the horizontal
help of other local groups and resources as well as the vertical help of regional, state,
national, and perhaps even international groups. These horizontal and vertical net-
works are interrelated, one informing the other. A LLAND member, for example,
suggested that Rench contact Redfern; Redfern in turn brought with her a horizon-
tal network of local residents with experience in similar change efforts and a verti-
cal network of additional resources.

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 137

Expert Advice

These networks provide local community leadership with outside expert advice,
another element critical to success at the local level. Redfern proffered outside
expert advice when she taught local residents how to handle media relations and
other events, such as the accountability session, that make up an organizing cam-
paign. She also understood the nature of community-organizing campaigns and
the risks of burnout and intimidation. She often assessed the group to modulate
provocation (see, e.g., Heifetz, 1994, pp. 206–231). Her work reflected some basic
tenets of Alinsky-style organizing, such as keeping a group focused and working on
change within their realm of experience and getting opponents outside their realm
of experience (Alinsky, 1971, p. 127).
CRDCW also brought in outside expert Jacobs of the Legal Aid Society of Dayton.

He framed the processing of VX hydrolysate in legal terms that addressed the inade-
quacy of a generic environmental-impact statement and environmental justice.
Without the benefit of his legal expertise, local leadership may not have succeeded in
their efforts to protect their cohesive community from an imminent threat.
Outside experts within community leadership’s vertical networks provide access

to decision makers and help frame problems for the latter to redress. Bronston and
Johnson, for example, created a horizontal and vertical network of decision makers
and groups to influence other decision makers. CRDCW brought these networks to
bear on the Montgomery County Commission, which eventually took up the matter
of VX hydrolysate process despite considerable reluctance.


The VX hydrolysate case exemplified a best-practices model of community orga-
nizing, one that involved listening to residents’ concerns, identifying patterns in those
concerns, and then pulling people together to create an action plan to address those
concerns. It involved power and empowerment and democratic practices of repre-
sentation and participation in decision making (Szakos & Szakos, 2007, pp. 1–12).
Often organizing is confused with advocacy, another change practice of com-

munity leadership. They may be the same if community members organize to
advocate for themselves and if they are directly represented and participate fully in
their advocacy. Advocacy and organizing differ substantially when one group advo-
cates on behalf of another, thus resulting in indirect representation and, at best,
partial participation of group members.
David Cohen (Cohen, De la Vega, & Watson, 2001), founder of the Advocacy

Institute, described advocacy in terms of organizing. In doing so, he underscored
the role of community leadership in change efforts for social justice:

Advocacy consists of organized efforts and actions based on the reality of “what
is.” These organized actions seek to highlight ignored and suppressed critical
issues, influence public attitudes, and promote the enactment and implementa-
tion of laws and public policies that turn visions of “what should be” in a just,
decent society into reality. Human rights—political, economic, and social—
provide an overarching framework for these visions. Advocacy organizations


draw their strength from and are accountable to people—their members, con-
stituents, and/or members of affected groups. Advocacy has purposeful results:
to enable social justice advocates to gain access and voice in the decision making
of relevant institutions; to change the power relationships between these insti-
tutions and the people affected by their decisions, thereby changing the institu-
tions themselves; and to effect a clear improvement in people’s lives. (p. 8)

However local their issue and efforts might have been, at some level CRDCW
members understood they were advocating for an improved condition not only for
themselves but also for others like them. This understanding came across in the
jubilant victory celebration of “the little guy.”

Participatory Action Research

Effective advocacy demands reliable and relevant information. In the VX
hydrolysate case, local residents conducted door-to-door surveys to collect resi-
dents’ opinions and health histories and library and Internet research to collect data
on the nature of VX hydrolysate and its hazards. This research provided local resi-
dents with the reliable, detailed information they needed to participate fully in
public forums. They had an in-depth understanding of the issue, were able to ask
probing questions, and could provide new information or documentation about
various aspects of the issue to be decided.
People in authority often dismiss this type of crucial research when the people

conducting the research lack scholarly credentials. Increasingly, however, action
research and its most genuine community-based form, participatory action
research, have received attention and credence even from academic researchers
(Lincoln & Guba, 2000; Minkler & Wallerstein, 2003), some of whom even extol the
value of “local knowledge” (Geertz, 1983). Community-based participatory action
research (CBPAR) permits the community to “own” knowledge about itself, places
community leaders in a better position to advocate for policies and with the media,
and represents the deliberate training of community leaders by bridging cultural
and class differences and differences between community organizing and commu-
nity advocacy. The tenets of CBPAR address the strategic elements of increasing
formal and informal leadership roles of groups underrepresented in policy- and
decision-making processes.
CBPAR has deep roots that bloom in varied forms: action science, constructivist

inquiry, usable knowledge, participatory research, and, very recently, community-
based participatory research for health (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2003). According to
one definition, action research engages researchers and community leaders “in a col-
laborative process of critical inquiry into problems of social practice in a learning
context” (Argyris, Putnam, & Smith, 1985, p. 236). Action research, a phrase coined
by social psychologist Kurt Lewin (1951), displays the following characteristics:

• A change effort that focuses on a particular problem in a social system and
seeks to provide assistance to the client system

• Iterative cycles of discourse between professionals and community members
to identify a problem, plan, act, and evaluate

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 139

• Reeducation to change well-established patterns of thinking and acting
• Challenges to the status quo from a perspective of democratic values
• Contributions to basic knowledge in social science and social action in every-
day life (Argyris et al., 1985, pp. 8–9)

Participatory action research involves the participation of the people for whom
the knowledge is being produced and holds researchers accountable to them.
Participatory action research has the following characteristics, all of which were
evident in the work and research of CRDCW:

• The problem under study and the decision to study it have origins in the
community or group affected by the problem.

• The goal of the research is action for change based on the information

• The community or group affected by the problem controls the processes of
defining the problem, gathering the information, and subsequently making
the decision about the appropriate action to take.

• Members of the community or group are equal in the research process to
those conducting the study.

• Everyone is regarded as a researcher and learner.
• Skills are transferred among all participants and information is shared
(Couto, 1987).

Figure 5.2 locates the varieties of community-based research along axes of com-
munity participation and intended change. It helps to distinguish the applied and
fieldwork research of scholars, such as the water-quality expert the Montgomery
County Commission brought in from Northwestern University, based on the
degree of change sought and the participation of local residents. Empowerment in
participatory action research increases when the direct representation and partici-
pation of local residents in the research process increase.

Asset-Based Community Change

A group must believe it has the skills and resources to conduct PAR well before
embarking on it; arriving at this belief, or decision, is yet another form of the adap-
tive work of mobilizing resources. In particular, PAR illustrates another change
practice of community leadership—asset mapping and development. An asset
approach to community leadership (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993) is exactly
opposite to a needs or deficit approach. Robert Putnam, Robert Leonardi, and
Raffaella Nanetti suggested the difference in their 1993 study of Italy. They
described a prosperous and well-run area in northern Italy as having the asset of
social capital and a poor and mismanaged area in southern Italy as having a deficit
of social capital. An asset approach permits local residents or members of a com-
munity to think about what they can do for themselves. A deficit approach leads
them to think about how they can make up for what they lack with an infusion of
external resources. An asset approach contributes to genuine empowerment and


organized self-advocacy. A deficit approach results in others advocating on behalf
of a group whose members have only token representation and indirect participa-
tion. An asset approach assumes that people are capable of doing their own adap-
tive work, including mobilizing resources in horizontal and vertical networks. A
deficit approach relies on an outside expert or authority figure to do these things
for the people. An asset approach permits group members to conduct their own
information gathering—with assistance. A deficit approach assumes that others
will gather information for and about the group—even if the information gathered
is intended for the group’s benefit.
CRDCW clearly used an asset approach. Members took inventory of the group’s

needs and the resources they had to meet those needs. They also identified where
to find resources they lacked. CRDCW developed many PAR assets, such as media
savvy, political influence, and outside help. Almost all of the outsiders associated
with these additional, external resources were accountable to CRDCW.

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 141

Participatory Action Research
Research with, by, and of people
in a community that addresses
specific issues of empowerment and social change.

Action Research
Research with and by people
of a community that
addresses specific issues of social change.

Applied Research
Research about and for people or
community group; advocacy is an

Research about people of a
community; no social change is
proposed unless through advocacy.



Fewest Most

Degree of Intended Change


Degree of Community Involvement

FIGURE 5.2 Taxonomy of Community-Based Research Forms by Methods, Community Involvement,
and Change


In the CRDCW case, people worked very hard in community leadership efforts for
change. The stress of working so hard for so long against very powerful opponents
caused many people to drop out. People had to summon the courage to challenge
their own and others’ preconceptions about equality and inequality. Unlike many
other leadership contexts, the residents of Drexel and Jefferson Township more
broadly did not choose to be leaders; rather, they took on leadership roles out of
necessity, to combat an imminent threat to their personal and community well-
being. After the resolution of the conflict, residents did not continue in or return to
positions of authority with all the accompanying perks. Therefore, it was particu-
larly important for the CRDCW members to celebrate and receive recognition for
their efforts when they succeeded in thwarting the VX hydrolysate treatment plan
for Drexel—hence the headlines about the victory celebration.
The CRDCW experience gave Drexel residents a model of success and the

confidence to take on other change efforts. For example, CRDCW wanted to see
Perma-Fix clean up its operation and become a better neighbor. Some of the group
members worked with RAPCA and Montgomery County to make this happen.
Community leadership most often develops in reaction to a threat, however. People
are willing to work incredibly hard to hold on to what they value about their com-
munity. Once they face down a threat to their community, they often revert to their
private roles and the enjoyment of the community they worked so hard to preserve.
Moving community leadership from reaction to a threat to action to improve the
quality of life in the community is very difficult.
A lot of diverse people came together to fight the VX hydrolysate disposal plan,

thereby creating unity within the community. The CRDCW efforts will become
part of the collective memory of the community just as the LLAND efforts did, pro-
viding social capital to use when another threat to Drexel and Jefferson Township
emerges. The community leadership in this case has become part of a horizontal
network of success from which lessons may be drawn when other instances requir-
ing community leadership for change arise. It preserves hope in “what a commu-
nity of different people can do when it comes together” (DeBrosse, 2003a, p. A1).

Application and Reflection


When Community Claims Collide

Ed Long was upset. He had just returned from the Ivanhoe Home Owners Association’s
(IHOA) specially called meeting. The president explained that the Green Valley Housing
Opportunity Program (GVHOP) was planning to build an apartment building in a lot on the
edge of Ivanhoe, with the subdivision surrounding the building on three sides. The city’s

Appl i ca t ion

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 143

zoning and planning committee had already approved the plans almost a year ago and just
notified IHOA of a second meeting to be held in a month. The building would have six
apartments with two adults with mental retardation or other developmental disabilities
(MRDD) in each.

Ed Long and his neighbors are solidly middle class, and their modest condominiums are
their primary asset and the most likely means of financing their children’s college education.
Long and his neighbors were concerned that the apartment building would change the nature
of their community and decrease property values. Ivanhoe is a 15-year-old subdivision with
100 families. A new apartment building with people with special needs would mean a drastic
change in the nature of the group of homeowners. The residents’ caregivers would come and
go at all times, disrupting the informal networks IHOA had established to monitor intruders
in the community and in general look after each other. The building would also require
developing a wooded lot that served as a green space for the community. Long was further
irritated because he felt that the president of IHOA had taken this development lying down.

Over the next several weeks, Long began to organize to stop the housing development at
the upcoming zoning and planning committee meeting. He was skilled at organizing from his
experience as the president of the local chapter of the Association of State, County, and
Municipal Employees Union; Long’s experience as an emergency medical technician also
helped him. He knew he had to rally the troops, so he began to mobilize IHOA members. Soon
the city officials were deluged with phone calls asking for action to stop the development of
the proposed apartment building. Long brought members to a meeting of the zoning and
planning committee and protested the plan that the committee had approved a year before.
Long and his neighbors packed a subsequent city council meeting as well; there was standing
room only in the room, and chairs had to be set up in the lobby for the overflow of 100 or so
homeowners. These actions brought the approval process to a halt. The city council postponed
final approval of the project and tabled its consideration at two consecutive monthly
meetings. They hoped that the IHOA and GVHOP would work things out.

The action of the city council was pretty disappointing for Sally Torrisi, the 10-year
executive director of the GVHOP. She had been very conscientious to follow all the rules.
Federal regulations required that funds be available for the construction of apartments for
people with disabilities only if the buildings were located on property zoned for apartments;
on property that had access to community services; in cities that needed more affordable
housing to qualify for other federal funding; and on property with a seller willing to commit
the land for the project for as long as it takes to get approval for the Department of Housing
and Urban Development. The Ivanhoe lot met all four criteria.

Torrisi had jumped through other hoops of approval. The site had to meet environmental
quality standards to ensure an absence of harmful materials in the soil or water. She had it
tested and researched, and it met the requirements. She met with the director of zoning and
planning, Bill Norton. The 15-year veteran in this position remembered the parcel of land
well. Twelve years ago the lot had been left out of the development of other housing in
Ivanhoe. It was zoned for multifamily housing. At her formal presentation to the zoning and
planning commission, its members agreed that the community needed more housing for
people with disabilities, and this parcel seemed appropriate for that purpose.




This proposed housing was a bold step for GVHOP in several ways. All 48 other units were
renovated homes in which no more than four people could live, or they were apartments for
two people. This construction would be new, designed, from the beginning, with wheelchair
access and other specialized features for 12 people with MRDD. Torrisi hoped that this
construction would be a model and more rapidly increase the supply of housing for the 900
persons in the county who needed it.

With the assistance of a real estate attorney with years of experience in affordable
housing development across the state, Torrisi took the committee’s approval and
documentation about the site and gained almost $1,000,000 in funding from HUD, the
Federal Home Loan Bank, the county board of MRDD, the state housing finance fund, and a
private philanthropy. She called Norton with the good news but learned that he was leaving
for another job in the state capital. He also suggested that Torrisi talk with the neighbors.
His tone was a bit ominous. Torrisi researched a bit more and found out that the neighbors
had a homeowners association that represented the tightly knit community. It functioned
officially to monitor compliance with the covenants that all homeowners agreed to when
buying property in the Ivanhoe area.

Torrisi tried to reach the IHOA leaders but without success. She met them a year after
gaining approval at the second meeting of the zoning and planning committee. Since
learning about the apartment development plans, Long had gained notoriety in the IHOA
and was selected its new president. In the first meeting with Long before the zoning and
planning committee, Torrisi found Long cordial, but with the committee he was vehement in
his opposition to the plan and made sure that the committee took note of the large number
of residents with him at these ordinarily sparsely attended meetings.

Torrisi was not deterred. She had run into neighbors’ opposition in previous projects. Her
amiable and accommodating manner generally enables her to approach neighbors in a
collaborative manner. Her experience taught her that the quality of GVHOP property
maintenance, including professional lawn service, and the friendly manner of MRDD
residents won acceptance in the neighborhoods.

In light of the new opposition, the city council delayed action, and Torrisi did her best to
accommodate the IHOA’s requests for information—reams of paper and myriad documents.
She agreed to design alterations at the site that included creating a new street for access to
the site and planting trees to block the view of the building.

However, Torrisi drew the line at Ed’s request that GVHOP join the IHOA. Doing so would
bring the apartment site under the covenant agreement that specified that “any member
of the HOA who proposes structural change has to get approval from the Architecture
Committee” and give the IHOA a legal right to oppose the apartment development on
“structural” grounds. This sounded too much like the back door to zoning out the project
and a violation of Fair Housing laws. In addition, the IHOA had a single landscape firm do
all the work for the condominiums of the community. Should the GVHOP not employ them,
Torrisi imagined, the IHOA would have reasons to nitpick GVHOP for the upkeep of its site.

So Torrisi dug in her heels. The law states that “it is unlawful for local governments to
utilize land use and zoning policies to keep persons with disabilities from locating to their
area.” The law came into being because of discriminatory practices of real estate brokers,

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 145

financial institutions, and public and private property owners. They frequently used various
means, including zoning and covenants, to exclude people based on religion, race, ethnicity,
disability, sexual preference, or family makeup. Torrisi was determined that persons with
MRDD have the same rights as anyone else to select housing freely in a full and unrestricted
market. She was not going to subject GVHOP and its proposed tenants to the IHOA’s
covenants that could exclude them, despite local zoning laws and federal regulations that
permitted them the right to develop the property.

Despite GVHOP’s concessions and some ambivalence among a few IHOA members, the two
sides could not agree on a mutually acceptable plan. The city council could no longer postpone
a decision. They gave the recommendation of the zoning and planning committee to approve
the GVHOP proposal and the opposition of the IHOA. They asked a spokesperson for each
group to make a short summation of each group’s position. Torrisi was asked to go first.

Remarks of Sally Torissi

Members of the Council. My name is Sally Torissi. I am the executive director of the Green
Valley Housing Opportunity Program. I would like to put our plan for a six unit apartment
building into context; share with you our experience in providing housing for persons with
development disabilities; and explain our shared responsibilities to meet federal, state, and
local regulations.

I have worked with persons with development disabilities for more than 30 years. During that
time, I have seen dramatic changes in practices. Initially, I worked in mental institutions in which
persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities were essentially warehoused.
Fortunately, we now recognize the variety of disabilities and the ability for independent or
assisted living for many people with disabilities. These are the people whom we serve.

We have provided housing in the community for them and worked with them to become
as self-reliant as possible. In that effort of increased self-reliance, GVHOP has pioneered in
making people with development disabilities tenants of our housing and not clients of our
program. We are accountable to them as their landlord; a dramatic reversal of the former
provider-client approach. It has been our goal to take these changes one step further by
actually building six apartments, rather than renovating an existing structure, and to do so
with accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities in mind.

GVHOP owns 48 properties. We have faced skepticism before, but in every case we have
won our neighbors over by the care with which we maintain our properties and the
demeanor and personalities of the people who live there. We have worked with the IHOA
and accommodated every request that they made except to subject ourselves to their
covenants, which might jeopardize the project.

I mentioned our responsibilities because we both have responsibilities in this matter.
Federal, state, and local laws regulate and restrict where the housing we propose may be
located. GVHOP has complied with every one of these regulations. We have presented our
plans to your zoning and planning committee and received their approval to build on this
property. We have met the specifications of lenders to gain financing for the proposed building.

Change is difficult, and change in neighborhoods is even more difficult. So there are
federal, state, and local laws to make sure that persons with disabilities are not the victims




of continued patterns of prejudice and discrimination. The federal Fair Housing laws protect
the rights of minorities against the will of majorities. If every homeowners association has
the right to say, “not in my backyard,” then we can find no space with access to services for
people who are seeking self-reliance, where people with disabilities may live with increased
degrees of independence and dignity. Federal and state law sanctions with penalties those
who violate the rights of other people to live where they are otherwise legally entitled to
live. We do this so that we will not go back to warehousing people in the least desirable
locations where no one wants to live.

Look around. There are not large numbers of people with disabilities here to demand
their rights. I am not an organizer. I cannot mobilize 100 people with disabilities to demand
their rights, nor would I for fear of their encountering the prejudice this housing and the
policies that it embodies intend to tear down.

I am an advocate for those people who cannot organize. In this case, I acknowledge that
I am somewhat of an irritant to the IHOA but what a pearl of a world this would be if our
humanity were expressed in the beauty of our differences. I suggest that it is harmful in the
long run to use the instinct of community to separate and protect us from one another rather
than creating a global culture of diverse but interwoven communities (Wheatley, 2005, p. 45).
I speak for the community of persons with disabilities and I hope you will also. They are
depending on me and you to do that. Thank you.

Remarks of Ed Long

Good evening, my name is Ed Long. I have been spokesperson for the Ivanhoe Home Owners
Association and recently elected president. I want to thank you for slowing the train that
was speeding down the tracks of approval in the wrong direction.

I am an organizer, and I believe that citizens should not be penalized for showing up
at this meeting and advocating for themselves, their homes, their families, and their
communities. I looked around as Ms. Torrisi suggested. You know what I saw? I saw a
consultant and a few board members of GVHOP supporting its proposed plan and a hundred
or more residents of this town opposing it.

We are not suggesting a return to the bad old days of institutions and warehousing. In
all of IHOA’s meetings, there was not one ill word spoken or harsh judgment cast toward
people with disabilities. Some of us, including myself, work with them and others of us have
family members with disabilities. We are not saying, “Not in my backyard!” We are saying
that the federal, state, and local regulations that Ms. Torrisi complied with do not measure
a community nor do they preserve it.

The parcel of land in question is surrounded on three sides by the Ivanhoe community. It’s
like a missing piece of a puzzle. The plans of GVHOP are trying to place a piece that does
not fit with the rest of Ivanhoe. That parcel has become part of our community, an asset. We
are talking about the integrity of the community. Let me assure you that we would be here
in these same numbers if any apartment building were proposed.

Our opposition is not with persons with disabilities but with the “fit” of this building in
the heart of Ivanhoe. We are concerned with the additional traffic that such a building would
bring into our neighborhood, an addition especially high given the special vehicles and the
number of caregivers that persons with disabilities require. We have worked hard over the

CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 147

15 years since the zoning for this parcel was decided to establish a tightly knit community.
Things do change—our community has changed, but the zoning of that parcel did not. It
should have to reflect the change around it and to make sure it is integral with Ivanhoe, not
the wishes of federal and state officials who have not been here. In that regard, I think it is
significant that GVHOP, which has bought the parcel in question, has refused to join the
IHOA. Its planned apartment building would be a patch of intrusion to the standards that
the rest of us have agreed to.

Yes, of course, people with disabilities have rights, but we are here to assert our rights to
a community with integrity. Look around. You won’t find people of great wealth in this room.
Our homes are our wealth, and our community is our investment in the future of our
children. We are not a majority oppressing a minority. It is hard to think of yourself as a
majority when you are up against the power of the federal and state government in asserting
your right to have a little bit of the American dream and want to hold on to it.

You are our voice in this matter, our elected representatives. Please vote your conscience
and do what is right for the people who elected you to represent them. Thank you.

Having heard both sides, the council goes into executive session. Imagine yourself a
member of the council. What decision does the city council reach? Why? Illustrate the field
of decision making in which you fit as a council member. Who are the other actors and what
is their relationship with each other and with the city council? Are there less obvious actors
in the field with implications for consequences for your decision, such as other federal
agencies, lawyers, and county officials who might take action to enforce Fair Housing laws?
How do you define community in this case? What community do you represent and need to
speak for? Is there a win-win solution?


• How does this case parallel the Jefferson Township case?

• Do both communities, IHOA and the persons with MRDD, face threats?

• How does Ed Long exemplify the skills of organizing exemplified in Jefferson Township?

• What is the difference between organizing and advocacy?

• How does GVHOP resemble the U.S. Army and Perma-Fix in the VX hydrolysate case?

• How do Sally Torrisi and Ed Long compare with Jane Forrest Redfern as community change leaders?

• How did Bill Norton’s departure affect the decision-making process?

• What is the balance in preserving the homogeneity of a community and increasing its diversity by
including people who are absent and perhaps purposefully excluded?

• Which position represents the “real, significant change” that James MacGregor Burns (2007) means
when he talks about transforming leadership?

• Who are the “little guys” in this case and what would victory for them mean?


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CHAPTER 5 Community Change Context 149


Bank of Madura


Microcredit to
Rural Women in





Crossing Organizational
and Community Contexts


Leading change in one context frequently involves initiating or advocating change
in another, especially in today’s complex and interconnected society. These connec-
tions across contexts commonly produce changes in both settings. This is certainly
the case between local government agencies and their constituent communities or
nonprofit organizations and the groups and communities they serve. In recent
years, however, leading change has become more commonplace between private-
sector organizations and the communities in which they do business.

The business model in a growing number of companies incorporates social
responsibility through community volunteering, partnering with nonprofit organi-
zations, and grant making, along with traditional modes of philanthropy.
Companies with this type of business model stress the connection between a thriv-
ing company and a thriving community in their company’s vision, mission, core
values, and corporate culture. In contrast to previous business models, these com-
panies view their business and social missions as not only compatible but also
vitally interconnected. For example, the mission statement for Timberland, maker
of outdoor footwear and clothing, illustrates the blending of social action and busi-
ness aims: “Our mission is to equip people to make a difference in their world. We
do this by creating outstanding products and by trying to make a difference in the
communities where we live and work” (Timberland Company, 2007). Bank of
America Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis said,
“The reason (we are) in business is to help make communities stronger and to help
people achieve their dreams. We fulfill this purpose by reaching for higher stan-
dards in everything we do—for our customers, our shareholders, our associates and

AUTHORS’ NOTE: This chapter is dedicated to my late colleague, Dr. K. M. Thiagarajan.

our communities, upon which the future prosperity of our company rests” (Silver
City, New Mexico, Chamber of Commerce, 2007; Silverman, 2003).

Companies’ active involvement in social responsibility through employee-
volunteering programs and partnerships with nonprofit organizations offers hope for
a better society by giving person-to-person and employee-to-community contributions
of time, expertise, and commitment, thereby establishing a personal connection that
is sometimes lacking when companies make only monetary contributions (Hickman,
2006, p. 1). These companies create partnerships and provide volunteers for a vari-
ety of community purposes, including education, housing, social services, and health
awareness and disease prevention. They also provide vital monetary contributions.

In addition to this model, which represents a changing view of the role of busi-
ness in society, the blending of business and community missions is also bringing
about change in the functioning of both the community and business in some of
the most socially active companies.

The vignette in this chapter illustrates this blending of missions and shows how
change concepts and practices function across two contexts. The vignette describes
efforts of former Bank of Madura Chairman K. M. Thiagarajan and his managers
to improve the viability of the bank’s rural branches and advance economic devel-
opment among women in rural Tamil Nadu, India. This vignette is the late
Thiagarajan’s personal account of these events.


CC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt eeCC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt ee

Microcredit to Rural Women

In 1993, I became the chairman and chief executive of Bank of Madura, a commercial bank in the
private sector in India. It was a tradition-bound, moderately profitable, regional bank with low
levels of technology and productivity. In response to the economic liberalization initiated by the
Indian government at that time and rapid changes in the market, a major restructuring effort was
undertaken. Loss-making branches were merged with other branches or closed. New branches were
opened across the country in cities with good profit potential. The operations were computerized
and automated. New products and services were introduced. Profitability improved substantially.

The chink in the armor was the vast network of rural branches (102 out of a total of 275
branches) located in villages with small populations and low levels of economic activity. The rural
branches were started more due to government policies and regulatory pressures than out of
commercial considerations. Whereas the policy allowed closure of urban branches, closure of rural
branches required various permissions, which were difficult to obtain. Gradually, after obtaining
the necessary approvals, some of the branches were merged and the number reduced to seventy-
seven. When the option of closure no longer existed, we had to deal with the real issue of how
these branches could be revitalized.

At this point I learned about the tremendous work done by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh,
founded by Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer in the field of microcredit. Following his example, in
November 1995 we established the Rural Development Division to provide microcredit to poor
women in the villages where our branches were located.

CHAPTER 6 Crossing Organizational and Community Contexts 153

In the Indian version of microcredit, which has evolved its own group formation and credit delivery
models, self-help groups (SHGs) are the basic unit to which the loan is given. Each SHG is composed
of twenty women who voluntarily form the group and choose one another in the knowledge that they
have to jointly guarantee the loan. During the first 6 months, they save a small amount each month
(they determine the amount, based on their earnings), pool the savings, and deposit these funds in
the bank. The monthly deposit is normally in the range of 50 cents to U.S. $1 at the official exchange
rate (although in buying power it is worth much more in India, especially in rural areas). They meet
twice a month and receive training on how to organize their group meetings, start a bank account,
and calculate interest and also learn about women’s rights and other general issues. During the
second 6 months, besides continuing to save, they begin to lend their savings to group members. The
group decides the amount, rate of interest, priority of needs, and other procedures for lending. During
this 1 year, the women become quite proficient in handling finance, understanding the implications of
cooperating and pooling their savings, and the importance of repayment. They also gain self-
confidence, become articulate, and understand the need for joint social action. At the end of the first
year, the group becomes eligible to receive credit from the bank, subject to regularity in savings and
repayment of internal loans by every group member. Normally, the loan is about U.S. $50 per person,
but in the case of Bank of Madura, an individual could receive up to U.S. $200 to undertake small
business activities like raising a milk cow, setting up a tailoring shop, or producing food items.
Repayment is made every month, and the group collects the amount due and pays the bank. The loan
is given without any collateral but is guaranteed by all of the SHG’s members. The initial training, peer
group pressure to be responsible, and mutual monitoring by the members all help considerably in the
repayment rate, which is about 99.5%.

Normally, the self-help groups are formed by NGOs (nonprofits), and banks extend the loans.
However, we decided to form the groups ourselves through our branches. This was an unusual
move for a commercial bank, and to understand the process, we need to take a look at how banks
work in India.

Rural branches are managed or administered by the head of a geographical division, which has
many metropolitan, urban, and rural branches. Since the volume of business is very low in rural
branches, the division heads do not pay attention to them. The executives and staff in banks, who
are better educated and highly paid relative to those in many other segments, do not like to live
in villages. Lack of modern amenities, good schools, health care facilities, and entertainment make
villages unattractive to them and their families. To illustrate, many government banks have a policy
of making the promotion of managers from grade I to grade II contingent on a stint in a rural
branch. Such transfers are commonly known as “punishment postings.” Most often, staff live in
nearby towns and commute to the village. They spend very little time at the branch and do not
interact with the villagers, who are poor, uneducated, and socially not their equals.

When the Rural Development Division was started, it became obvious that unless this issue was
faced squarely, the division could not take off. As a first step, the management of all the rural
branches was brought under the division irrespective of the branch locations. This move made
rural branches gain legitimacy and gave a sharp focus to their activities. Next we decided to
“attract” people from within the bank who wanted to get involved in rural development work
on a voluntary basis instead of compelling people to work in these branches. Although the person –
nel department was skeptical, people did come forward. Instead of selecting all those who




volunteered, we decided to select people on the basis of their commitment to the project and their
willingness to live in the village. The candidates were also told that they should relate to people
in the village, especially the women, as equals, without any gender, caste, class, or other biases.

Those who showed any hesitation in the interview were not selected. This move sent strong
signals throughout the bank that senior management was committed to the concept of rural
development through microcredit. Many individuals who were already in the division opted to
stay; however, not all were retained. A thorough review of each person’s background was made
to ensure that he or she could be part of the new project. Those who were considered unsuitable
were transferred out. The personnel policy was also amended to provide automatic transfer to an
urban branch to anybody in the Rural Development Division, at any time, who requested this.
Within a few months, a team of about 325 highly motivated individuals, from a total of 2,600
employees, was assembled.

The core team of senior executives, headed by the divisional manager, studied various
microcredit projects in detail, visited many nonprofits involved in forming SHGs, received training
from experts in the field, and met frequently to decide on a strategy. After an intensive 2-day
residential workshop without anybody from outside the division, the core team decided to form
SHGs themselves without linking with nonprofits. This was a big surprise, but the decision was

This led to the birth of a “nonprofit” within the for-profit bank. The cost of starting, training,
and monitoring SHGs, which is called “capacity building,” is an expensive and time-consuming
process. This cost is even higher when a bank promotes groups through its own personnel, whose
salary levels are much higher than salaries in the nonprofit sector. Besides, the overheads of the
bank are also high. This is why banks rely on nonprofits to undertake capacity building and only
come in to provide credit.

The decision to directly promote SHGs was based on the reasoning that there would be no
additional cost, since the cost of fixed overheads and salaries of individuals in the rural branches
was already being incurred. A decision was also made that no increases in staff or overhead costs
would be allowed in the Rural Development Division. The capacity of the division to promote SHGs
without additional costs was pegged at fifteen hundred SHGs. It was also agreed by the core team
of executives in the division that new methodologies to promote SHGs at lower cost would be
found when the capacity of 1,500 groups was reached.

The new division was organized around five clusters of branches with a project manager
heading each cluster. A training center was started that trained all the staff in the division on
promoting, training, and monitoring SHGs. To begin with, the core team decided to go slow: start
a few groups and evaluate the process. Since it takes 1 year before a group becomes eligible for
a loan, it took time to evaluate the process. Thereafter, groups were started in larger numbers.
Initially, the team faced hardships in working in the villages, promoting groups, and training
women who were either not very educated or illiterate. These hardships vanished when they saw
the difference they were making in the lives of the village women and the hospitability, friendship,
and gratitude received from them.

In the year 2001, Bank of Madura merged with ICICI Bank, which is the second-largest
financial institution in India. I continued with the bank for 1 year as adviser for the microcredit

CHAPTER 6 Crossing Organizational and Community Contexts 155

project before I went on to found the Microcredit Foundation of India in 2002. During the time
I was adviser to the project, we selected two hundred women who were members of the SHGs
promoted by the bank to start SHGs on their own. These women were well versed in the concept
and had demonstrated leadership qualities. They were further trained by the bank personnel
before they started forming groups. They were also remunerated for this work, but this cost is
considerably lower than the cost of promoting groups by the bank. Now there are 500 village
women who are promoting groups under the supervision of bank personnel and linking them with
the bank for credit. At last count, there were 8,000 SHGs, with a membership of 160,000 women.
When this number and the credit portfolio grow further, the activity has the potential to become

SOURCE: From “Missionary Leadership: Harnessing the Power of the Mission,” by K. M. Thiagarajan, in R. E. Riggio and S. S. Orr
(Eds.), Improving Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations, pp. 40–43. Copyright © 2004 by R. E. Riggio and S. S. Orr (Eds.). By
permission of Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published by Jossey-Bass.

Concepts of Change Across
Organizational and Community Contexts

Bank of Madura (now ICICI Bank) and the village women1 changed each other in
ways that were unimaginable at the beginning of their venture. After implementa-
tion of the rural development project and establishment of the SHGs, the bank’s
rural branches came alive and flourished, teeming with village women entrepre-
neurs with impeccable repayment rates. Bank of Madura turned declining rural
branches into thriving entities.

Bank Chairman Thiagarajan and bank managers used a teleological approach to
change in both rural banking and community development. The change was inten-
tional and fully planned. Thiagarajan raised the professional standing of rural bank
managers from low-status bank employees in “punishment postings” to equal-
status managers engaged in banking and social entrepreneurship. The bank
managers gained great personal fulfillment from their jobs while serving the com-
munities where they now lived and worked.

In addition to teleological change, the microcredit program was a community
change process that included a blend of needs- or deficit-based and assets-based
approaches, described in Chapter 3. The bankers used a needs- or deficit-based
approach as they identified economic and social challenges in the villages and decided
what the rural women needed to develop their communities. The village women were
initially suspicious and hesitant to interact with the bank managers. However, the
managers persisted by going door to door and talking to one woman at a time.
Ultimately, the women began to trust the bankers and listened to their proposal.

At the same time, Thiagarajan and the bank managers identified the commu-
nity’s assets—the village women. They regarded the women as more committed,
more responsible, more likely to use the benefits of the microcredit program for

their families, and more capable than the village men of providing products or ser-
vices that the community actually needed. When the first 20 women volunteered to
form SHGs, they activated a profusion of social capital in their village and many
other communities. The bankers taught the women reading, writing, and the basics
of keeping accounts. Subsequently, the women used their knowledge in the SHGs
to teach other women all they learned from the bankers. They began to develop
authentic empowerment by selecting group leaders called animators, setting up an
internal loan program for SHG members, and determining the kinds of business to
pursue based on their skills and talents. The bank managers were present essentially
to provide support to the SHG’s process.

Life began to change for the women as they gained social and financial capital.
They were able to hire their husbands and other family members to work in their
businesses. They no longer needed to borrow from the money lenders at high-
interest rates to cover their children’s school fees or emergencies that arose. The
bankers and women worked together to tackle other community problems, such as
financing low-cost toilet facilities. They even arranged for the women to purchase
life insurance so that their families would be protected in the event of their death.

The women claimed rights that accorded them equal status with men. They
gained stature and respect in the community. They used their newfound power to
meet with village leaders to arrange for drinking water, bus stops in the villages, and
the elimination of illicit alcohol. On the domestic front, they no longer had to stay
in abusive relationships because they had gained economic independence and the
support of other women.

Beyond their teaching and support of the village women, the bank managers also
developed social capital through their relationships with each other. They met reg-
ularly to exchange ideas and discuss issues, such as how to meet the challenges of
working with people from different cultures and with villages with diverse needs,
how to streamline or alter bank processes, and how to cope personally with the
challenges of living in rural areas.

Concepts of Leadership Across
Organizational and Community Contexts

The Bank of Madura vignette illustrates several concepts of leadership across
organizational and community contexts. Change, collaboration, and conflict, as
described in Chapter 3, were important components of the leadership process.
Collective or collaborative leadership was clearly present between the bank chair-
man and the rural bank managers, between the bank managers and the village
women, among the women in the SHGs, and among the rural bank managers. As
indicated in Chapter 3, collective or collaborative leadership uses the talents and
resources of all members, not just those of a single leader, to bring about change
and generate creative and adaptive solutions. Women in the SHGs used leadership
without formal authority, described as adaptive work in Chapter 3, to bring about
change in their communities, families, and each other.


Thiagarajan used his formal authority to change banking practices toward rural
bank managers and create an environment where collaborative leadership could
flourish among bankers and between bank managers and village women. He also
used transformational leadership to inspire the bank managers to achieve more
than they thought possible. He made them fully aware of the significance of the
microcredit program for rural women and their communities and induced them to
transcend their own self-interest by moving to the villages where the bank’s rural
branches were located, thereby becoming part of those rural communities.
Thiagarajan provided intellectual stimulation by challenging bank managers to use
innovative and creative approaches to launch the microcredit program and work
with the village women. As a result, the bankers experienced an enriched work life
and a sense of personal fulfillment through their involvement with building the
social and economic resources in the villages.

Certainly, the bank chairman used transactional leadership by increasing the
salaries and status of rural managers to the level of other bank managers in
exchange for the participation of competent and committed rural bank managers
in the microcredit program. The rural bank managers used transactional leadership
in their work with the village women by educating and preparing them to become
financially self-sustaining in exchange for their commitment as customers of the
rural banks.

The bank chairman demonstrated servant leadership toward the rural bank
managers, while the managers became servant leaders to the women in the SHGs.
In each case, their work met Greenleaf ’s test of servant leadership described in
Chapter 3: The individuals who were served grew as persons—they become health-
ier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants—
and the least privileged in society benefited.

Thiagarajan (2004) referred to his leadership and that of the rural bank managers
in the microcredit program as missionary leadership, which he defined as “the
process whereby a leader uses the inherent power of the mission to attract highly
committed individuals who want to serve the cause and then enables them to derive
satisfaction from such service” (pp. 39–40). He indicated that missionary leadership
is based on the “shared desire to serve the mission and is not purely relational”
(p. 45). The concept of missionary leadership incorporates many of the ideas in invis-
ible leadership (see Chapter 3), which occurs when individuals, without regard for
recognition or visibility, are motivated to take action by a passionate commitment to
achieve a common purpose that is greater than the group members’ individual self-
interest and, in certain cases, even greater than the group’s overall self-interest.

The village women in the Bank of Madura vignette provide a prime example of
citizen or community leadership. As Couto, Hall, and Goetz indicated in Chapter 5,
citizen or community leadership facilitates organized action among people tradi-
tionally underrepresented in official decision-making processes and respects the
dignity and worth of people regardless of race, age, gender, income, or any other
demographic factor (Couto, 1995). Poor women in rural villages of India were
notoriously underrepresented and powerless at most levels of government, busi-
ness, and the community. The story of the women in the initial SHG spread to

CHAPTER 6 Crossing Organizational and Community Contexts 157

neighboring villages, and soon these women were helping other women organize
their own SHGs, without the assistance of the bank managers. They formed a fed-
eration of SHGs to aid and empower other groups to form and taught them about
microcredit and social issues such as education, health, and hygiene. They wore uni-
form saris to show solidarity with each other and used artistic creativity (Chapter 5)
through song and dance to share stories of the SHGs.

The change that occurred in the Bank of Madura and rural villages had many ele-
ments of transforming leadership, a concept discussed in Chapter 3. James MacGregor
Burns (1978) stated that transforming leadership “occurs when one or more persons
engagewith others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher
levels of motivation and morality” (p. 20). Transforming leadership involves individu-
als in collective purpose linked to social change, with the ultimate objective of elevat-
ing the well-being of human existence. Though Burns’s definition of transforming
leadership originated from the political context, this form of leadership can apply to
companies and other organizations that purposely connect their business and social
missions to bring about significant change in human conditions.

Burns (1978) did not believe transforming leadership was possible in most orga-
nizations because of bureaucracy and economic self-interest. However, the type of
leadership exhibited by members of the Bank of Madura and increasingly in some
other companies shows that transforming leadership is possible in this context.
Transforming leaders and members of organizations shape and define their business
mission to encompass collective purpose. They view the viability of their organiza-
tions as interconnected with the well-being of people and the environment. The
decline of rural branches was an obvious financial concern for the Bank of Madura;
at the same time, rural poverty was an equally relevant social concern. Thiagarajan
and the bank managers regarded the two situations as fully interrelated.

According to Burns’s (1978) definition, leaders and followers who engage in
transforming leadership raise one another to higher levels of motivation and
morality. Motivation increased steadily among the bankers and village women as they
experienced economic success and social change through the microcredit project.
Morality, which Burns defines as raising “the level of human conduct and ethical
aspiration of both leader and led” (p. 20), increased as the bank managers engaged
fully with the women to meet their economic and social needs. The women became
leaders and role models in their own village and other communities. Engaged
leadership, in the words of Burns, “has a transforming effect on both” the leaders
and the led (p. 20). This transforming effect was demonstrated by the bank chair-
man’s subsequent actions. As indicated in the vignette, Thiagarajan was so person-
ally inspired by working with the project that he left the bank to pursue full-time
work as founder of the Microcredit Foundation of India.

Change Practices Across
Organizational and Community Contexts

Change in the Bank of Madura vignette incorporated most of the adaptive prac-
tices identified in Chapter 3—institutionalized-leadership and change practices,


organizational learning, and empowerment or shared power. Thiagarajan and the
other bank executives used institutionalized-leadership and change practices by
establishing a Rural Development Division for rural branches and their managers
and raising rural bankers’ pay and status to the level of other bankers. They changed
the selection process by first recruiting from within the bank volunteers who were
committed to rural development and willing to live in the villages and then by eval-
uating their suitability for the project. They made the bold and creative decision to
establish a nonprofit within a for-profit bank and then ran it themselves, rather
than working with an external nonprofit SHG. The bankers adapted the microcre-
dit project to the Indian culture by developing their own group formation, credit
delivery, and SHG models—a critical step that is often overlooked when establish-
ing microcredit initiatives in different cultures. They facilitated organizational
learning by ensuring that managers studied various microcredit projects, visiting
nonprofits involved in forming SHGs, and establishing a training center staffed by
experts in the field and frequented by all bankers in the division in an effort to gain
a better understanding of promoting, training, and monitoring SHGs. All these
practices and more institutionalized the leadership of microcredit and rural devel-
opment in the bank structure.

Thiagarajan and the bank executives empowered the rural bank managers to take
risks, innovate, make independent decisions, and provide leadership for the micro-
credit project. Thiagarajan continued to provide support to the bankers as needed but
did not infringe on the leadership of the rural bank managers. The village women
ultimately gained the kind of genuine empowerment described in Chapter 5—self-
empowerment—that entails full participation and direct representation of commu-
nity members in decision making, leadership, and change. Using Thiagarajan’s
example, the bankers provided support as needed to the SHGs, but the animators and
other women exercised true leadership in their groups and communities.

The development of social and economic capital in this case involved the use
of vertical and horizontal networks (Chapter 5). Vertical networks included the
bankers as outside experts who helped frame the problems, taught the women the
necessary skills to start SHGs and participate in the microcredit program, and
provided access to bank resources. The initial group of 20 village women became
a horizontal network for women in other communities who wanted to start
SHGs. The Federation of Self-Help Groups formed an even larger and stronger
horizontal network with elected representatives from various community SHGs.
The self-help groups became so effective that even men in the villages voluntarily
formed SHGs.

The Bank of Madura scenario illustrated several ethical practices described in
Chapter 4, including respect, authenticity, trust, and reciprocal care. Prior to send-
ing the bankers into the rural villages, Thiagarajan emphasized the importance of
respecting the dignity and worth of villagers and treating them as equals, especially
the women. Village women had limited voice or power in the community, based on
their gender, caste, class, or other factors. The rural bankers under the previous sys-
tem had exhibited limited respect for villagers, whom they viewed as poor, unedu-
cated, and socially inferior. Attracting women to the microcredit program would
prove difficult enough even when they were accorded respect, as the new bankers

CHAPTER 6 Crossing Organizational and Community Contexts 159

were to learn. Eventually though, the new bankers’ demonstration of respect,
authenticity, and sheer persistence gained the women’s trust.

Reciprocal care became an essential factor in the growth and success of the SHGs
and microcredit program. This form of care was an inherent result of a highly inter-
dependent and collective process. Women within and across communities learned
from, loaned money to, and protected each other. These practices allowed the
women, their families, the village, and rural bank branches to thrive. Even the
bankers engaged in reciprocal care by sharing ideas, solving problems together, and
supporting each other.


Change that connects organizational and community contexts is likely to gain
momentum in the coming years. Businesses and other organizations are beginning
to understand the relationship between their own viability and their efforts to help
communities flourish economically and socially. These complex connections
require considerable innovation, creativity, adaptive work, and risk taking.
Understanding and using concepts and practices of leading change across organi-
zational and community contexts can contribute to advancements in the well-being
of society and the environment.


1. Additional information in this chapter concerning Bank of Madura and the self-help

groups was obtained from an undistributed independent film titled Bank of Madura: Micro-

credit (2001).


Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.

Couto, R. A. (1995). Defining a citizen leader. In J. T. Wren (Ed.), The leader’s companion

(pp. 11–17). New York: The Free Press.

Hickman, G. R. (2006). Organizations of hope: Summary report of the volunteer manager sur-

vey. Unpublished report. Richmond, VA: University of Richmond.

Silver City, New Mexico, Chamber of Commerce. (2007). Bank of America. Retrieved August

16, 2007, from

Silverman, G. (2003, September 9). Switch-hitters can’t bank on a home run., p. 1.

Thiagarajan, K. M. (2004). Missionary leadership: Harnessing the power of the mission. In

R. E. Riggio & S. S. Orr (Eds.), Improving leadership in nonprofit organizations (pp. 39–48).

San Francisco: Wiley.

Timberland Company. (2007). About Timberland. Retrieved August 16, 2007, from http://




Leading Political
and Social Change


Mediating incremental change


Ethic of responsibility
Good ends and wrong means

Transactional and transforming



Exit, voice, and loyalty
Checks and balances


Political Change Context

Richard A. Couto


The terrorist attacks in the United States on 9/11 presented a situation that
required new policies and set off a tsunami of political change—a war in
Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and new forms of surveillance
on Americans. Another far less noticed policy, extraordinary rendition, autho-
rized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to take non-U.S. citizens to another
country for detention and “enhanced interrogation,” or what some consider tor-
ture. In some cases, the CIA did this without giving any official notice to the per-
son’s government or the government from which he was taken. After several
years of secrecy and controversy, the administration acknowledged the policy,
announced its end and the closure of a set of secret prisons around the world,
and declared that all rendered persons had been transferred to the prison at the
U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and were being held there as “unlaw-
ful enemy combatants.” The coining of this new legal term and the policies asso-
ciated with the confinement and treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo
represented changes that arose as a result of the events of 9/11 and that were
related to extraordinary rendition.
This chapter examines extraordinary rendition as an example of leadership and

change in the political context. Although far more dramatic than most other
examples of political change, the Bush administration’s decision to use extraordi-
nary rendition demonstrates how political change often involves the collision of
values. In this case, national security and human rights came into conflict. This case
study also provides a canvas on which to portray the elements of the opening figure:


the roles of many political actors, some of them constituted and some not, and
illustrations of the processes of leadership in conducting political change. Finally, it
deals explicitly with the legitimacy of violence, a factor which distinguishes the
political change context from all other change contexts.

Purpose of Political Change

The three spheres of our now familiar figure overlap to create the area of pur-
pose for leadership of political change: “confront situations in which policy must
be formulated, promulgated, and executed” (Tucker, 1995, p. 16). The appro-
priate manner in which to do this has occupied many great minds, such as
Confucius and Machiavelli, who gave government authorities outlines for the
successful conduct of politics. Values always pervaded this advice; Confucius was
concerned that rulers were in harmony with tao, and Machiavelli urged rulers to
forgo ideological ventures and look to their self-interest, primarily the mainte-
nance of their power.
Conflicting values arise in any conception of a system of political leadership.

One set of conflicting values involves social order and individual rights. Plato
envisioned a philosopher king as one part of a hierarchy of authority defined
not only by stability and order but also by social stratification and inequality.
Aristotle, on the other hand, although no radical egalitarian, did assume that
legitimate governments—whether composed of one person, a few, or the
majority—ruled on behalf of all and gave all sectors of the public (which was
less stratified than Plato’s republic but still excluded women and slaves) the
opportunity to deliberate and to find common ground for action (Mattern,
2006, pp. 391–393).
Even in a democracy with the thumbnail rule of the “greatest good for the great-

est number,” this tension between order and rights continues. May the rights of the
individual impinge on the welfare of the majority? May the majority infringe on the
rights of an individual to preserve order? Some of these dilemmas may be resolved
by deliberation, as Aristotle hoped, or by the ruler’s wisdom, as Confucius hoped.
Often, however, they cannot be resolved by deliberation, and political leaders may
revert to force to protect one group from another. Leaders may assert individual
rights and force the majority to comply with them or may restrict the freedom of
individuals and groups for the sake of the majority. Unlike the other contexts dis-
cussed in this text, the political context extends power over others to include a
monopoly on the legitimate use of force and coercion. Force and coercion may
occur in other contexts, but the political context determines what forms of force
and coercion may or may not be used.
Thus, political change leadership confronts situations demanding policy deci-

sions that must weigh the tension between competing values, such as order, indi-
vidual and group rights, and many others. Political change leadership is unique in
its authority to use physical coercion, including even violence; however, it enjoys
more legitimacy the less it uses coercion.


CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 165

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Extraordinary Rendition

There was little to suggest that Khaled al-Masri’s argument with his wife would lead to front-page
stories around the world, unprecedented international legal action, a case before the U.S.
Supreme Court, and a national and international debate about U.S. agents’ use of torture in
interrogations. What happened to him in the 5 months following his angry departure from his
home entangled him in an international controversy concerning a network of secret prisons and
the United States’ use of torture as a weapons in the war on terror.

On New Year’s Eve 2003, Masri, hoping to blow off some steam after a fight with his wife, took
a bus from the German town of Ulm where he lived to Macedonia for what he thought would be
a vacation. At the border, the Macedonian police took him into custody because his name was
similar to that of an associate of a 9/11 hijacker and they suspected that his passport was forged.
Macedonian authorities informed the CIA’s Macedonian station about Masri and his suspicious
passport. After several weeks of discussing what to do, the CIA took Masri from his Macedonian
jail cell, drugged him, and flew him to an Afghanistan prison. The first night there, he was kicked
and beaten and an interrogator warned him, “You are here in a country where no one knows
about you, in a country where there is no law. If you die, we will bury you, and no one will know”
(Priest, 2005b). Masri had become one of the “ghost detainees” housed in a network of U.S.
secret prisons and subject to a U.S. policy of extraordinary rendition.

The CIA Makes a Mistake. After Masri endured a month of severe treatment, which he said
included being held in isolation and subjected to interrogations and physical beatings, the CIA
determined that his passport was genuine and that he had no connection to terrorists. CIA
Director George Tenet apprised National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Secretary
of State Richard Armitage of the mistake: The United States had taken a citizen of another country
and detained him in a third country, without notifying either his family or government. Masri and
others who experienced extraordinary rendition alleged their interrogations included torture. The
U.S. government firmly denied this.

What to do with Masri? Other terrorist suspects swept up by extraordinary rendition were held
indefinitely in a network of secret prisons or at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba as unlawful
enemy combatants. This new legal category fell outside the realm of Geneva Conventions
guidelines on the treatment of soldiers and civilians during wartime and outside the realm of
guidelines established by U.S. treaties and laws, including habeas corpus, on the treatment of
individuals charged with a crime.

Masri, however, was no longer a terrorist suspect. How can authorities release someone from
a secret prison that is part of a covert operation without making public, or at least compromising,
the covert operation? Initially, Tenet suggested a reverse rendition that would include bringing
Masri back to Macedonia, releasing him, and denying anything happened. Macedonia had no
interest in being part of a reverse rendition, however, and that proposal was quickly rejected.
Masri’s German citizenship complicated matters. U.S. officials agreed that the German government
should hear about these events directly from the U.S. government and not from media reports. It
took a month to decide on a course of action. One crucial question was how much to tell the




German government about U.S. actions toward one of its citizens. The CIA preferred minimal
disclosure and the State Department full (Priest, 2005b). Eventually, the U.S. ambassador to
Germany provided a full accounting, but no apology, to the German interior minister and asked
that the German government not disclose its knowledge of the incident, even if Masri went public.
The ambassador explained that the U.S. government viewed extraordinary rendition as a covert
action essential to waging the war on terrorism and that it needed to remain a state secret.

Shortly after this back-channel informational exchange, Masri reported being visited in his
Afghanistan prison cell by someone apparently from the German government. “Sam,” the only
name the visitor used, explained to Masri “that he was going to be released soon but that he
would not receive any documents or papers confirming his ordeal. The Americans would never
admit they had taken him prisoner” (Priest, 2005b). Masri was taken from his cell, flown to
Albania, transported by van for 6 hours, and released in the mountains at night with directions to
the Macedonian-Albanian border. From there he was taken to the Albanian capital and finally
flown to Munich. After 5 months of being held and interrogated incommunicado, he was back in
Germany (Marty, 2007, pp. 54–62).

Other Remedies for the Mistakes of Extraordinary Rendition. Initially, local German officials
doubted Masri’s incredible tale of abduction, clandestine travel, detention and torture, and eventual
release in the Albanian mountains. Their investigation, however, verified his story. The bus driver
confirmed that Macedonian police took Masri from the bus at the border. Test results of Masri’s hair
samples indicated he suffered from malnutrition during the time he was allegedly in prison. Aviation
records showed flights going at the times and to the places alleged in Masri’s story. From hotel
records, German officials even identified the CIA agents who were most likely to have accompanied
Masri on the flight to Afghanistan. The German federal government, however, deferred action and
comment on the case to the local prosecutor and court in Munich. Eventually, a Munich court ordered
the arrest of 13 U.S. intelligence agents in connection with Masri’s abduction and confinement.

Masri’s case was only one instance, and not the most extreme, of extraordinary rendition and
the alleged use of torture in the war on terrorism. Another example is that of Maher Arar, a Syrian-
born Canadian citizen en route from Zurich to Montreal with his wife and child, who was detained
at Kennedy Airport in New York in September 2002. Raw and incorrect information provided to U.S.
authorities by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) served as the basis for his detention.
Arar was rendered to Syria, a nation notorious for its violation of human rights, where for 7 months
he was detained in a narrow cell without sunlight, interrogated, and beaten regularly. In another
case, the CIA abducted the radical cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr near his mosque in Milan,
Italy, on February 17, 2003. Also known as Abu Omar, he came to Italy in 1997 as a political
refugee seeking asylum from the government of his native Egypt; he had participated in a group
plotting the Egyptian government’s overthrow. Yet in 2003 the CIA took him from Italy to Egypt
where he was imprisoned, interrogated, tortured, and finally placed under house arrest.

Other governments determined these actions to be criminal, as they would in the Masri case.
A Canadian commission found that the charges of terrorist connections against Arar were baseless
and that the RCMP had erred in its policies and exaggerated Arar’s danger. Eventually the
Canadian government apologized to Arar and compensated him with $11.5 million. The U.S.
government did neither. It cited additional secret information it had about Arar and kept him on

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 167

the U.S. watch list, consequently prohibiting him from entering the United States or traveling over
U.S. airspace. The Canadian commission complained that the lack of cooperation from the United
States hindered its investigation (Arar Commission, 2006; Mayer, 2005).

In Nasr’s case, Italian investigators and judges sought extradition of 26 CIA officials to return
to Italy for trial on charges of abducting the cleric. The prosecution of the case created fissures
within the Italian government. At the time of his abduction, Italian counterterrorism police had
Nasr under surveillance and were developing their own case against him. The CIA abduction foiled
that investigation. Then the CIA deliberately misled Italian officials into thinking that Nasr had fled
to the Balkans when they actually had him in its custody in Egypt. Milan prosecutors subsequently
made the unprecedented move of taking U.S. government officials to court in connection with
counterterrorism actions. The Italian national government placed a modest obstacle in the Milan
court’s path by denying Nasr a visa to travel to Italy to testify. His status as a political refugee had
expired during the 3 years he spent in prison, and Egypt had placed him on a no-travel list
(Hennion, 2007; Whitlock, 2005).

The Question of Torture. Compounding the criticism of the U.S. policy of extraordinary
rendition, the world recoiled at the mistreatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
when the photographic evidence became public in April 2004. Prison conditions at the U.S. naval
base at Guantanamo, Cuba, also elicited international protest and criticism. The International Red
Cross and international human rights groups argued that requiring Guantanamo detainees to
maintain stressful positions, endure sleep deprivation, remain confined in cells without light for
long periods, and be subjected to water boarding (a practice in which water from a bucket is
poured down the throat of a blindfolded person to simulate drowning) were, in the words of the
International Committee of the Red Cross, “an intentional system of cruel, unusual, and degrading
treatment and a form of torture” (McCoy, 2006, p. 157).

The confinement of Masri and others extraordinarily rendered was far worse than the
confinement of most prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. The report of the Council of
Europe, chief watchdog for human rights in Europe, found that these prisoners never saw natural
light—a lightbulb was their sole source of light, and its intermittent use disoriented prisoners
from any sense of time; their cells were kept frigid or hot, alternatively; loud music or noise was
their constant companion; and they were often shackled in the cell for “long, painful periods”
(Marty, 2007, p. 53). A report of the International Red Cross concluded that prisoners held in the
CIA’s secret prisons were kept and questioned under highly abusive conditions (Shrader, 2007).

The CIA had been conducting these detention practices covertly since the early 1950s (McCoy,
2006). On the eve of the cold war, the U.S. intelligence agencies, fearing that the Soviet Union had
an upper hand in psychological warfare, conducted experiments and research to determine the
best ways to break down a person’s resistance in interrogation. The research led to the adoption
of practices such as isolation, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and the others described in
the Council of Europe report (Marty, 2007, p. 53; McCoy, 2006, pp. 7–11). These practices did not
constitute torture according to the United States and were condoned officially when the United
States ratified the UN Convention against Torture. The convention prohibited psychological torture,
including the use of mind-altering drugs and imminent death threats, as the corollary of physical
torture. By narrowly defining psychological torture, however, the CIA could still employ




methods of psychological coercion, such as sensory deprivation, self-inflicted pain from
imposed stressful positions, isolation, and sleep deprivation, without explicitly violating U.S.
law or its interpretation of the terms of the UN Convention against Torture (Mayer 2005;
McCoy, 2006, p. 157).

The Department of Justice, at least temporarily, went even further than the CIA in restricting
the definition of what constituted physical torture. In August 2002, the Department of Justice and
the White House legal counsel suggested that the UN Convention permitted torture up to the
point of severe pain akin to organ failure, serious physical injury, or death. Even in instances that
reached or passed these thresholds, the Department of Justice maintained that if the intent of the
interrogator was to gather information rather than to inflict mental or physical pain, it was not
torture (McCoy, 2006, pp. 121–124). Thus, official U.S. policy permitted the use of extraordinary
rendition and the coercive acts that accompanied it in cases such as Masri’s; such acts did not fall
within the parameters of mental and physical torture as defined by the United States.

These interpretations stirred controversy within the Bush administration. The State
Department legal adviser opined that the new definitions and policies would make those
implementing them subject to charges for violations of the UN Convention and the president
subject to charges of war crimes (Mayer, 2005). Even within the CIA some officials objected to
the changed practices, including the use of extraordinary rendition. They argued that the use of
so-called black sites, secret prisons set up by the CIA in foreign countries for the purpose of
retaining and interrogating suspected terrorists, violated the culture of the CIA and was not as
effective as other methods of information gathering. Supporters of the new policies cited the
possibility of a second imminent series of terrorist attacks, arguing that extraordinary means
were necessary to prevent such attacks from recurring (Mayer, 2006; Priest, 2005a). A Harvard
University study examined the need for “highly coercive interrogation” in the war on terrorism.
It concluded that the United States needed to employ methods greater than ordinary police
interrogation but short of forms of torture explicitly forbidden by U.S. laws and treaties
(Heymann & Kayyem, 2005, pp. 1–9; PBS, 2005).

What came to be known as the Jack Bauer, or ticking-bomb, scenario seemed to offer a
legitimate, and perhaps necessary, reason for resorting to physical torture when a terrorist had
information of an imminent plot. Jack Bauer, the hero of the Fox network television action drama
24, had 24 hours to foil a terrorist plot and used torture to do so. Opponents of extraordinary
rendition countered that ticking-bomb scenarios were rare and did not apply to cases such as
Masri’s. Masri and others like him were detained and interrogated, some would say tortured, not
for the information they had but to determine if they had information. Finally, some within the
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) who opposed the new practices argued that interrogations
based on trust and a relationship provided more and better information than those based on
torture (Mayer, 2005; McCoy, 2006). Tortured detainees sometimes provide false information just
to stop the pain. One proponent of highly coercive interrogation acknowledged that the Jack
Bauer scenario was unlikely but could not simply be wished away (Kayyem, 2005). Her assertion
alluded to what became known as the 1% solution. Formulated by Vice President Dick Cheney, the
policy asserted a strong preference for action over analysis. If analysis suggested a 1% chance of
a threat being carried out, the United States had to respond as if the threat were a certainty
(Suskind, 2006, p. 62). Response to a perceived threat became a top priority, as exemplified by

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 169

the cases of extraordinary rendition. Masri’s abduction was indicative of how low the bar of
perceived threat could be set.

The White House and the Department of Justice also tangled with the Pentagon about the
revised definitions of torture. Senior law officers of all branches of the military pointed out that
the new interpretations of torture and the policies they permitted violated the Military Code of
Justice and the Geneva Conventions and could subject military interrogators to criminal
proceedings. When the proposals became official, a group of military lawyers unofficially visited
the head of the Human Rights Committee of the New York Bar Association. The delegates urged
the committee “to challenge the Bush administration about its standards for detention and
interrogation” (McCoy, 2006, p. 131); thus, they attempted to enlist allies outside the government
to continue the fight they had waged unsuccessfully from inside the government (Mayer, 2006;
McCoy, 2006, pp. 128–131).

A Covert Operation Becomes Public. After disclosure and criticism of U.S. policies at
Guantanamo surfaced, the clandestine operation of extraordinary rendition came to light in
November 2005. Dana Priest, with information supplied by a source within the CIA, reported in
the Washington Post that extraordinary rendition was part of a larger policy that included “secret
prisons” operated by the CIA in eight countries. The story detailed the policy by which suspected
terrorists, such as Masri, were abducted in one country; brought to black sites; held as “ghost
detainees,” incommunicado, without any records of imprisonment and without acknowledgment
by any government; and tortured by all but U.S. standards (Priest, 2005a).

In the wake of these reports, the European Parliament set up a temporary committee on
extraordinary rendition. One of the committee’s tasks was to judge the validity of reports of ghost
detainees and their subjection to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or torture (Marty, 2007) in
violation of fundamental European and international rights. The committee also sought to determine
whether European Union nations were complicit in any of these matters—either inadvertently, such
as through the use of a sovereign nation’s airspace without its knowledge, or deliberately, such as
through assistance with the abduction or transport of detainees or the hosting of a black site.

On December 5, 2005, only a month after breaking the secret-prisons story, the Washington Post
gave details of the Masri case (Priest, 2005b). The next day, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
filed suit against the CIA on behalf of Masri in U.S federal court. The suit contended that George Tenet
and other CIA agents violated U.S. and universal human rights laws when they authorized and carried
out Masri’s abduction. “The CIA’s policy of extraordinary rendition is a clear violation of universal
human rights protections. . . . Snatching Mr. El-Masri off the street and hiding him away in a secret
prison was illegal under American and international law. Keeping him imprisoned after his innocence
was established was immoral by any standard” (American Civil Liberties Union, 2005). Masri had
modest goals for his legal action: “I am asking the American government to admit its mistakes and
to apologize for my treatment. Throughout my time in the prison, I asked to be brought before a court
but was refused. Now I am hoping that an American court will say very clearly that what happened
to me was illegal and cannot be done to others” (American Civil Liberties Union, 2005). Masri had
intended to attend the press conference announcing the suit but was refused entrance into the
country after his plane arrived, and he was sent back to Germany on the next available plane.
Immigration officials gave no reason for their action.




The United States Does Not Torture. Masri’s front-page story broke at an inauspicious time for
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was preparing to leave for a trip to Europe to mend
fences over the reports of the month before. Now complete details of an instance of extraordinary
rendition would precede her.

In light of public concern and investigations, Rice (2005) issued a formal statement about U.S.
policy. She stressed the difficulties that the new form of conflict, global terrorism, placed on the
first and oldest duty of any government—to protect its citizens. “The captured terrorists of the
21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice, which were
designed for different needs. We have to adapt.” Indeed, a cornerstone of the new policy of
interrogation included a classification of unlawful enemy combatants who did not fall under the
Geneva Conventions governing responsibilities toward soldiers and civilians during war. Nor did
these enemy combatants enjoy the protection of U.S. laws. Rice thus echoed the opinion of the
Department of Justice that international terrorism was “a category of behavior not covered by the
legal system” and that “historically, there were people so bad that they were not given protection
of the laws” and did not deserve them (Mayer, 2005). Rice explained that the war against
terrorism had many forms, including conventional military and intelligence forms, which required
the cooperation of intelligence services of other nations. It also had many fronts, such as Iraq and
Afghanistan, and areas “where governments cannot take effective action, including where the
terrorists cannot in practice be reached by the ordinary processes of law.”

Rendition, Rice (2005) maintained, was permissible under international law; consistent with
the responsibilities of government to protect its citizens, and a well-established practice. “For
decades, the United States and other countries have used ‘renditions’ to transport terrorist
suspects from the country where they were captured to their home country or to other countries
where they can be questioned, held, or brought to justice.”

Certainly since the mid-1990s, the CIA had conducted extraordinary renditions. In the
aftermath of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the CIA encountered frustration in
handling suspects. Granting them due process under U.S. trial procedures risked revealing too
much about CIA methods of investigation, informants, and the cooperation of foreign nations,
which preferred anonymity in clandestine investigations. One CIA agent involved in these
investigations complained, “We were turning into voyeurs. We knew where these people were, but
we couldn’t capture them because we had nowhere to take them.” The CIA realized it needed to
collaborate with another country and gained the cooperation of Egypt (Mayer, 2005). After 9/11,
extraordinary rendition increased greatly. What had been a very targeted policy became more

In her defense of rendition in which she touched on precedents for it and suggested its proven
success, Rice (2005) reiterated eight times that the United States did not torture rendered
individuals or condone the use of torture. She invoked the U.S. Constitution, laws, and treaties,
including the UN Convention against Torture, as prohibiting physical and psychological torture and
gave assurances that the U.S. policy of rendition operated within those parameters. Before
rendering a detainee for interrogation, she explained, the United States acquired assurances that
the country to which a prisoner was sent would comply with the bans against torture. Rice
reminded people that democratic governments face tough choices in balancing the traditional

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 171

practices of democracy, such as respect for the rights of the accused, while simultaneously striving
to ensure the physical safety of their citizens: “Debate in and among democracies is natural and
healthy. I hope that that debate also includes a healthy regard for the responsibilities of
governments to protect their citizens.”

Rescinding Extraordinary Rendition. Indeed, the debate ensued immediately. Human Rights
Watch challenged the accuracy of Rice’s remarks. This international nongovernmental organization
(NGO) monitors human rights issues in different nations and advocates for compliance with the
highest standards of international agreements relating to human rights. Rice’s statement, as the
group parsed it, had not denied the existence of secret prisons and skirted the torture issue.
Claiming that the United States did not transport detainees “for the purpose” of interrogation
using torture did not mean that detainees were not tortured at the sites where the United States
took them. Certainly, the countries that the United States selected for detention of those subjected
to extraordinary rendition had reputations for human rights violations, including the torture and
mistreatment of prisoners. This made it likely that rendered prisoners would be tortured, assurances
to the contrary notwithstanding. For example, the State Department’s annual country-by-country
report on human rights described the prison system in Afghanistan, where Masri was rendered, as
“poor.” The report cited accounts of other secret or informal detention centers in the country where
prisoners “were reportedly beaten, tortured, and denied adequate food” (U.S. Department of State,
2005). Ironically, the State Department depended on the work of international NGOs such as
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for the information used in its report.

Human Rights Watch also explained that Rice’s assurances of compliance with the UN
Convention against Torture had to be viewed in light of the Bush administration’s own definition
of torture. The administration’s definition differed from more widely accepted definitions of torture
in that it excluded most views of psychological torture and did not apply to interrogations of non-
Americans abroad, even in cases where such persons were in U.S. custody (Human Rights Watch,
2005). Human Rights Watch suggested that Masri’s case, other cases of extraordinary rendition,
and some of the events that occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo all pointed to new
government policies that condoned the use of torture.

These policies began to erode with the publication of graphic photographic evidence of the
torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, rising criticism of the treatment of detainees at
Guantanamo, and international legal action against U.S. officials for their part in extraordinary
rendition. The Department of Justice rescinded its expanded definition of physical torture. In
September 2006, President Bush—under continuing pressure from human rights advocates,
Congress, European governments, and members of the Republican Party—acknowledged the past
use of secret prisons and indicated that all U.S.-held detainees had been transferred to
Guantanamo so that the prisons were now empty. He insisted that interrogation “procedures were
designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. . . . The
procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary” (BBC, 2006).

Members of the president’s own party hoped to insulate the United States from mounting
charges of human rights violations by passing legislation banning torture, as defined by the U.S.
Army in its Military Code of Conduct, and establishing military tribunals to hear cases of unlawful




enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo. After some discussion, the president reached a
compromise with Congress and key Republican leaders in which he agreed to such legislation.
When he subsequently signed it into law, however, he explained that the law would not encroach
upon his powers as commander in chief and his responsibility “of protecting the American people
from further terrorist attacks.” Bush asserted that he could invoke those powers as president,
thereby effectively bypassing the law. The administration had used this same premise to defend its
earlier legitimation of expansive methods of torture. Thus, the president not only repeated what
Secretary Rice had offered as the basis for the U.S. policy of extraordinary rendition but went even
further by citing his constitutional authority as commander in chief as a justification for ignoring
the law’s ban on torture (Savage, 2006).

In the midst of all this, Masri’s case made its way through the federal courts. The government
presented arguments in May 2006 stating that this unprecedented lawsuit would harm national
security by exposing state secrets and, therefore, should be dismissed. The judge agreed with the
government. On March 2, 2007, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. On
May 30, 2007, the ACLU petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review Masri’s case. The appeal
would test how far the government could use state secrets to avoid a trial in which it was charged
with criminal action. Worldwide knowledge of Masri’s treatment and the government’s official
acknowledgment of the rendition policy brought attention to his case; however, the Court refused
to hear it. Masri was in court for other matters as well, including his assault of a vocational
training instructor in January 2007 and his arrest in May 2007 on suspicion of arson at a
wholesale market. His supporters attributed his alleged actions to the psychological torture he had
suffered and his inability to get redress from the U.S. or German governments (Hennion, 2007;
Marty, 2007, p. 58).

Masri’s experience may have represented only one incident in a global effort to hinder
terrorism and punish terrorists. Nevertheless, his case focused attention on the practices of
extraordinary rendition and torture and contributed to the national and international debate
about the use of such practices by the U.S. government.

Concepts of Political Change

The change of extraordinary rendition, though far more dramatic than most polit-
ical change, provides a useful case to examine change in the political context. It
brings front and center the distinguishing characteristic of the political context—
the use of force and coercion. From there the other theoretical concepts of
leadership take on meanings uniquely hewn to the political context. In this chapter,
we examine the means-ends relationship of change. It often occasions a conflict of
evil means for good ends and unintended consequences. The best assurance of a
strong bond of means and ends comes with a combination of modal and end val-
ues. These include values and transactional and transforming leadership, both of
which are discussed in other chapters of this book. They take on unique meaning

in the political context because of two other leadership concepts—the ethics of
responsibility and folly. These are absent from other chapters in the book and per-
haps illustrate how leadership concepts most common to the political context can
inform other contexts. Most of the time, the influence is in the other direction.


Change occurs within a field of collaborative and conflicting organizations and
individual actors. For example, in the case study detailed in this chapter, Human
Rights Watch and the Department of State collaborated in compiling the annual
report on terror nation by nation but clashed regarding Rice’s justifications of extra-
ordinary rendition and denials of the use of torture in interrogations of rendered
prisoners. An analysis of leadership examines the influence of the actions taken by
leaders and followers opposed to and supportive of the same or related changes.
Four analytical frames emphasize this network of influence, rather than a spe-

cific leader: Kurt Lewin’s field theory, Gunnar Myrdal’s principle of cumulative
effect, Margaret Wheatley’s work on systems (Hickman & Couto, 2006, pp. 160–168),
and Ronald Heifetz’s concept of adaptive work.
Kurt Lewin’s (1951) field theory espouses that effective change requires under-

standing “the totality of coexisting facts which are conceived as mutually interde-
pendent” (p. 240). Lewin, a psychologist, concerned himself with individual and
group behavior, including change. He contributed action research to the field of
problem-centered scholarship. Problem solving, like effective change, requires plac-
ing a problem within a system or field containing as many relevant and interde-
pendent elements as possible. Within this field, each individual becomes his or her
own dynamic field with interdependent parts, including “life spaces” of family,
work, worship, and other groups. People take positive and negative influences from
their experiences that shape their identity and help explain their behavior. Lewin
advocated assembling all the relevant, mutually independent factors to explain
social phenomena, such as leadership and change.
Consider extraordinary rendition through the lens of field theory. Some admin-

istration officials disagreed with the political change leading to the use of extraor-
dinary rendition, and they used the press to voice their criticism anonymously.
Press reports set off a chain of checks and balances. Congress passed legislation to
establish the lawful boundaries of new forms of force within the rendition policy.
The judicial branch gave individuals and advocacy groups access to contest the con-
stitutionality of rendition. Political leaders of different nations disagreed regarding
the legality of rendition. The rendition policy implied the authority of one country
to seize citizens or legal residents within the sovereign boundaries of another coun-
try and transport them to a third country for interrogation. Opposition to rendi-
tion increased when international NGOs and supranational government bodies,
such as the European Parliament and the United Nations, undertook investigations
that revealed these interrogations often entailed torture.
Some unusual circumstances came together at the beginning of Masri’s ordeal.

The CIA agent who first approved Masri’s detention on New Year’s Eve was low on
the chain of command but anxious to play a part in the war on terror. She had been

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 173

left in charge so other staff members could have the holiday off of work. The CIA’s
system of rewards and sanctions provided her, and later her superiors, the incentive
to detain Masri and render him for interrogation despite a lack of clear evidence
(Priest, 2005b). Field theory would point to all of these circumstances as key factors
in the development of Masri’s case.
Gunnar Myrdal’s (1944) principle of cumulative effect provides another way of

analyzing Masri’s case. Myrdal began with the notion of a system in stable equilib-
rium and rejected it as inadequate to provide a “dynamic analysis of the process of
change in social relations” (p. 1065). The static equilibrium of a system is merely a
starting point for exploring the balance of opposing forces. In the simplest of sys-
tems comprising only two opposing elements, a change in one brings about a
change in the other, which in turn brings on more change. The changes may be sub-
tle enough to appear stable in what is actually a constant state of adjustment. Most
systems, however, comprise many interrelated elements, making them far more
complex. Even the simplest system with two opposing elements becomes complex
given the composites of each element.
Myrdal (1944) proposed a principle of cumulation to explain change within a

system of dynamic social causation. Change accumulates as one change brings on
another change, and the elements of a system and their composites, or subsystems,
represent a second form of cumulation. Assuming an initial static state of balanced
forces, Myrdal states the following principle:

Any change in any one of . . . [its] factors, independent of the way in which it is
brought about, will, by the aggregate weight of the cumulative effects running
back and forth between them all, start the whole system moving in one direction
or the other as the case may be, with a speed depending upon the original push
and the functions of causal interrelation within the system. (p. 1067)

Myrdal (1944) explained that the final effects of the cumulative process may
greatly accelerate after the original push. Once the practice of extraordinary rendi-
tion increased post-9/11, adverse consequences cascaded as Myrdal suggested they
would in a field of interrelated parts. “The process of change will continue without
a new balance in sight,” he wrote (p. 1066). This happens largely because the system
in which any change occurs is far more complicated than it appears. Every element
of the system interrelates with every other element, and every element has its pecu-
liarities and irregularities (p. 1068).
Margaret Wheatley’s work (1992, 2007) bridged the field theory of Lewin and

the cumulative principle of Myrdal. Wheatley explained that physics introduced
field theory to explain gravity, electromagnetism, and relativity. These three fields
are similar in that they are “unseen structures, occupying space and becoming
known to us through their effects.” The space of fields, much like their time, is not
empty but “a cornucopia of invisible but powerfully effective structure” (Wheatley,
1992, p. 49). Like Wheatley, Lewin and Myrdal suggested that to understand human
behavior and social change one needs to recognize that time and space are not
empty and begin to fill in their invisible, but effective, structure.
Wheatley (1992) elaborated on the consequence of this conception of field for

leadership. The idea that leaders have vision, set goals, and then marshal their own


energy and that of others to achieve these goals is a Newtonian view of change
focused on a prime mover and a mechanistic concept of change. Although partially
true, this Newtonian focus overlooks the complex fields of cumulative interactions
across time and space in which all of this takes place. Better, Wheatley argued, to
think about organizational culture and the deliberate and intentional formation of
fields that reinforce the values and goals of an organization and fill its spaces and
history with coherent messages (pp. 52–57).
Ronald Heifetz (2007) implicitly used the concept of field in his conceptualiza-

tion of leadership as adaptive work. He defined leadership as the work of mobiliz-
ing people’s adaptive capacity to tackle tough problems and thrive. Meeting
adaptive challenges, known as adaptive work, comprises the basic unit of
leadership. Heifetz borrowed the concept of “thriving” from evolutionary biology,
in which a successful adaptation preserves essential DNA—the accumulated wis-
dom of generations; rearranges, reregulates, or discards the DNA that no longer
serves the current need; and innovates to develop capacity that enables the organ-
ism to thrive in new, challenging environments. A successful adaptation enables a
living system to incorporate the best aspects from its past with some enterprising
changes to ensure its success in the future.

Mediating Incremental Change

The intricate complexity and interdependency of factors within the field of any
political change limit the amount of change possible. The prospect of sustainabil-
ity most often occurs with incremental, rather than sweeping, change, unless a great
deal of effort is made to include the input of as many stakeholders as possible.
These considerations of field also necessitate what Max Weber called considera-

tions of balance and proportion. How do Americans adapt to the threat of terror-
ism without forfeiting their commitment to human rights? Such questions entail a
fundamental rethinking of authority and power as means rather than ends, Heifetz
(1994) suggested. The use of coercion cannot be justified solely by the desire to
achieve a goal, such as national security, however important that goal may be;
rather, those employing coercion must be willing to accept responsibility for the
consequences of their actions if they hope to justify them.
After 5 years in which numerous revelations about extraordinary rendition came to

light, President Bush faced overwhelming public opinion that the policy represented an
unsustainable adaptation to a changed environment characterized by the threat of ter-
rorism. This suggests that change comes best in incremental, rather than large, amounts.
Adam Yarmolinsky (2007), a lawyer and an academician who held several high-level
government and university positions, proposed that operating at a reasonably high
level in any organization, public or private, is really like being in charge of an engine:

Between keeping the machine from running down for lack of fuel or seizing up
for lack of oil, there is seldom, if ever, a time to think about where it is going.
You have to jump on the train while the train is moving, and you have to figure
out which way it is moving. It may be moving backwards with respect to what
you want but forward with what else is happening in the world. (p. 46)

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 175

Certainly the Masri case exemplifies the complexity to which Yarmolinsky
referred. Extraordinary rendition may have moved the acquisition of information
about terrorism forward, but it sent diplomatic relations backward. Agreements at
the highest levels of the U.S., German, and Italian governments were undermined
when local prosecutors and courts in Germany and Italy treated CIA actions
connected to the policy of extraordinary rendition as criminal acts rather than
national security secrets. Likewise, the Bush administration faced criticism from
Republicans and Democrats alike over the policy.
Yarmolinsky’s (2007) comparison of change efforts to the path taken by a loco-

motive differs from other scholars’ conceptualization of change. Locomotives run on
linear tracks. It’s useful, therefore, to remember that any locomotive is a component
of a system of moving parts going in different directions on set paths. When the
extraordinary rendition policy moved forward, it sent other parts of the interna-
tional and national political systems moving down paths fated for a collision unless
adjustments to speed and direction could be made. Even presidents can’t hold the
locomotive’s throttle wide open and send a train hurtling down a determined path
without risking a wreck or, as historian Barbara Tuchman (1984) said, folly.

Concepts of Political Leadership

A government must provide its citizenry with security from physical harm if it is to
be effective and maintain political order. At times this may require waging war
against another government and using force and violence against groups and, in the
case of extraordinary rendition, individuals. In his profound essay “Politics as a
Vocation,” Weber (1946) defined the state in terms of violence: “a human commu-
nity that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force
within a given territory” (p. 78). At its root, political change, like all politics, “means
striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either
among states or among groups within a state” (p. 78). Part of the authority of the
state comes from establishing the legitimacy of its power so that it does not have to
resort to using the physical force on which its power rests. Weber combined these
definitional elements in powerful sociological terms: “The state is a relation of men
dominating men, a relation supported by means of a legitimate (i.e., considered to
be legitimate) violence” (p. 78). This does not preclude the role of deliberation. To
the contrary, in a democracy the line between legitimate and illegitimate violence is
most often determined by deliberation. Nor is the state the only political association—
families, workplaces, places of worship, churches, and other institutions are all char-
acterized by politics, including formal and informal mechanisms of legitimate and
illegitimate forms of force. The state’s claim, however, supersedes all the rest.
Government claims a monopoly on legitimate violence to ensure compliance

with its demands and to limit the use of force and violence in other contexts. Other
organizations and actors may use force (e.g., when a bouncer physically ejects a
patron from a restaurant), but they must do so within the legal framework estab-
lished by the government. Clearly, actors in the private sector are greatly restricted in
terms of the kind of force they are permitted to use as compared to actors in the


public sector. The power to coerce increases as the level of government increases,
being much greater on the national level than on the local level. Likewise, the forms
of coercion increase with ascension through government levels, moving from polic-
ing and security at the local level to armed battle at the national level. Some govern-
ment officials may even legitimately and lawfully take a human life, as in cases of
capital punishment or war. Similarly, as political authority becomes more democra-
tic, deliberation becomes more inclusive: witness the post-Aristotelian abolition of
slavery and the political participation of women. Social stratification certainly
remains even in democratic societies, but, in general, democratic political leadership
leans toward the reduction of such stratification and toward the reduction of vio-
lence based on stratification—witness laws against violence toward women.
Yet the question Weber (1946) asked remains: If we must do harm to others,

how do we legitimate it? How do we strike the right balance between competing
values—such as social order versus individual rights or, in the Masri case, national
security versus the rights of an individual suspected of terrorism?


That question brings us to the heart of leadership and change in any context:
values. From 1995 to 1998, the Kellogg Foundation supported a series of forums
and discussions about the state and future of the study of leadership. James
MacGregor Burns hosted these discussions, which were coordinated by the Burns
Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland and the Jepson School of
Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, and about 50 leadership studies
scholars participated in them. Two central points emerged from the discussions:

• Leadership has common tasks—change, conflict, and collaboration.
• Leadership has distinguishing elements—values, initiative, inclusiveness, and
creativity—that may be seen in leadership in any context.

Values suffuse the common elements of leadership—change, conflict, and col-
laboration. How leadership deals with these common elements varies depending on
the values of a group or its leadership. For example, values affect initiative (which
kind of change to undertake and when to undertake it) and inclusiveness (who
should participate in the change process and who should benefit from the change).
Creativity has constituent elements: critical thinking, vision, communication, and
reflective practice. All of these variables constitute the common elements of
leadership as shown in Table 7.1.
Clarity about values offers a starting point for understanding initiative and

inclusiveness. Creativity remains the outlier, but even so, values play a part in deter-
mining which creative tactics and strategies are appropriate and what emphasis
should be placed on humor and other moral resources in the conduct of change,
conflict, and collaboration.
Figure 7.1 presents a further refinement of the original Kellogg Leadership Study

Group model. It begins to explain how values can drive a person to initiate change
and how change can impinge on values and consequently drive people to take

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 177

initiative. Change brings conflict and collaboration, both of which have reflexive
relationships with inclusiveness and initiative. Values affect leaders’ decisions about
which people to include or exclude in the change process and which people to
include or exclude from the benefits of the intended change. Similarly, creativity
affects and is affected by conflict and collaboration. Figure 7.1 suggests that cre-
ativity affects who is included in leadership efforts and when initiative begins, both
of which influence the nature of conflict and collaboration.
If only the study and conduct of leadership were as simple as a model compris-

ing straight lines and boxes! Moving leadership from a model depicted on a printed


Elements of Leadership Change Conflict Collaboration





TABLE 7.1 Common Elements of Leadership

The Goal of

Conflict Collaboration



The Process of


FIGURE 7.1 The Common and Distinguishing Elements of Leadership

page to actual day-to-day experience entails moving from an inanimate, two-
dimensional chart to a dynamic system of interrelated parts and subsystems in a
state of constant change without clear boundaries—a fractal. To think that one can
understand leadership as a set of categories with fixed points and relations, such as
in Figure 7.1, or as a list of generalizations, such as the one just given, would under-
mine the dynamic nature of leadership as it is experienced. Using a grid to analyze
the universe, for example, may leave one without any sense of the dynamic, ever-
changing nature of the universe. Likewise, the grids from Table 7.1 and Figure 7.1
serve as only a temporary, static representation of the ever-changing reality of
leadership. Even so, the static framework suggests the elements around which any
dynamic system will organize itself and those that effective leadership will use.
Figure 7.2 captures the dynamic nature of leadership. It includes the same fac-

tors as Table 7.1 and Figure 7.1 but attempts to illustrate a more fluid, ever-changing
environment held together by the energy of its interrelated parts, analogous to the
activity at the subatomic level of matter. At the core of this dynamic model of
leadership reside values and related components that distinguish one form of
leadership from another. Change, conflict, and collaboration travel around this
core in a pattern that can be specified but not predicted. These leadership elements
have their own interrelationships and are held in orbit by values, inclusiveness, ini-
tiative, and creativity.
The clarity about values as the central element of change in any context invites

the question, what values? What groups and individuals share common values in
this leadership effort and would be willing to form alliances in conflicts over
change? In the political context, this conflict over values may entail the legitimacy
and wisdom of forceful coercion to promote one set of values over another.

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 179





FIGURE 7.2 The Quantum of Leadership

In the Masri case, the conflicting values, in broadest terms, were national secu-
rity against terrorist attacks and the human rights of those suspected of terrorist
planning. On the one hand, these values may be considered absolute ends, but in
practice they have limits. The administration’s effort to imprison and to permit
others to interrogate terrorist suspects with enhanced coercive techniques, if not
torture, met almost universal criticism for their violation of human rights. On the
other hand, it is quite clear, as Rice (2005) pointed out, that the value of human
rights cannot be permitted to jeopardize national security by protecting the rights
of those with information vital to national security to remain silent. The task then
is not to choose between competing values but how to pursue one without aban-
doning the other.

The Ethic of Responsibility

Weber (1946) addressed the difficulty of this choice and brought it to stage cen-
ter of political leadership. He contrasted an ethic of absolute or ultimate ends and
an ethic of responsibility. Taken alone, the emphasis on passion, ideals, and cause
in politics—whether national security or human rights—could support extremism.
The decisive distinctions between them are a consideration of consequences of
action and proportionality. The ethos of cause, an absolute value, risks becoming
extremism without an ethos of responsible compromise and proportionate action.
The ethic of ultimate ends focuses on intention, whereas the ethic of responsi-

bility focuses on the foreseeable adverse consequences of one’s actions (Weber,
1946, pp. 119–120). “The believer in an ethic of ultimate ends feels ‘responsible’
only for seeing to it that the flame of pure intentions is not squelched; for example,
the flame of protesting against the injustice of the social order” (p. 121). Thus, sui-
cide bombers may see their action as a means to protest injustice and to inspire
others to similar protest with no attention to the real and human consequences of
that action to others.
The responsible ethic focuses on adverse consequences. It seeks and examines all

foreseeable consequences of an action and assumes responsibility for them. One
consequence not foreseen that posed a difficult problem for the administration was
that of an innocent person being rendered. When faced with this consequence, the
highest ranking officials of the CIA and the State Department took a month to
decide what to do. Tenet’s initial idea, reverse rendition, would pretend that Masri
had never been rendered a complete abdication of the ethics of responsibility.
Eventually, the United States chose a middle path. It took responsibility for Masri’s
treatment but only to the German government and asked its assistance to deny this
adverse consequence of its policy.
In terms of the second feature of an ethics of responsibility, extraordinary ren-

dition seemed more proportionate than measures that the United Nations, strongly
backed by the Clinton administration, took against the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization estimated that 567,000 Iraqi children
younger than 5 years of age had died between 1990 and 1995 because of sanctions.
The United States opposed lifting those sanctions. On the television magazine


program 60 Minutes, reporter Leslie Stahl asked Madeleine Albright, ambassador to
the United Nations and future secretary of State, if the effort to topple Saddam
Hussein was worth that price. Albright, echoing Weber’s observation that good
things might come from evil, replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the
price—we think the price is worth it.” She apologized for that remark in her mem-
oirs (Richman, 2003). Although rendition received much more press coverage than
the deaths of Iraqi children, it took and disrupted far fewer lives. A few errors in
extraordinary rendition, such as Masri, might be considered collateral damage—a
regrettable but unavoidable consequence of a legitimate battle tactic in the war on
terrorism—and far less reprehensible than the policy consequences of the deaths of
thousands of children.
In political terms, however, extraordinary rendition had more adverse conse-

quences. Internationally, the United States had allied with nations with reputations for
torture of prisoners and other violations of human rights. At the same time, it kept
allies with reputations for respect of human rights at arms length with its refusal to
cooperate in those governments’ investigations of extraordinary rendition of its
citizens or residents. Thus, the United States impugned the sovereignty of those
nations. Extraordinary rendition differed from the UN sanctions on Iraq, in part
because of the allies it had in each policy. In addition, these U.S. policies eroded its
moral standing to criticize other nations for doing the same. When Iran seized four
Americans in 2007, for example, the parallels between its actions and the United
States’ extraordinary rendition left the Bush administration hampered in its protest
of Iranian action (Greenberg, 2007). World support for the U.S. war on terror
slipped from 2002 to 2005 (Pew Global Attitudes Project, 2005), in each of the 16
nations polled, except for 1 in which the support was already low—17%. The favor-
able opinion of the United States also declined over this same period (PBS, 2007).
At the same time within the United States, polls indicated that Americans who
thought the country was heading in the right direction dropped from 70% to 30%
(Polling Report, n.d.). The Bush administration insisted that extraordinary rendi-
tion had thwarted terrorist plots and its effectiveness outweighed the criticism the
United States received about its regard for human rights.
Behind this calculation or proportions of adverse and beneficial consequences,

other matters of proportion can be found. The numbers of extraordinary rendi-
tions jumped dramatically after 9/11. Rather than rendering individuals whose guilt
was well documented and in most cases decided in absentia by a court, the CIA now
rendered people like Masri on the suspicion of terrorism. In the disproportionate
emphasis on gathering information for national security, it seemingly never
occurred to policy makers what to do with innocent people who had been rendered
after questioning them.

Good Ends and Wrong Means

The coin of ethics of responsibility has another side, however. The nature of the
state, a relationship of legitimate violence, may require pursuing good ends
(national security) through “morally dubious means or at least dangerous ones”

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 181

(extraordinary rendition) with evil consequences. This brings Weber (1946) back to
his lamentable premise that “the decisive means for politics is violence” (p. 121) to
which he added that in the experience of the irrationality of the world good conse-
quences may come from evil means and evil consequences from good means. “The
world is governed by demons and . . . he who lets himself in for politics, that is, for
power and force as means, contracts with diabolical powers” precisely because of
this irrationality of the world (p. 123).
As Weber (1946) explained about the ethics of absolutes, the ethics of responsi-

bility runs the same risk if disproportionately pursued as an absolute value:

He who seeks the salvation of the soul, of his own and of others, should not
seek it along the avenue of politics, for the quite different tasks of politics can
only be solved by violence. . . . Everything that is striven for through political
action operating with violent means and following an ethic of responsibility
endangers the “salvation of the soul.” (p. 126)

Is one then left with dueling ethics? Weber (1946) seems to throw up his hands,
sadly concluding, “From no ethics in the world can it be concluded when and to
what extent the ethically good purpose ‘justifies’ the ethically dangerous means and
ramifications” (p. 121).

Transforming and Transactional Leadership

Perhaps one can resolve this value conflict by putting the ethics of responsibility
and absolutes in more familiar terms of transactional and transforming leadership.
Burns (1978) associates the first with modal values—honesty, integrity, trust,
empathy, and other values that permit people to engage in the transactions of
everyday life with some confidence. Transforming leadership he associates with end
values—liberty, justice—and, in the context of this discussion, human rights and
security from physical harm. Modal values share much in common with the ethos
of responsibility, which assesses the possible consequences of a particular change to
achieve some end value. End values share much in common with the ethos of ulti-
mate ends, which focuses on the goal to be achieved. Weber (1946) called for some
sense of proportion between intended changes and ensuing consequences. Perhaps
then, the responsible pursuit of transforming leadership goals also requires a por-
tion of transactional leadership modal values. Without such temperance, the end
most surely might come to justify the means whenever the state is powerful enough
to justify its violence in terms of values, such as social order.
The Masri case invites reconsideration of transforming and transactional

leadership. Often they are seen as dichotomies (Burns, 2007), but clearly they
entail the fusion of modal values—the stuff of transactional leadership—and end
values—the material of transforming. When the pursuit of end values—such as
national security—cannot be done with modal values—such as honesty, integrity,
trust, truthfulness, accountability, and openness—it may indicate inauthentic
transforming leadership or what others have called the dark side of charismatic


leadership (Yukl, 1998, pp. 311–314). This suggests further that although leadership
is always moral action, sometimes it may engage in immoral action. This brings
us back to the “ends justifying the means” principle that Weber (1946) made cen-
tral to political leadership. Clearly, however, when the means entails secrecy, even
after they are made public, it undermines the credibility of claims to legitimate
coercive force.
On balance then, the ethics of absolutes and responsibility require political

leadership to cling to a cause—the purpose to which politics, power, and violence
are a means—but to act responsibly. The latter requires examining foreseeable
consequences, forgoing disproportionate actions even in pursuit of a cause, and
remaining in touch with the adverse consequences of action. The political vocation
is transforming, in James MacGregor Burns’s (1978) terms, because the responsible
pursuit of ultimate ends is the only means to discover what is possible.


Without proportion and a balance of absolute and responsible ethics, political
leaders run the risk of folly—the lengthy pursuit of policies that run counter to
their self-interest. Barbara Tuchman (1984) carefully outlined the characteristics
of folly: “wooden headedness,” which removes reason from political leadership
and in its place substitutes wishful thinking; the use of fixed and biased notions;
and the refusal or inability to learn from experience. The decision to bring the
wooden horse left by the Greeks at the city gates of Troy presents an archetype of
folly (pp. 36–49) further illustrated by the Papacy on the eve of the Reformation,
the British government on the eve of the American Revolution, and the U.S. gov-
ernment in Vietnam. The adverse consequences of folly, a failure of the ethics of
responsibility, in the political realm almost always exceeds folly in other contexts
by dramatic proportions.
The strategic and tactical effectiveness of the war in Iraq and other parts of the

war on terrorism will be discussed for decades, but the strategic and tactical effec-
tiveness of torture has already been debated for centuries. Ulpian, a third century
Roman jurist, argued that the strong can resist torture and the weak will say any-
thing to end their pain (McCoy, 2006, p. 203). Torture may be effective when car-
ried out on a large scale. In 1957, for example, the French government destroyed the
urban underground resistance in Algiers by rounding up 30% to 40% of all men in
the Casbah section, interrogating them, torturing some of them, and summarily
executing 3,000 of them. The United States replicated the French methods of tor-
ture, interrogation, and murder in Vietnam with Project Phoenix. William Colby,
later head of the CIA and in 1971 in charge of Project Phoenix, testified to a House
subcommittee that the project had killed 20,587 Vietcong suspects in the previous
3 years. This and other action drained U.S. support from its war in Vietnam
(McCoy, 2006, pp. 196–198).
The “success” of large-scale torture against terror comes at very high political

costs to the broader war efforts and indeed the loss of legitimacy for governments
themselves. The French in Algeria and the United States in Vietnam are clear

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 183

examples. British tactics in Northern Ireland brought rebuke from the European
Human Rights Commission. Israeli torture of Palestinian prisoners brought its own
recommendation against physical torture in 1987 and against all abuse in 1999. The
shocking revelations of conditions, including torture, in the U.S.-maintained Abu
Ghraib prison of Iraq brought universal condemnation. Efforts to skirt U.S. law and
international accords, such as the prison for unlawful combatants at Guantanamo
Base in Cuba, have brought rebukes from other nations, international government
agencies, international NGOs, national human rights advocates, and the U.S. Supreme
Court (Intelligence Science Board, 2007).
The high costs of a policy of torture include the shadow that torture casts over

the legitimacy of information gained through individual instances of torture. Thus,
confessions gained by torture are routinely discarded by courts in democratic
nations. As the U.S. military war tribunal arrangements—constructed with the war
powers of the president—got started, its first case ended with a guilty plea of an
Australian citizen. Although a powerful legitimating factor in most cases, the extra-
ordinary rendition and allegations of torture of David Hicks strained the credibil-
ity of a guilty verdict among Australian citizens. His case became a major problem
for the Australian government, an ally of the Bush administration’s war on terror-
ism’s policies. His and other cases embroiled the tribunals, an effort to provide
some legitimacy to extraordinary rendition and to counter allegations of torture, in
endless rounds of quarrels about the legitimacy of confessions, the nature of tor-
ture, and the rules of process as well as the question of the innocence or guilt of the
persons on trial.
If individual torture is ineffective and mass torture brings pyrrhic victories at

best, why do governments persist in their practice as the United States most recently
did or at the very least appeared to do so? Critics of the use of torture point out that
it may serve a symbolic function, giving people a false sense that they have control
over threats to their safety (McCoy, 2006, p. 207). This touches on the much larger
issue of political leadership as symbolic action and the myth and ritual surround-
ing it (Edelman, 1971). Our case contains several instances of symbolic action
including the signing ceremony for the bill to eliminate torture even as the signing
statement undermined its authority.

Change Practices

The leadership practices of change in the political context resemble those in
other contexts. They include signalizing, or pointing out changes and problems
in the environment that need to be addressed. Robert Tucker’s (1995) work on
this concept resembles Heifetz’s (1994) concept of adaptive work. But for every
effort to signal a problem, there are other efforts to dismiss or define differently
the same problem. In addition, every effort to signal a problem competes with
efforts to signal other problems. Thus, the question becomes why does one sig-
nalizing effort prevail over another? For any signalizing effort to succeed it must
have legitimacy and appeal to some form of authority. In addition, the individual


or group effectively signalizing the problem balances voice—the attempt to
address an objectionable set of affairs—with the threat of leaving it and loyalty
that exceeds it. A formal set of checks and balances most clearly distinguishes
change within the political context, although they may be found, at least infor-
mally, in all contexts.


Political leadership, according to Tucker (1995), includes both constituted and
nonconstituted leaders, namely, those with formal authority and power and those
without it. Both types of leaders must define societal problems, prescribe actions
or policies to correct or deal with these problems, and line up support for their
problem analysis and prescription (p. xii). Political problems arise when situa-
tions “take on meaning in relation to a political community’s purpose and con-
cerns” (p. 49). Some leaders act sooner than others to explain the meaning of
events in light of government values. Political problems are often characterized by
a community’s competing values. The Masri case, for example, was characterized
by a conflict between national security and human rights. The application in
Chapter 5 pitted a homeowners association’s concern for the integrity of a neigh-
borhood against an advocacy group’s proposal for housing for mentally retarded
adults in the neighborhood.
Heifetz (1994) built on Tucker’s ideas that political leadership signals, or identi-

fies, political-problem situations. Heifetz referred to this as adaptive work that
requires mobilizing the resources of a group to address whatever problem the
group faces. Both Tucker and Heifetz included nonconstituted actors, or those
without formal authority, in their frameworks of political leadership; by doing so,
they looked beyond the concept of authority and power over (Weber’s primary
emphasis) others to concepts of sharing power with others and granting power to
others to work for change:

By using different units of analysis for leadership and authority, i.e., work and
power, and thereby uncoupling them, we can then analyze what we commonly
observe: that people lead—i.e., mobilize progress on challenges demanding
new adaptations for the social system to thrive—both with and without
authority at the same time. Moreover, the various forms of power, from coer-
cive to inspirational, remain useful in various contexts in the practice of
leadership. (Heifetz, 2007, pp. 34–35)

The Masri case comprised a number of constituted actors, not the least of which
was the Bush administration, which signaled the security risk to U.S. citizens
regarding the threat of terrorist attacks. Dealing with terrorists, a new type of
enemy, required adaptive work. The U.S. and German governments signaled their
agreement, at least in the Masri case, that in the interest of ensuring national secu-
rity, they would preserve the secrecy associated with extraordinary rendition.
Congress signaled its intolerance of torture as a tactic in the war on terror and

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 185

pressed the White House to approve legislation outlawing torture. Although the
president signed this legislation, he signaled that the war powers granted him by the
Constitution gave him the authority to approve the use of enhanced interrogations
if he deemed them necessary to preserve the security of the nation.
Other constituted actors signalized their concern that extraordinary rendition

posed a risk to human rights. Opposition parties in all western European countries
wanted to know if their governments had cooperated in rendition flights. If, for
example, the United States approved a rendition flight that used a country’s air-
space without the knowledge and cooperation of that country’s government, it
would constitute a violation of national sovereignty. If, on the other hand, a coun-
try’s government was complicit in permitting rendition flights, opposition parties
could challenge their country’s government for violating international treaties ban-
ning the use of torture or complicity in its use.
Not all debate occurred at the national level, however. Local courts in Munich,

Germany, for example, signalized their willingness to pursue criminal charges
against U.S. CIA officers. Back in the United States, Congress and the federal courts
signaled their own concerns about the enhanced interrogation methods employed
in extraordinary renditions and at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Many
believed these methods violated U.S. values of human rights and U.S. policies ban-
ning physical torture.
Another set of actors, including the United Nations and the European

Parliament, occupy a place between constituted and nonconstituted authorities. The
European Parliament responded to Priest’s (2005a, 2005b) reports in the Washington
Post by launching hearings. The UN set a higher standard for treatment of prisoners
than did the United States and considered some of the tactics employed by the
United States to be torture. Although both the European Parliament and the UN
were constituted authorities, neither had the power to make the United States halt
the practices of interrogation it had adopted in its war on terrorism.
Nonconstituted actors, such as Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, also fea-

tured in the Masri case. Both organizations contested the U.S. government’s asser-
tions about extraordinary rendition and invoked standards for which constituted
actors should be held responsible. Whereas the U.S. government insisted on the
primacy of its responsibility to protect its citizens, these nonconstituted actors
extolled human rights and the laws and treaties that protected them. Indeed,
Human Rights Watch and the ACLU suggested that lacking some ethic of respon-
sibility, the United States could become much like other nations notorious for
their human rights violations. Masri himself expressed that concern: “I have very
bad feelings [about the United States]. I think it’s just like in the Arab countries:
arresting people, treating them inhumanly and less than that, and with no rights
and no laws” (Priest, 2005b).


The process of signalizing provides reasons for, or challenges to, the legitimacy
of a particular change effort (Tucker, 1995, pp. 79–85). The Masri case illuminates


this contest over legitimacy particularly well. It entails the state’s fundamental, dis-
tinctive claim to legitimacy in its use of violent coercion. Weber (1946) offered
three sources of legitimate authority:

• The eternal yesterday of tradition—traditional.
• Extraordinary and personal gifts of grace—charismatic.
• Legality premised on the validity of legal statute and functional competence
premised on rationally created rules—legal. (pp. 78–79)

Unlike Weber’s sources of legitimate authority, the changes in extraordinary ren-
dition and torture policies reflected charisma of purpose, defined as a dedication
to a powerful purpose that motivates people to take action. This suggests Gill
Hickman’s (2004) concept of invisible leadership, albeit in a distinct form. The lack
of visibility resulted from the effort to make and keep the new policies a secret. Even
after the policies came to light, the administration and the courts invoked national
security as a reason for not disclosing details of Masri’s abduction and detention.
Clearly, acts of terrorism had changed the environment. The clandestine nature of
the policies created to deal with this new and challenging environment ultimately
undermined the legitimacy of the policies. Even the charisma of purpose—national
security in this case—could not extend legitimate authority to extraordinary rendi-
tion given its violation of human rights, which were protected by other sources of
legitimate authority.
Several appeals to tradition as legitimating authority characterized the Masri

case. Secretary Rice and President Bush appealed to the authority of the eternal past
in grounding extraordinary rendition in the fundamental responsibility of the gov-
ernment to protect its citizens from harm. Rice invoked precedent for the policy in
the Lincoln administration. Because the Confederacy relied on slaves to aid its
war effort, Lincoln decided to use the war powers granted the president by the
Constitution to proclaim the emancipation of slaves in the Confederate states. He
also used his war powers to suspend the right to habeas corpus for those who
impeded enlistment in the Union Army or thwarted Union war efforts. His use of
those powers served as a powerful precedent on which the Bush administration
called. In her initial response to newspaper accounts of the Masri case, Rice (2005)
argued that the war on terrorism “challenges traditional norms and precedents of
previous conflicts,” but she insisted that the new and changed legal standards
adhered to traditional values. Thus, the administration cited authority from the
past to break with traditional authoritative practices of the past.
Most of the efforts to legitimate extraordinary rendition involved the legal

realm. The administration denied claims of torture by using a controversial defini-
tion of torture that was based on the legal opinions of the Department of Justice,
the guidelines from the U.S. Military Code of Conduct, and the U.S. reservations to
the UN Convention against Torture. Rice also assured the public that the United
States did not render a prisoner without first getting an assurance that neither phys-
ical nor psychological torture would be employed. When Congress voted to ban
torture, Bush invoked his constitutional war powers as president.

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 187

Those opposed to extraordinary rendition rebutted these legitimations by offer-
ing their own appeals to one or another form of legal authority. For example, the
European Parliament invoked its own statutes on torture. Human Rights Watch
refuted the accuracy of the precedents Rice invoked. The press raised questions
about the extent of the president’s war-power authority, citing limitations set by the
U.S. Supreme Court. Opponents of extraordinary rendition also insisted that
the Geneva Accords and the UN Convention against Torture applied despite the
administration’s denial of their authority. Lower courts in Germany and Italy
treated cases of extraordinary rendition as crimes of abduction.

Exit, Voice, and Loyalty

Sometimes situations arise in which constituted actors move beyond their
customary realm of authority in their efforts to change policies and practices.
Albert O. Hirschman (1970) called this voice—“any attempt at all to change . . . an
objectionable state of affairs” (p. 30). He contrasted voice with exit, whereby a per-
son chooses to leave an unsatisfactory state of affairs, and loyalty, whereby a person
chooses to remain in one. Thus, a person might exercise the exit option by resign-
ing from a position because he or she disagrees with policy changes, or the person
might exercise the loyalty option by remaining in a position of authority despite
disagreeing with policy changes.
Hirschman (1970) argued that voice is essential to the vitality of organizations

but is successful only in the context of an appropriate mix of exit and loyalty. For
example, criticism voiced at the time of resignation, or exit, has less influence
within an organization than criticism voiced in conjunction with the threat of
resignation. Similarly, criticism of a change has power beyond the authority of a
constituted position when it comes from a loyal member of the organization. Exit
without voice provides no feedback, and loyalty without voice acquiesces to the
decline of an organization. Thus, optimal change requires a balance of all three
As described earlier in this chapter, U.S. military lawyers voiced their opposition

to the new, more restricted definition of torture offered by the Department of
Justice. Some CIA officials opposed the new policy based on the law, the precedent
of organizational culture and practice, and efficacy. By expressing their objections,
these lawyers and CIA officials demonstrated voice rather than exit or loyalty. After
the policies on torture were approved, a group of military lawyers visited members
of an advocacy group and encouraged them to continue opposition to the new poli-
cies. CIA officials leaked information about extraordinary rendition to the
Washington Post. A person accused of whistle-blowing denied the charge but was
fired anyway.
Instances of an effective balance of voice, exit, and loyalty also stand out in

Masri’s case. Republican Party leaders in the U.S. Senate criticized enhanced inter-
rogation methods at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. They succeeded in passing new
legislation precisely because they threatened to exit, which would have led to the
override of a presidential veto, and because they were known for their loyalty as


members of the president’s political party who were ordinarily supportive of his
policies. Masri himself provided another instance of effective voice. He chose to
voice his narrative in the courts rather than remain silent out of loyalty to his
national government.

Checks and Balances

These instances of effective voice point to another element of change unique to
the political context: checks and balances. Most democratic political systems use
checks and balances to reduce the risk of a constituted actor exceeding his or her
authority and causing a governmental train wreck.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution were students of history and govern-

ment and were not unfamiliar with power. They embraced the challenge of con-
structing a government and tried to incorporate every imaginable safeguard to
protect against many of the same risks Weber (1946) associated with political
leadership. The framers agreed that political authority in the United States
would not be based on tradition as the aristocracies and monarchies of Europe
were. Nor did they want charisma to determine political authority; they deliber-
ately created firewalls to divide authority among branches of government so that
no one person could hold sway over the entire government. They instituted a
cumbersome presidential election system precisely to protect the office of the
presidency from a charismatic individual (Couto, 2002). They achieved a bal-
anced Congress by modeling the Senate after an oligarchy and the House after a
representative government. Finally, suspicious of a military that could resort to
violence to achieve its ends, the framers placed a civilian, the president, as com-
mander in chief of the armed forces of the new country. The result was political
leadership premised on Weber’s third source of legitimate political authority: a
legal framework of rationally created rules (Weber, 1946, pp. 78–79). The new
government would be ruled by law; no individual, regardless of political posi-
tion, would be above the law.
The framers not only divided government, but they also limited its power.

During the early 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville remarked on the unique role
of voluntary associations in the U.S. democracy. The limits placed on government
left a vacuum in meeting public needs that nongovernmental bodies filled. The
government was limited not only by its accountability to laws but also by its
accountability to a public informed by media outlets. The First Amendment to the
Constitution enshrined these limits on government by assuring freedom of the
press and of citizens’ right to assemble and associate.
The framers’ system of checks and balances among constituted authority was

evident in the Masri case. The federal courts provided Masri a venue to hold the
U.S. government accountable for his extraordinary rendition. The court refused to
hear the case, ruling that the government’s right to maintain secrecy in matters of
national security policy superseded Masri’s right to a trial. Masri’s lawyers appealed
that decision unsuccessfully to the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress passed legislation
effectively banning extraordinary rendition. President Bush, facing a likely veto

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 189

override, bowed to congressional will, but only after invoking his constitutional war
powers as a check and balance against congressional power.
The Masri case also highlighted checks and balances in the international context.

Local governments in Germany and Italy took action to make extraordinary
rendition a crime even though these nations’ national governments did not.
Supranational and international bodies, such as the European Parliament and the
United Nations, asserted their higher standards for the treatment of prisoners and
their more encompassing ban on torture. Nonconstituted actors also served as
checks and balances. The Washington Post articles brought to light what had been a
secret program of the U.S. government. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, the
International Red Cross, and the ACLU sought to change the policy of extraordinary
rendition by writing reports, influencing policy makers, and taking court action.


The many groups in the Masri case each had its narrative to signal the challenge to
each of their “purposes and concerns” and the legitimacy of extraordinary rendi-
tion. The effectiveness of narrative depends on finding a venue for it, which the
system of checks and balances, including constituted and nonconstituted actors,
provides. As with any change efforts, these actors and their narratives compete and
collaborate in a complex field in interdependent and interrelated ways. Yarmolinsky
(2007) imagined that the complexity of this field exceeds the imagination of most
newcomers to the realm of political change:

It comes as an unpleasant surprise to people fresh in leadership positions to
discover that they cannot give orders and expect them to be obeyed. . . . The
dilemma is that leadership is a joint enterprise. One cannot lead without the
cooperation of others. . . . The leader is a mediator, a moderator, someone
who adjusts the facts of change and the intransigent facts of organizations and
institutions. (pp. 46–47)

Secrecy may circumvent some of opposition and simple bureaucratic inertia to
which Yarmolinsky referred. But sustainable political change requires the combina-
tion of transforming and modal values, such as openness. In a democratic system
with many venues to express voice and narratives of adaptive work and many actors
to do so, it becomes all the more likely that no political change will endure without
the balance of passion, values, and responsibility of which Weber (1946) spoke.
Thus we come back to a point made earlier: that transforming or charismatic
leadership without modal values—in this case transparency—falls short of the
proper balance of passion, values, and responsibility that Weber used as a measure
for political leadership. Those policies that endure without such a balance and com-
bination of transforming and modal values are likely to result in folly, as Tuchman
(1984) described.


Perhaps more than other context, leadership for change in politics requires
patience for a long, deliberative process that involves compromise. Weber (1946)
concluded his essay on the vocation of politics with this caution that links to the
ethics of ultimate ends and responsibility with the mix of passion, responsibility,
and proportion:

Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and
perspective. Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth—that man
would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out
for the impossible. . . . This is necessary right now, or else men will not be able
to attain even that which is possible today. (p. 128)

Holding on to passion and perspective requires leadership, according to Weber,
and heroism because hope to attain important values—security or human rights—
might crumble in light of opposition from the other. Some have the capacity to
hold fast when things crumble and the world seems “too stupid or too base” for
what they offer. Yet our only hope for political leadership rests with the willingness
of people, who may be neither leaders nor heroes, to act responsibly for the seem-
ing impossible while sadly mindful that effort may only provide a measure of what
is possible, not what is needed or necessary.
Thus, we deal in our own time and in our own way with the enduring questions

of political leadership. How does leadership harmonize conflicting values? How do
political authorities use their power in a manner that seems legitimate and thus main-
tains their power rather than undermines it? How do we deal with differences among
people? Do we make them into castelike categories or do we remain mindful of the
human qualities and rights of all people? How do we balance the rights of others and
the threats that they may pose to our security? And last, how do we decide these
matters and who should be included or excluded from their deliberation?

Application and Reflection

CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 191

To Hear or Not to Hear

No one could remember the last time that the United States Supreme Court had reversed
itself in such a short period of time. In April, the Court had declined to review a decision
of an appellate court that ruled that persons held at Guantanamo Bay did not have a
right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. This supported the Bush administration’s


Appl i ca t ion



Imagine that you are law clerks for the nine Supreme Court justices; imagine yourselves alone in the lunch room
of the Supreme Court building.

• Discuss why you think the judge might have changed his mind.

• What is the delicate balance of order and rights, security and legal protections at play?

• What is the field in which the Court is an actor? How are the actions of the judges of the court acts
of political leadership?

• What is the role of the courts in attaining the deliberation that Aristotle thought was essential in


position that non-U.S. citizens detained outside of the United States do not have access
to the U.S. court system. Now, 2 months later, the court agreed to review the decision in
the fall term, probably in December. Experts could not recall such a reversal in decades
(Glaberson, 2007).

The central legal question was and remains whether or not “enemy combatants” can be
held indefinitely without the right of habeas corpus—that is, review by a court to determine
the legality of the detention. A Republican majority in Congress sided with the president and
passed legislation to establish military tribunals that would pass judgment on the legality of
the detention of any and all of the 375 detainees at Guantanamo. That legislation also
barred U.S. courts from hearing habeas corpus suits filed by the detainees. One issue in the
case was whether or not Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in this legislation.
The Constitution permits the suspension of the right to a habeas corpus hearing at times
of “rebellion or invasion.” Another issue was the fairness of the military tribunals that
determine the status of detainees as enemy combatants. In the closed hearings, detainees
are not permitted lawyers, do not see all the evidence against them, and may have
confessions and other incriminating statements held against them, even though these
statements come from conditions most international bodies consider mental and physical
torture. One military lawyer found the military hearings to be haphazard and under pressure
from commanding officers to determine the prisoners as enemy combatants and thus legally
detained. His affidavit listing his conclusions was part of the motion to reconsider, which the
Court granted.

The Court had ruled twice against the government’s detention policies at Guantanamo by
narrow margins. In April, it refused to hear a case that upheld the constitutionality of
Congress’s last effort to establish hearings for Guantanamo detainees while still denying
them access to federal courts. The Court took the very narrow grounds that the decision in
that case had not yet been appealed to the full Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.
In reversing itself, the Court signaled that it thought the case could not wait. Apparently, one
judge had changed his mind in the 2-month interval between decisions.


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CHAPTER 7 Political Change Context 195

Classical—Movements as irrational
Rational action in social structures

New social movements

Nonconstituted Leadership:


Nonconstituted tactics

Social capital development
Social power development
Social movement structure

Resource mobilization
Political opportunity assessment
Strategic capacity development

• Invisible
• Transforming
• Transactional
• Charismatic
• Servant
• Strategic
• E-leadership


Social Change Context


The term “social change” or “social movement”1 evokes images of people marching
en masse on a capital mall or public square in support or protest of a significant
social issue. Indeed, this depiction represents the pinnacle of many social move-
ments, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Initiating a social movement may seem to
be a daunting and improbable task to the average person. However, social change
often begins with local initiatives in one or more communities and then spreads
across multiple communities, states, and countries based on the importance of the
cause to many people. With the advent of the Internet, social change initiatives can
spread across the globe rapidly, although the actual change or outcome generally
takes place more slowly. Social movements often start with the efforts of people
who are not larger than life at the movement’s inception.

Roberta Garner (1997) defined social movements as “collectivities engaged in
noninstitutionalized discourses and practices aimed at changing the existing condi-
tion of society” (p. 1). Social movements are deliberate, explicit, relatively long term,
and collective. As social movements grow, they gain members and leadership struc-
tures that often result in social movement organizations with familiar names, such
as the National Organization for Women (NOW), Greenpeace, National Council of
La Raza, the Christian Coalition of America, and the World Rainforest Movement.

The Purpose of Social Change

Groups initiate and sustain social movements to give voice to a specific cause to
correct injustices, counter or resist social conditions, or pursue and create new


EDITOR’S NOTE: This chapter draws from Roberta Garner’s (1997) comprehensive introduction,“Fifty
Years of Social Movement Theory: An Interpretation,” to identify and explain major theories of social

possibilities in society that established leaders and institutions have disregarded or
inadequately addressed. The focus and theories of social movements have changed
over time from the classical period to movements of the 1960s and 1970s to the cur-
rent period of new social movements (NSMs). The change vignette in this chapter,
in contrast to the case in Chapter 1 from the early civil rights movement, highlights
a new social movement using the experience of Barbara Kirby, the mother of a son
with Asperger syndrome. It describes a social change initiative within the health
consumer movement, specifically focused on the mental health community.


CC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt eeCC hh aa nn gg ee VV ii gg nn ee tt tt ee

OASIS: An Initiative in the
Mental Health Consumer Movement

Our son was eight years old in 1993 when we first heard the term Asperger Syndrome. We hadn’t
heard it from any of the score of professionals we had turned to for help throughout the years
when we wondered and worried about his particular difficulties and differences. Instead, a friend
who knew something about autism had the courage to hand us a copy of a relatively new publi-
cation, Autism and Asperger Syndrome by Uta Frith, and say, “Please read this. It reminds me of
your son.”

When I put down the book, I knew I had found an explanation that finally made sense. It
helped me to understand that what was happening to my son and to our family wasn’t his fault
or the fault of my parenting—as so many people, professionals, friends, and family members had
so hurtfully suggested. He was not a “bad” child and we were not “bad” parents.

I would like to say that when I finally learned the news, I hit the ground running. But that
would be a lie. What really happened is I hit the ground with a huge splat. I can’t ever remember
being so frightened. My son, whom I loved more than anything in the world, had a problem that
could not be fixed even if I would only relax, stop hovering, discipline him properly, stop trying to
be his friend and act like a mother, pay more attention, pay less attention, spank him—or follow
any of the other “helpful” suggestions offered to me by well-meaning professionals, family, and
friends. Certainly none of them ever suggested that my son’s problems stemmed from a neuro-
logical disorder about which no more than a handful of people around the world knew anything.

Though I’ll never forget the pain of those comments, I’ve learned that there was nothing in my
advisors’ personal experience that could have allowed them to understand that my son’s behav-
iors were anything other than the result of incompetence—ours at parenting and his at being a
“good” boy. They simply did not know. As I soon learned, there was a world of “experts” out there
who knew just about as much. Or as little.

You would think that finding a name for our son’s behaviors would translate into finding
some help and answers. But you would be wrong. Our son’s doctor had never heard of Asperger
Syndrome, neither the library nor the bookstore had a book on it, the local autism group had
“heard” of it but did not have any information, and when I called local hospitals, they told me
that the condition was rare and they had never seen a child with the diagnosis. How was this

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 199

The realization that we were alone with this disorder, diagnosis, whatever it was, induced a level
of fear and frustration that after all these years I still cannot explain. Perhaps it’s something only
another parent in exactly the same position can understand. Even today, when I open up the OASIS
message board and see a post titled “Help! Just Got DX,” I feel that ache inside, as if the world
had ended. And for most of us, for a day, a week, a year, it feels that way. But it also goes on.

In 1994, about six months after we’d first heard the term, the American Psychiatric Association
officially listed Asperger Syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), its diagnostic bible. Doctors agreed that AS was the best diagnostic “fit”
for our son. Still, they had no idea what we should do. Once again, we were alone. Six months
later we arranged for our son to have a full psychoeducational evaluation; the psychologist sus-
pected Asperger Syndrome. Three months after that, an appointment with a pediatric neurologist
confirmed the diagnosis. However, the most any of these professionals could offer were vague,
general suggestions and a pat on the back with a reminder that it was not our fault.

My son’s teachers were more than willing to help, but they were also in the dark. After all, they
weren’t trained to deal with students like him. Looking back, I am amazed at how hard they
worked at understanding and supporting my son. Still, I cried—and I continued to cry for a very,
very long time.

One evening, on a whim, I decided to sign on to America Online, then a relatively new service.
I knew nothing about our new home computer, and about all I could do with it was play solitaire
and Tetris. I’d never heard of e-mail, I didn’t know what a Web site was, and the Internet was
someplace much too “scary” for a nontechnical stay-at-home mom like me.

After signing on, I found my way to the disability forums and posted messages asking if any-
one had heard of Asperger Syndrome. Within a day, I’d received a message from a woman named
Judy, who told me that she had a son who was diagnosed with AS and that I was not alone. One
other mother, one other child in the world. I was overjoyed! I spent literally the next two days
reading through message boards, leaving messages, and sending and answering e-mail. Finally!
I’d found a few other families who understood.

Over the next several months, I was invited to join a small e-mail group for parents of children
with a variety of pervasive developmental disorders. At the same time, I met another mother
online, and we began collecting names of other AS families, with the goal of convincing AOL that
there were enough interested people to open a chat room specifically for Asperger Syndrome.
After several months, the AS families formed their own group. We shared what few resources were
available at the time. Most important, we shared support and understanding.

In the fall of 1995, I approached the University of Delaware, where my husband is a faculty
member, to ask if they would be willing to donate server space so I could automate the e-mail list.
They generously agreed to do so and offered me space on their server for the list and for a Web
page. I was thrilled—and terrified. I had no idea how to make a Web page, and at that time there
were no programs that automatically formatted Web sites. Fortunately, Ted Whaley, who is the
parent of a child diagnosed with hyperlexia and who had set up a Web site for the AHA (American
Hyperlexia Association), came to the rescue. With his guidance and a copy of HTML for Dummies,
the Asperger Syndrome Resources Web site was launched in December 1995. It was renamed
OASIS (Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support) several months later, in 1996.


Concepts of Social Change

The OASIS vignette describes one of several social change initiatives within the
health consumer movement. This section provides a brief overview of social move-
ment theories and concepts in an attempt to place new social movements and the
OASIS vignette in perspective.

First Period: Classical—Movements as Irrational

Garner (1997) divided social movements into three broad historical and intel-
lectual periods. Scholars characterize the first or classical period, from 1945 to
1960, as negative and irrational. This was the era of Nazism, fascism, Stalinism,
race riots, lynchings, and McCarthyism. Classical theorists explained the patho-
logical and destructive behavior of this period using theories from psychoanalysis,
social psychology, collective behavior, mass society, and status politics (Garner,
1997, p. 7). They perceived the underlying ideologies of the classical era as fueled
by individual personality characteristics and irrational collective behavior.
Researchers associated movement behavior with authoritarian tendencies and
intolerant attitudes and actions.



OASIS and the new e-mail group (as-support) quickly became the central meeting place for
families whose children were diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Any information on AS and
related diagnoses, including conferences, parenting ideas, support services, educational resources,
and laws were shared among members and eventually placed on the Web site. By 1998, I’d added
a public message board forum and in the summer of 1999 opened the private and moderated
OASIS message board and chat room support forum. (At the time of publication of this book, the
OASIS site will have been visited more than a million times, and the current active membership of
the OASIS forums is well over five thousand families.)

The further you delve into the world of autism, the more you are struck by the fact that virtu-
ally every organization, research project, support group, piece of legislation, program, and inno-
vation was created by or initially financed by parents of children with autism. It is the parents of
children with AS and related disorders and the individuals with autism spectrum diagnoses who
have led the way. Today, thanks in no small part to the Internet, parents of AS children and adults
with AS are building local and national support networks throughout the country and the world.
And in the process, they are changing what it means to have AS and autism.

SOURCE: From “Introduction” by Barbara L. Kirby. In The OASIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome: Advice, Support, Insight, and
Inspiration by Patricia Romanowski Bashe and Barbara L. Kirby. Copyright © 2005 by PAR Bookworks, Ltd., and Barbara L.
Kirby. By permission of Random House, Inc. Published by Crown Publishers.

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 201

Second Period: Rational Action
Within Structural Constraints

During the second period, from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, sociologists
began to regard social movements as positive and rational action within the
structural constraints of social movement organizations (SMOs). SMOs created
structure—“a set of limiting conditions on individual action” (Garner, 1997, p. 19).
Movements—including the civil rights movement, national liberation or decolo-
nization movements, student movements, and, later, the farm worker movement
and the women’s movement—aimed to reform or transform oppressive social insti-
tutions and constructs (Garner, 1997, pp. 17–18). Many government programs
emerged in response to social movements in this period, such as the welfare state in
Europe and the Great Society and War on Poverty programs in the United States.

Theorists shifted their attention away from individual motivations and person-
ality to studies of SMOs—their participants and resources, internal structure, goals,
professionalization (use of movement professionals and experts), and environ-
ments, including political opportunity structure, political culture, and dynamics of
movements and countermovements. Several concepts emerged in succession:
(1) Structural strain focused on the interrelationship between existing problems in
society unattended by established institutions and the formation of movements to
address them; (2) resource mobilization focused on the ability of social movement
organizations to assemble human, fiscal, and media resources and take rational
actions at politically appropriate times; and (3) structural Marxism focused less on
reform and more on revolutionary movements to replace capitalism, class struc-
tures, and, later, global markets and nation-states, among other existing social
structures or constructs (Garner, 1997, pp. 21–30).

Third Period: New Social Movements

New social movements (NSMs) emerged in the third period, from the 1970s to
the present. Social movements of the 1960s and 1970s encountered problems sus-
taining their success as they experienced former coalitions falling apart and economic
and social structures shifting to postindustrialization with its service and informa-
tion economy (Garner, 1997 pp. 30–33). Government is no longer seen as the
primary force that could be on the side of working people by legitimatizing unions,
regulating the private sector, providing social services, and expanding the welfare
state (Garner, 1997, p. 34). These movements incorporate new categories of
activists across various segments of society who focus on a wider range of social
issues and open-ended processes. Previous social movements appealed to—and
recruited from—support bases that were identified by their preexisting, relatively
stable demographic characteristics (e.g., disenfranchised African Americans in the
South prior to the civil rights movements). Members of NSMs are not easily iden-
tifiable by such demographic factors.

New social movements center on ideology and identity (or identity politics).
Ideology is “the belief system of a movement” (Garner, 1997, p. 11), and, unlike

social movements of the first period, NSM belief systems embody collective
thought or ideas rather than beliefs rooted in individual personality. Ideology is a
defining element of NSMs and stimulates movements and countermovements on
the Left and the Right. Movements on the Left include environmentalism, gay
rights activism, urban grassroots mobilization, women’s and human rights initia-
tives, and new antiwar activism. On the Right, movements and countermovements
form a large, loosely coherent conservative front that focuses on matters such as
pro-life, religious fundamentalism, political conservatism, and an aggregation of
single-issue constituencies (e.g., antitax or anti-gun-control groups) among other
issues (Garner, 1997, pp. 34–35).

Collective identity in NSMs is socially constructed from ongoing processes of
discourse and social interaction that often form and articulate ideology. Schneider
and Somers (2006) indicated, “Actors in a social movement are signifying agents
actively engaged in the development of meaning for others in an interactivist man-
ner, making these collective frames of meaning the result of a negotiated, shared
process” (p. 359). Theorists perceive these processes in NSMs as “causing identity”
(Garner, 1997 p. 45). In other words, members form their identity as a group
through discourse and interaction concerning their particular set of beliefs.

Social movements bring about change in society through the exercise of social
power. By extrapolating from Speer and Hughey’s (1995) definition, social power
or empowerment may be conceptualized as the ability of a community (or social
movement) organization to reward or punish targets, control topics in public
debates, and shape how residents and public officials think about their community
or society (p. 732). Community and social movements become empowered when
they have the capacity to exercise these instruments of social power (p. 732).

The health consumer movement typifies many new social movements. OASIS
and other mental health organizations are part of a widespread health consumer
movement that extends nationally and globally. Allsop, Jones, and Baggott (2004)
explained that the health consumer movement developed from experiences in the
personal and intimate aspects of individual lives: “People are drawn into new social
movements because they feel marginalized by dominant social practices” (p. 738).
Certainly, this was the case with Barbara Kirby as she attempted to find a diagnosis
for her son’s condition and then desperately sought information, treatment, and
support. This kind of NSM enhances participants’ positive sense of self within a
group that shares their experiences and perceptions. Stories and descriptions of
personal experiences, like Kirby’s, help people explain life events, rebuild identities,
and develop plans for collective action.

Members of the mental health consumer movement came together over the
Internet and in face-to-face meetings where they used their newfound social power
to propel the movement into action. According to a government report, mental
health researchers define empowerment as “gaining control over one’s life in influ-
encing the organizational and societal structures in which one lives” (Segal et al., as
cited in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999, p. 95). Mental
health consumer organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI), Autism Society of America (ASA), and OASIS, establish self-help groups,
advocate for legislation, and become involved in mental health service agencies and


research (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999, p. 95). As a result,
empowerment derived from the collective actions of consumer and family organi-
zations has contributed greatly to the transformation of mental health services.

Concepts and theories of change in NSMs are still in a relatively early stage of
development. Though NSMs differ from previous movements, Garner (1997)
argued that they still retain some of the theories of the first and second periods
(p. 46). Social psychological perspectives on collective identities and belief systems
from the first period can apply in new ways to NSMs that facilitate micromobiliza-
tion (smaller scale processes in contrast to mass movement) initiated by individ-
uals or small groups. Theories of social movement organizations, resource
mobilization, and political opportunity structure from the first and second period
remain viable in NSMs. Accordingly, this chapter draws on social movement theo-
ries from all three periods.

Concepts of Social Change Leadership

Nonconstituted Leadership:
Leadership Without Formal Authority

Initiatives for social change usually begin with nonconstituted leadership, a
broad category of leadership that functions without the formal authority of consti-
tuted leadership (the power and authority granted to elected political officials or
appointed organizational officers) (Tucker, 1995, p. 7). Nonconstituted leaders or
activists may also be described as tags—“leaders without authority but with great
influence in their communities” (Schneider & Somers, 2006, p. 359). This form of
leadership responds when constituted leadership in political, civic, government,
private, or religious sectors fail to recognize social issues that require action.
Individuals may assume nonconstituted leadership roles voluntarily, or others may
implore certain individuals to lead based on their passion and personal commit-
ment to a social goal. They find or initiate opportunities to bring their issue to the
attention of other like-minded individuals, the broader community, and consti-
tuted leaders who have the authority to change conditions or institutions.

Nonconstituted actors draw on various concepts of leadership to generate social
change—invisible, transforming, transactional, charismatic, servant, and e-leadership
(see definitions in Chapters 2 and 3). Both constituted and nonconstituted actors
use these concepts of leadership, although their source of power differs.
Nonconstituted leaders and participants exercise leadership using social power,
whereas constituted actors use formal authority.

Invisible Leadership

Nonconstituted leaders and participants often use invisible leadership to achieve
their social change goals. Participants, like those in the health consumer movement,
are most often attracted to the leadership process and to each other based on
charisma of purpose, a perceived opportunity to act, and their individual agency.

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 203

Barbara Kirby and other members of the health consumer movement took action
because of a passionate commitment to the purpose of improving the lives of indi-
viduals and their families who struggle with mental health issues. Although her
cause began with a desperate search for information and resources to support her
son’s Asperger syndrome diagnoses, it quickly broadened to encompass as many
individuals as possible seeking help and involvement in initiatives concerning
Asperger’s and the broader sphere of autism and mental health.

Invisible leadership incorporates shared leadership processes in which peers lead
and influence each other to achieve group goals, including decisions about who
among them can or should provide visible leadership on behalf of the group.
Leadership is broadly distributed among group members and often is not fully vis-
ible to or recognized by nonmembers of the group. This does not mean that leaders
are not important or that there are no leaders involved in significant roles. Instead,
it means that most people involved in invisible leadership come to the process with
a sense of collective efficacy and identity and that they are already motivated to take
the necessary actions to bring about change.

For example, Jo Ann Robinson’s (Robinson, 1987) account of the Montgomery,
Alabama, bus boycott maintains that “the city’s black congregations were quite intel-
ligent on the matter and were planning to support the one-day boycott with or with-
out their ministers’ leadership” (p. 53). Once the city’s Black ministers recognized that
the people—their congregants—were determined to stage this protest, they decided
it was time for them to “catch up with the masses” (Robinson, 1987, p. 53). The
leaders who became visible in this process did so within the framework of a collective
or collaborative process. The ministers formed an interdenominational group offer-
ing their leadership to the boycott efforts and held a meeting at the Dexter Avenue
Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the minister. They failed to
select one person to lead the boycott at that meeting; instead, they waited to see if the
1-day boycott would be successful. “When the ministers realized that the one-day
boycott was going to be successful . . . they met again, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
agreed to accept the leadership post” (italics added; Robinson, 1987, p. 56).

During the civil rights movement, the public recognized the visible leadership of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but few people outside the group knew that the invisi-
ble leadership of Jo Ann Robinson and the Women’s Political Council (WPC) orga-
nized and launched the Montgomery bus boycott (Robinson, 1987, p. xv).
Robinson worked diligently throughout the boycott and civil rights movement but
chose to remain behind the scenes to protect the historically Black state university
where she worked from political and economic retribution. Many years later,
through the coaxing of political scientist David Garrow, Robinson wrote her
account of the bus boycott.

Transforming and Transactional Leadership

Transforming leadership is one of the most widely cited theories with regard to
creating social and political change—what James MacGregor Burns (1978) called
“real intended change” (p. 413). Transforming leadership “occurs when one or
more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one


another to higher levels of motivation and morality” (p. 20). Burns (1978)
explained that transforming leaders engage in collective purpose linked to social
change, with the ultimate objective of achieving goals that enhance the well-being
of human existence (p. 3). This explanation captures the intent of many social
movements. Transforming leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the
level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both the leader and the led, and
thus it has a transforming effect on both (p. 20). Gary Yukl (2006) noted,
“Transforming leadership appeals to the moral values of followers in an attempt to
raise their consciousness about ethical issues and to mobilize their energy and
resources to reform institutions” (p. 249).

Burns (2003) differentiated transforming leadership from transactional
leadership, which is a “practical give-and-take leadership” used for “expedient, high
level brokerage” (p. 23). Transactional leadership is an essential and valuable form
of leadership, although it does not (and perhaps is not intended to) generate trans-
formational change. Burns contended that transforming leadership causes “a meta-
morphosis in form or structure, a change in the very condition or nature of a thing,
a change into another substance, a radical change in outward form or inner char-
acter” (p. 24).

Participants or followers play an important role in bringing about social and
political transformation, and they become empowered by the process. However,
Burns (2003) emphasized that leaders have a distinct function. Their purpose is to
“take the initiative in mobilizing people for participation in the process of change,
encouraging a sense of collective identity and collective efficacy, which in turn
brings stronger feelings of self-worth and self-efficacy” (p. 25).

Both constituted and nonconstituted leaders can exercise transforming
leadership. Burns (1978, 2003) often drew his examples from constituted trans-
forming leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, and non-
constituted transforming leaders, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi. The
essential purpose for transforming leaders is to enhance the well-being of human
existence by bringing about real, intended change in social and political systems
and structures.

Charismatic Leadership

Scholars continually grapple with the question, is charismatic leadership essen-
tial to the creation of major social change or social movements? Certainly, there
have been many prominent charismatic leaders involved in social change, and there
have been many scholarly studies devoted to the topic. Whether charismatic leaders
are essential to social change has not been fully established.

Burns (2003) argued that charismatic leadership “at best is a confusing and
undemocratic form of leadership,” and “at worst, it is a type of tyranny” (p. 27). He
believed that pure charismatic leaders hinder mutual empowerment between
leaders and followers because followers become so loyal and fallible that they can
have limited impact on the leader (Burns, 2003, p. 27). Burns concurred, in spite of
his apprehension, with David A. Nadler and Michael L. Tushman (1990) that the
strongest components of charismatic leadership are envisioning, energizing, and

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 205

enabling, especially when the effect is to liberate and empower followers (Burns,
2003, p. 27). As noted in extensive research about charismatic leadership (Bass,
1985; Conger & Kanungo, 1987; House, 1977; Howell, 1988; Howell & Avolio, 1992;
Weber & Parsons, 1947), the most positive and effective charismatic leaders can be
distinguished by the following features: an inspiring vision that builds a particular
kind of image of the future in the hearts and minds of participants, highly devel-
oped rhetorical skills, an engaging personalized style of leadership (Hughes,
Ginnett, & Curphy, 2006, p. 412), and an ethical foundation that guides their moti-
vation and actions.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership frequently plays an essential role in social change, especially
in the context of SMOs and social institutions. Greenleaf (1977) identified the role
of institutions in society—churches, universities, and businesses—as servants of
the people:

If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that
provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course
is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of exist-
ing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them.
(p. 62, italics in original)

Though Greenleaf (1977) was referring to existing institutions in society, the
purpose of many SMOs and their leaders seems to fit his concept of servant insti-
tutions. These SMOs generate awareness of specific social issues on behalf of the
people they serve (e.g., health care consumers) and induce major institutions to
change to provide more just, inclusive, and caring service. Organizations such as the
National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Autism Society of America are servant
organizations for mental health care consumers, and they serve as advocates that
persuade major institutions in society to recognize and care for the needs of these
individuals. They stimulate major institutions to become more responsive and
effective servant leaders for mental health consumers.

Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership is a critical capability in SMOs. SMOs do not focus on the
same competitive, profit-driven environmental factors as businesses; still, they need
leadership that can adapt movement organizations to complex forces in the politi-
cal and social environment, especially the actions and reactions of other actors (see
the discussion of political opportunity structure later in this chapter). Marshall
Ganz (2005) warned that “in settings in which rules, resources, and interests are
emergent—such as social movements—strategy has more in common with creative
thinking” (p. 215). As a result, strategic leaders or actors must generate imaginative
approaches and processes to adapt the organization to conditions in the environ-
ment and reach its intended goals.


The promotion and use of self-help groups by the mental health consumer
movement was an innovative approach and a fundamental departure from previ-
ous approaches that were wholly dependent on government and private mental
health agencies and professionals. “Self help is predicated on the belief that indi-
viduals who share the same health problem can help themselves and each other to
cope with their condition” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999,
p. 94). Consumers ran many of the initial self-help programs independently. This
strategy empowered consumers and restructured mainstream mental health ser-
vices to incorporate consumer groups, programs, and positions. The mental health
consumer movement used its collective power to affect public policy, funding, ser-
vice delivery and evaluation, and research.


The founding of Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support by
Barbara Kirby provides a fitting example of e-leadership in a NSM. Using her con-
tacts at the University of Delaware, Kirby launched the OASIS Web site on the uni-
versity’s server, which became the central meeting place for families whose children
were diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She indicated in the opening vignette that
“today, thanks in no small part to the Internet, parents of AS are building local and
national support networks throughout the country and the world. And in the
process, they are changing what it means to have AS and autism” (Bashe & Kirby,
2005, p. 4, italics added).

Advanced information technology makes it feasible and cost effective to launch
NSMs that bring together people worldwide around social change issues of impor-
tance to millions of individuals. Because virtual activism is such a major phenom-
enon in global NSMs, this topic is explored in greater depth in Chapter 9.

Social Change Practices

New social movements on the Right and Left use nonconstituted practices to gen-
erate action on behalf of their social issues. NSMs use a combination of old and
new social change practices that include nonconstituted tactics, social movement
structure, resource mobilization, assessment of political opportunity structure,
social capital development, social power or empowerment, and advocacy. These
practices, together with the concepts of change and leadership described earlier,
provide the momentum for many social change initiatives.

Nonconstituted Tactics

Nonconstituted actors draw attention to social issues through a process of
signalizing—“the activity of apprising [constituted] leaders of circumstances that
appear meaningful enough to merit diagnosis and policy response” (Tucker, 1995,
p. 31). Mass media plays a major role in signalizing by bringing attention to social
issues and allowing the voices of concerned individuals to be heard. Sometimes crises

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 207

or disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, draw the media to the problem. At other
times, leaders or activists on behalf of a cause plan events, including rallies or
protests, to gain media attention. In contrast to social movements of earlier eras,
technology provides a direct means for individuals to signalize quickly to large audi-
ences using the Internet. Social activists use advanced Internet technology to manage
the timing, presentation, and content of their message, rather than relying solely on
the media to signalize their issues to local, national, or international communities.

Leaders and participants in NSMs draw on multiple tactics to propel change as
greater numbers of people become aware of social problems or issues. According to
Robert Tucker (1995), these nonconstituted tactics entail the following strategies:

• diagnosing or defining situations and problems, often in new ways that individ-
uals, groups, and organizations with formal authority fail to define or recognize;

• proposing a course of collective action to meet the situation as defined;
• seeking support of others for their views of what the situation is and what

should be done about it;
• devising proposals for change;
• attracting people to the movement based on persuasive influence of the pre-

vious factors;
• organizing to exert pressure on constituted leaders, organizations, and insti-

tutions to address the problem through formal processes; and
• initiating sociopolitical action and participation such as protesting, lobby-

ing, using legal recourses, voting, and advocating for new public policy.
(pp. 31, 85–86)

The mental health consumer movement and other NSMs use these nonconsti-
tuted tactics, such as activists in the community context (Chapter 5), to signalize
issues, propose solutions, and advocate for change in public awareness programs,
public policy, and appropriations for mental health. Like leadership in the commu-
nity context, social change leadership makes use of social capital development,
social power or empowerment, and advocacy as change practices.

Social change initiatives call for the development of social capital to succeed.
Leaders and participants in social movements develop social networks, such as the
self-help groups described earlier, along with norms of reciprocity and trustwor-
thiness by finding or attracting others who share similar experiences or ideologies
and connecting them in electronic and face-to-face communities. Barbara Kirby
began OASIS, as did the founders of NAMI and other mental health consumer
groups, by searching for and connecting with others like her who were struggling
in near isolation with mental health concerns in their families. The social ties that
develop through these connections make social networks possible and allow people
to join together in support of each other and the change that they seek.

Once movements develop social networks, they can frame issues and mobilize
networks using the group’s social power or empowerment to influence decisions
and actions of constituted leaders and institutions. Speer and Hughey’s (1995)
guiding principles of social power emphasize that social power is only realized
through organization, built on the strength of interpersonal relationships, and


grounded in a dialectic of action and reflection (pp. 732–733). These principles
anchor the development and use of social power in four organizing practices—
assessment, research, action, and reflection:

• Assessment is the process through which critical issues affecting a commu-
nity are identified and defined by organizations. Assessment is conducted one
on one and face to face so that the conversations connect individuals to facil-
itate dialogue and enhance relationships.

• Research, like the participatory action research discussed in Chapter 5, pro-
vides information on issues such as which resources exist to address an issue,
how these resources are transferred, and which organization or institution
controls the resources capable of addressing a specific issue. Research uncov-
ers the ways allocation of resources affects an issue and how organizational
entities or players exercise social power around an issue.

• Action in a community (or social) change context is a collective attempt to
exercise social power developed through organization. Actions are planned
public events that bring together large numbers of people, as well as the media,
public officials, and other organizations concerned with the issue. This entails
both strategy development and organizational mobilization for action with the
intent to uncover contradictions between the expressed values of constituted
leaders or entities and their actual practices, policies, or funding priorities.

• Reflection allows members to consider how the organization evolved through
the organizing cycle. Participants examine the effectiveness of implemented
strategies, discuss lessons learned, identify emerging leadership, consider how
social power was demonstrated, and calculate future directions for the orga-
nization. (pp. 734–735)

While Speer and Hughey (1995) discovered these principles and practices of
social power in a community organizing setting, social change activists can scale
and adapt them to the needs of a social movements context.

Advocacy for social change, as indicated in Chapter 5, consists of organized
actions to “highlight ignored and suppressed critical issues, influence public atti-
tudes, and promote the enactment and implementation of laws and public policies
that turn visions of ‘what should be’ in a just, decent society into reality” (Cohen,
de la Vega, & Watson, 2001, p. 8). Research helps social change activists prepare for
advocacy by identifying decision makers or constituted leaders who can effect
change for specific social issues and assess strategies and tactics to persuade these
actors to support change initiatives.

Social change groups and organizations shape their advocacy approach to fit the
specific social change initiative, but many similarities exist across organizations.
Advocacy by members of the NAMI “provides a key voice for state and federal
public and private-sector policies that facilitate research, end discrimination,
reduce barriers to successful life in the community and promote timely, compre-
hensive and effective mental health services and supports.”

NAMI researches and distributes an advocacy toolkit on their Web site and con-
ducts advocacy training throughout the United States for members and groups that

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 209

want to influence legislators to pass bills and appropriate funding for mental
health–related issues. The toolkit includes information on the legislative process,
sample legislation from various states, letters to legislators and governors, fact
sheets, and sample editorials, among other information. The main objective of
NAMI’s advocacy efforts is to improve the lives of people living with mental illness.

Advocacy often entails persuading members of the public and constituted
leaders to change their minds about the views or positions they hold on core issues
in the movement. Howard Gardner’s (2004) research proposed seven “levers” that
work in concert to bring about a change of mind in individuals:

1. Reason (Cognitive)—A rational approach involves identifying relevant fac-
tors, weighing each in turn, and making an overall assessment. It can be logic
(use of argument), the use of analogies, or the creation of taxonomies.

2. Research (Cognitive)—Research is the collection of relevant data. It can be
formal (scientific with statistical tests) or informal research. It need only
entail the identification of relevant cases and a judgment about whether they
warrant a change of mind.

3. Resonance (Affective)—The view, idea, or perspective feels right to an indi-
vidual, seems to fit the current situation, and convinces the person that fur-
ther considerations are superfluous. The fit may follow reason and research
or may be at an unconscious level. Resonance may also involve the relation-
ship to the mind changer; for example, an individual may feel that the mind
changer is reliable or worthy of respect. Rhetoric is also a principle vehicle for
changing minds. Rhetoric works best when it encompasses tight logic, draws
on relevant research, and resonates with an audience.

4. Redescriptions (Representational redescriptions)—A change of mind is con-
vincing if it is represented in a number of different forms, where these forms
reinforce one another.

5. Resources and rewards—A mind change is more likely to occur when consid-
erable resources can be drawn on: positive reinforcement. Individuals are
being rewarded for one course of action instead of another.

6. Real-world events—An event occurs in the broader society that affects many
individuals, not just those who are contemplating a mind change (e.g., wars,
hurricanes, terrorist attacks, economic depressions, eras of peace and pros-
perity, availability of medical treatments to prevent illness or lengthen life,
ascendancy of a benign leader, group, or political party) (p. 17).

7. Resistances—It is difficult to change one’s mind as the years pass. People
develop strong views and perspectives that are resistant to change. A mind
change is most likely to occur when the first six factors operate in consort and
the resistances are relatively weak. Conversely, mind changing is unlikely to
occur when the resistances are strong, and the other factors do not point
strongly in one direction (pp. 15–18).

Actors in the mental health consumer movement use many of these levers
consciously or instinctively to influence mind changes among constituted leaders.


Additionally, the success of many consumer-run, self-help services resulted in leaders
and professionals in mental health service agencies changing their minds concerning
the value of consumer involvement in these agencies as volunteers, employees, con-
sumer liaisons, and group leaders. These results can serve as incentives for movement
participants to incorporate these levers intentionally into advocacy initiatives.

Social Movement Structure

Movements for social change typically create structure to implement their initia-
tives effectively as they expand and gain momentum. Social change leaders and par-
ticipants often form SMOs to provide both structure and resources through the power
of an organized group focused on a common goal. These organizations become acting
units of the movement to reach certain constituencies and assemble participants
(Garner, 1997, p. 22). As illustrated in the mental health consumer movement, organi-
zations like OASIS and NAMI reach and assemble their constituencies and mobilize
other key resources to help them carry out the aims of their social change.

SMOs are organizations at their core. Leaders and participants in NSM organiza-
tions use many of the practices in the organizational context—such as environmen-
tal scanning and strategic planning, scenario building and planning, e-practices,
stages of praxis, and collective or collaborative practices that include institutionalized
leadership and change practices, organizational learning, shared power, and ethical
practices (see descriptions in Chapter 4). Even so, context does matter, and therefore
the focus, emphasis, and content of their practices differ from other organizations,
especially in the areas of resource mobilization and political opportunity structure.

Resource Mobilization

Resource mobilization remains a critical function of NSM organizations.
Leaders and participants seek, assemble, and use needed resources to run the orga-
nization and advance their initiatives. These resources include time and energy of
human resources (people), money, elite sponsorship, technology, media support,
favorable public opinion (Garner, 1997, pp. 20, 23), social capital, and social power.
Additionally, SMOs recruit technical experts to assist with functions such as
fundraising, strategic planning, resource management, technology, political advo-
cacy, and media relations.

Resource mobilization scholars in an earlier period assumed that social move-
ments depended almost exclusively on the resources of elites or sponsors external
to the movement. These external elites and sponsors were most often identified as
“church groups, foundations, organized labor, and the federal government”
(McAdam, 1982, pp. 22). Doug McAdam emphasized that resource mobilization
scholars discounted the importance and influence of an essential internal
resource—the movement’s mass base (p. 29). Far from being resource deficient, this
mass base of human resources used its social capital and empowerment to generate
unparalleled movements for change. This does not imply that external elites and
other resources are not important; still, movement participants represent one of the
most essential assets of social movements.

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 211

Political Opportunity Structure

A critical factor in social movement activity is political opportunity structure—
conditions in mainstream institutional politics or policies that either enhance
or inhibit prospects for social movement participants to take action (Meyer &
Minkoff, 2004, p. 1457). Political opportunity structure exists in the context of a
society’s larger political environment, which encompasses forces and institutions
that operate for or against a movement, including the political culture, dynamics of
other movements (that function as competitors, cooperatives, or coalitions), coun-
termovements or cultures of resistance, actions of constituted leaders, and the exer-
cise of or restraint from social control through sanctions (Gardner, 1997, p. 24).

Political opportunities such as presidential attention to the issues of a movement
provide incentives for people to undertake collective action through protesting or
forming SMOs (Meyer & Minkoff, 2004, p. 1457). On the other hand, the uncer-
tainty of congressional turnover may diminish or discourage collective action.
Political and social analyses, analogous to environmental scanning, combined with
strategy development can assist social movement actors in identifying and pursu-
ing political opportunities.

Development of Strategic Capacity

Marshall Ganz (2005) argued that SMOs need to develop strategic capacity
among its actors to increase the movement’s chance of success in the face of pow-
erful institutions and leaders. He described strategic capacity in social movements
as a function of the motivation of actors or leaders, access to salient knowledge, and
the quality of heuristic or imaginative processes actors employ in their delibera-
tions (p. 216). Ganz discerned that the motivation of social movement leaders or
actors derives from intrinsic sources based on the “meaningfulness of the work”
combined with the actors’ identity with the work and its values as a vocation; in
turn, this vocation infuses the actors’ lives with meaning (p. 219).

Salient knowledge entails the mastery of skills (how to strategize), access to infor-
mation about how to work in a specific setting or domain—that is, knowledge of
political opportunity structure, constituencies, opponents, and other actors—and
regular feedback (Ganz, 2005; McAdam, 1982; Speer & Hughey, 1995). Heuristic
processes involve actors’ ability to see problems in a new way, reframe information,
and innovate or imagine new solutions (Ganz, 2005; Tucker, 1995). SMOs can facil-
itate these processes by engaging a team of actors with diverse perspectives and fos-
tering divergent thinking and minority expression (Ganz, 2005, p. 221).

Strategic capacity may account for why one SMO makes better use of the same
opportunity or resources than another, why one set of actors does a better job of
framing social change issues than another, how actors with fewer resources can
prevail over those with more resources, or why one set of actors exercises agency
better than others with regard to cultural, political, or economic structures (Ganz,
2005, pp. 211–212). SMOs can develop or enhance the strategic capacity of a team
of actors or leaders by seeking and attracting individuals who are motivated by the
meaningfulness of the movement’s work, possess or are able to acquire salient
knowledge quickly, and bring diverse perspectives to the group.



Social change requires nonconstituted leadership and practices to address issues in
society that have been underrepresented or overlooked by institutions and leaders
with formal authority. In the absence of formal authority, social change actors use
social capital and social power to initiate movements, form organizations, mobilize
resources, and bring about change in public policy, funding, and programs. Social
movements rely on collective or collaborative leadership and practices that use the
talents and resources of all members.

NSMs have emerged in postmodern societies that embody groups and issues
unlike movements in the past. Although the period of NSMs is still unfolding, emer-
gent patterns suggest that the prevailing themes of this period focus on ideology and
collective identities represented by social concerns of groups on the Right and the
Left. NSMs, such as the mental health consumer movement, emerge from experiences
in deeply personal aspects of people’s lives. Others represent countermovements or
communities of resistance such as anti-gun-control or antiabortion movements.
Regardless of the issue, social movements continue to provide an essential means of
influencing constituted leaders and institutions to change conditions in society.

Application and Reflection

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 213

The Fatherhood Movement: Can It
Reduce the Number of Fatherless Children?

By Kathy Koch

Thirty years of high divorce rates and rising birth rates among unwed mothers have left
the United States a nation of fatherless households. More than a third of American
children don’t live with their biological fathers, and 17 million don’t live with any fathers
at all. Of those, about 40% haven’t seen their fathers in a year. As the nation prepares to
honor fathers on June 18, child-development experts are hoping a growing nonpartisan,
multiracial, “responsible fatherhood” movement, dedicated to reconnecting estranged
dads with their kids, will help increase fathers’ involvement in their kids’ lives. But some
question whether having fathers involved in children’s lives is essential, while others say
that some of the movement’s goals—such as promoting marriage and joint custody—will
hurt mothers.

To understand the burgeoning fatherhood movement, talk to Thomas Fulford, a recovering
crack addict and ex-con. Fulford has gotten his life back together and is reunited with his


Appl i ca t ion



two sons and says the Institute for Responsible Fatherhood and Family Revitalization made
it possible.

“My relationship with them has really blossomed,” says Fulford, 48, who was divorced
from the boys’ mother when they were youngsters. “We have a working, loving relationship.
We’re upfront with each other,” he says of the boys, now 20 and 22, who came to live with
him last year after he finished serving time for bank robbery.

But it’s not easy. “They are learning things that they should have learned from me 10 or
15 years ago,” he says, “but we’re still dancing around, getting to know each other.”

Recently remarried, Fulford says, “All of this happened because I’m living the risk-free
lifestyle that the institute promotes.”

The institute is part of a fast-growing coalition of groups dedicated to reversing America’s
high rate of fatherlessness—the “single greatest social problem plaguing our nation today,”
according to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn.1

More than one-third of the nation’s 71 million children don’t live with their biological fathers,
and 17 million don’t live with any father at all. And about 40% of those children haven’t seen their
fathers in a year, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), in Gaithersburg, Md.

“Court and school officials report that many children do not even know what to put in
the ‘Father’s Name’ blank on printed forms,” David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute
for American Values, wrote in his 1995 book Fatherless America.2

The fragile coalition of racially and politically diverse groups spawned by the fatherhood
movement includes conservative pro-marriage groups like Blankenhorn’s, fathers’-rights groups
working on the child-custody and child-support concerns of mostly middle-class divorced fathers
and more liberal organizations helping low-income fathers reconnect with their children.

Judging by the rapid growth of the movement, it has tapped into a sore spot in the nation’s
psyche. “There’s a greater awareness today that children are better off when they have both
dad and mom around,” says David L. Levy, co-founder and president of the Children’s Rights
Council. “When we started in 1985, for a long time we were the lone voice in the wilderness.
No one else was talking about the importance of both parents in a child’s life.”

Now it seems everyone is talking—and writing—about it.’s database lists
85 books about fatherhood. Literally dozens of Web sites are now dedicated to fatherhood
issues, including at least one for stay-at-home dads. And pro-fatherhood events like the
1995 Million Man March and the 1997 Promise Keepers rally have filled entire stadiums.

The movement has also caught the attention of legislators on both sides of the aisle. With broad
bipartisan support, the House last November passed the Fathers Count Act, which would provide
millions of dollars to groups promoting responsible fatherhood. A similar measure pending in the
Senate also has bipartisan support. Meanwhile, political leaders like Democratic Vice President Al
Gore and former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle have championed the movement.

“What’s incredible is the breadth of bipartisan agreement that this movement has been
able to generate,” says NFI President Wade Horn.

He points to a policy statement issued last Father’s Day by 50 scholars, community leaders
and reformers—black and white—as evidence of a new consensus developing around issues
that once fostered deep divisions along racial and political lines. The document called for a
nationwide effort to reduce fatherlessness in black America, where 70% of all babies today
are born to unwed mothers.3

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 215

The statement grew out of a 1998 conference—sponsored by the Morehouse Research
Institute in Atlanta and the conservative Institute for American Values—on “fragile families.”
Fragile families are formed when young, low-income, poorly educated and unmarried
parents have a child.

Many black communities with fragile families, the statement said, have become “radically
fatherless.” In 1990, it said, about 4.5 million U.S. children—nearly 80% of them African-
American—lived in predominantly fatherless neighborhoods, in which more than half of all
households were headed by single women.

The statement noted that while a higher percentage of black babies are born out of
wedlock, by far the largest number born each year are white. One in three white births are
now to unmarried mothers, a figure that has been steadily rising. Among all races, unmarried
births have increased 1,000% since 1946.4

“Father absence is not a uniquely African-American problem,” said the Morehouse
statement. “It is an American problem that crosses racial, ethnic and class lines. All across
the United States, fathers are quietly disappearing from the lives of children.”

In addition to unwed parenthood, skyrocketing divorce rates also are fueling the
fatherlessness epidemic. Today more than half of all marriages end in divorce, compared
with about 15% in 1960.5

While they tackle the problem in different ways, fatherhood groups agree on one thing:
Fatherlessness has reached crisis proportions in the United States, and the effects on children are
devastating. For instance, according to senior Heritage Foundation research fellow Robert Rector:

• Almost 75% of children of single mothers will experience poverty before they turn 11,
compared with only 20% of children raised with two parents at home.

• Sixty percent of convicted rapists, 72% of teen murderers and 70% of long-term prison
inmates are males who grew up without fathers.

• Fatherless children are suspended from school, drop out, commit suicide and are abused or
neglected significantly more often than children raised in two-parent households.

• Children of single mothers get involved in substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and teen
pregnancy more than kids with fathers at home.

But because members of the movement disagree, sometimes heatedly, about how to fix the
problem, the result is an uneasy alliance between the left and right. Conservatives generally see
the problem as a lack of marriage, while the left sees it as a lack of money. Conservatives say the
answer is to attack rising illegitimacy and divorce rates by encouraging matrimony, reforming
welfare, making divorce harder to obtain and changing cultural norms about extramarital sex and
unwed parenthood. Liberals say fatherlessness will be eliminated only by spending more money
on job training and improved educational opportunities for economically marginalized fathers.

“Marriage is most fragile in communities where men can’t get and keep jobs,” says Scott Coltrane,
a sociology professor at the University of California at Riverside and author of The Family Man.

A third segment of the movement—divorced fathers—wants to change divorce, child-
support and child-custody rules that it says discourage fathers from staying involved in their
children’s lives.

“Certainly there are deadbeats, but there are also the pushed away, the forced away and
the dead broke,” Levy says.




Meanwhile, women’s advocates suspect the motives of fathers’-rights groups like Fathers
Manifesto, which supports sole father custody in all cases and the repeal of women’s right to vote.

“From what they’ve said on their Web sites, they do not have the best interest of children
at heart,” says Kim Gandy, executive vice president of the National Organization for Women
(NOW). “They are all about bashing women. It is beyond the pale.”

Horn disavows the Fathers Manifesto group, particularly some of its statistics about
damage done to children raised by single mothers. “We have nothing whatsoever to do with
them,” he says. “They are a bunch of misogynists who don’t have any problem making up
false statistics to support their rhetoric.”

As Congress and advocacy groups grapple with the fatherlessness crisis, here is one of the
questions they are asking: Are fathers essential for raising healthy, well-adjusted children?

The American Psychological Association (APA) unleashed a firestorm among
conservatives last June when it published “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” a study by
two clinical psychologists at Yeshiva University Medical School in Bronx, N.Y. Authors Louise
B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach concluded that raising a healthy child hinges on the
quality and reliability of the parents’ relationship with the child.

If that relationship is strong, they wrote, it doesn’t matter whether the parenting is by the
mother, the father, two moms, two dads, a grandmother or caregivers with no biological
relationship to the child.6

“The traditional family is one way of parenting, but there are other equally good ways,”
Auerbach said. “We do think kids need parents, as many parents as possible. We just don’t
think it even has to be one biological parent.”7

Other academics agree. Coltrane calls the “uncritical acceptance” of the theory that the
fathers are essential and irreplaceable in the lives of their children “the most alarming trend I see
today.” Two parents are better than one only if those parents are doing good parenting, he says.

“But [fatherhood advocates] argue that even an emotionally remote father is enough to improve
a child’s outcome,” he continues. “Children need regularity, care and love. That can be provided by two
mothers or two fathers. There’s nothing built into our genes that requires the participation of men.”

Silverstein and Auerbach also criticized fatherhood advocates’ claim that dozens of
sociological studies prove unequivocally that fatherlessness is the root cause of urban decay,
societal violence, teenage pregnancy and poor school performance. Their interpretation of
the data is a “dramatic oversimplification of the complex relations between father presence
and social problems,” the authors wrote.

“We don’t really know what is causing the problems,” Coltrane says. “There could be a
self-selection bias in those studies.” Many of the social problems cited by the fatherhood
advocates are more related to class, poverty and residential situation, he points out.

Phil and Carolyn Cowan, psychology professors at the University of California at Berkeley,
say their own study of 200 divorced families showed that the quality of a child’s relationships
with his parents and the parents’ relationship with each other determine the child’s
academic, social and emotional outcomes. “Just having a father in the house is not in and
of itself the controlling factor,” Carolyn Cowan says.

Moreover, when studies control for poverty, only about 5 to 12% of single-parent
children have an increased risk of trouble at home or school, says Phil Cowan, a senior
researcher at the Council on Contemporary Families. “If there isn’t a father in the home, it

CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 217

is still possible for the child to grow up well,” he says. “It may increase his odds of having
problems, but it doesn’t guarantee it.”

And while children from divorced households have adjustment problems, so do children
who remain in high-conflict married households, he points out. “At least 20 different studies,
including our own, show that kids in high-conflict households are more depressed, more
aggressive and do worse academically than their peers,” Phil Cowan says. “There’s lots of
research like that, which the [fatherhood] folks are just not citing.”

“Kids in all kinds of families have all kinds of problems,” says Pepper Schwartz, a
sociology professor at the University of Washington, “just as kids from all kinds of families
do well.” In fact, she says, several studies show that children living in one- or two-parent
gay or lesbian households are “no different from children in heterosexual households, in
terms of their sociability or their acting-out behavior, their grades or rates of delinquency.”

Indeed, fatherhood advocates contend, legitimizing gay and lesbian parenting arrangements
was Silverstein and Auerbach’s real agenda.

“For radically divergent concepts of the family, such as those espoused by homosexual
activists, to be considered ‘legitimate,’ it must first be shown that neither mothers nor fathers
are essential to successful families,” wrote Timothy J. Dailey, a senior analyst at the conservative
Family Research Council (FRC), in response to the APA article. He listed dozens of studies
showing that the authors’ key assertions were “insupportable by the weight of evidence.”

“I think the authors hate marriage,” Horn says. “They want to deconstruct society in a
way that marriage doesn’t matter.” He calls the Silverstein-Auerbach report “intellectually
frivolous and insubstantial.” The authors “completely distorted the empirical literature”
about the impact of fatherlessness on children’s lives, polarizing what until then had been
an extraordinarily non-polarized issue, he says.

Horn angrily denounces what he calls “ivory tower, limousine liberals, who live in gated
communities offering theories about society, while consigning large segments of the
population to live in communities devastated by the consequences of those theories.”

He continues, “I would pay [Silverstein and Auerbach’s] rent for them to live for six
months in a one-room apartment in a public-housing complex where 90% of the households
are unmarried.”

Furthermore, the Institute for American Values’ Blankenhorn contends, Silverstein and
Auerbach ignored 30 years of research showing that children growing up without an
involved mother and an involved father are likely to exhibit “just about every negative
indicator you can think of.” Publicizing that research—and changing attitudes about
fatherlessness—have been the primary achievements of the fatherhood movement, he says.

“Fathers make irreplaceable contributions to the well-being of their children,” Blankenhorn
adds. “That’s the one thought that binds all these diverse fatherhood groups together.”

1. Lieberman’s statement was made July 14, 1999, at a press conference as the Responsible

Fatherhood Act was being introduced in the Senate.

2. David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America (1995), p. 10.

3. “Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America,” Morehouse Research Institute and
the Institute for American Values (1999).




4. Robert Rector, “Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing and Paternal Absence: Trends and Social Effects,”
Heritage Foundation, July 7, 1999.

5. Ibid.

6. Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach, “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” American
Psychologist, June 1999, pp. 397–407.

7. Quoted by Joan Lowy, “Dad? Who Needs Him? Support of Non-traditional Families Sends
Religious Right into a Tizzy,” Arizona Republic, August 29, 1999.

SOURCE: From “Fatherhood Movement,” by Kathy Koch, 2000, CQ Researcher, 10, pp. 473–478. Copyright © 2002 CQ
Press, a division of Sage Publications, Inc. By permission of The CQ Researcher.


• What aspects of the fatherhood movement correspond to the characteristics of new social movements?

• How does this movement differ from movements in the first and second period?

• Considering the disagreements among members of the movement, how do they establish an agenda
for advocacy and action?

• Koch (2000) raised two additional questions in the full article on the fatherhood movement:

� Should government policies encourage marriage and discourage divorce to decrease fatherlessness
in America?

� Should joint custody be assumed as the preferred arrangement in divorces involving children?

� How would you respond to these questions? What kinds of public policies would you advocate?
What opposition do you expect to encounter to your policy proposals?


1. The terms social change and social movements are used interchangeably in this
chapter even though social movements may be considered a subcategory of social


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CHAPTER 8 Social Change Context 219

Social Change
The Sikh Coalition

Political Change
Federal, State, and
Local Government



Crossing Political and
Social Contexts


Social and political contexts have a symbiotic relationship in the implementation of
social change. Some movements require more political action to achieve results
than others, as the examples illustrate in Chapter 8. When nonconstituted leaders
and participants pursue social change with the intent of influencing political
action, these movements are designated sociopolitical (Tucker, 1995, pp. 75–76).
The intent of actors in these sociopolitical movements is to institutionalize social
change—in some cases by replacing one group of political actors with another to
pursue the politics of change and in others by influencing the enactment of public
policy in support of the movement’s aims. For instance, the early civil rights move-
ment, the disability movement, and the women’s movement would have had lim-
ited effect in society without corresponding public policy and Supreme Court
actions that institutionalized these changes.
This chapter presents a vignette about the Sikh Coalition, which was formed

after the tragedies of 9/11. The coalition’s initiatives demonstrate their efforts in a
rights-focused movement to influence constituted leaders in political/governmental
and legal systems to correct injustices by influencing new public policy and gov-
ernment procedures and using legal action to enforce existing laws.


The Sikh Coalition

The Coalition Is Born. The Sikh Coalition was born in the aftermath of bigotry, violence and dis-
crimination against the city’s Sikh population following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 2001. We


VVii gg nn ee tt tt eeVVii gg nn ee tt tt ee



began as a volunteer effort on the night of 9/11, 2001, when an elderly Sikh and two teenagers
were violently attacked in Richmond Hill, Queens in “reprisal” attacks by fellow Americans. The
group that became the Sikh Coalition issued a press release the next day under the organizational
title “Coalition of Sikh Organizations of New York” condemning the terrorist attacks and calling
on police to better protect our neighborhoods.

Anticipating that more hate crimes and bias attacks were to come, the group in New York City, which
labeled itself “The Coalition of Sikh Organizations,” initiated a program to send press releases to the media
on 9/11th and began creating press kits [to] enable communities across the country to organize at a grass
roots level. With the aid of some activists in Chicago, a website was set up by September 12 to record the
occurrence of hate crimes across the country, a chat board, and resources for the media. Other activists
from various metropolitan cities across North America joined the initiative and a virtual Coalition emerged.

Within a 2-week time period, the Coalition developed affiliations in Toronto, Boston, Washington DC,
Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A synergetic energy propelled these
groups into an impetus for change. The Coalition worked with the US Justice Department to battle
hate crimes and get directives published by the Department of Transportation to combat profiling
at airports. Simultaneously, a contingent was dedicated to working with the media in educating the
public across North America through print articles and television coverage.

On October 18, 2001, the Sikh Coalition formally incorporated and began operating as a volunteer led
organization of concerned Sikhs across the country since no national civil rights–focused Sikh organiza-
tion existed until the Sikh Coalition was formed. By October 25, 2001, the newly formed Sikh Coalition
had its first major victory, persuading the United States Senate to pass a resolution the Coalition had
drafted recognizing Sikh-Americans and condemning hate crimes against Sikhs and other minorities.

Since our inception, we have used all available means to tackle the discrimination our com-
munity faces. We have often used a combination of education, government advocacy, community
organizing and where necessary, legal action to protect our community’s civil rights.

Our Development. For 3 years after 9/11 we remained a volunteer organization with a core
group of 15 mostly young Sikhs who devoted anywhere from 10 to 30 hours per week working to
protect our community.

In September 2003, we hired our first staff member, Amardeep Singh as our Legal Director. In March
2004, we opened our first office in New York City, situated perfectly between our core constituencies
in Queens and northern New Jersey. At present, with grant assistance from the New York Foundation,
Mehtab Kaur is our Community Advocate. Amardeep Singh has been promoted to Executive Director,
Manbeena Kaur is our Operations Manager, and Harsimran Kaur is our Staff Attorney.

Since 9/11, 2001, our work to humanize our community has been difficult given the predomi-
nant association in this city and country of the turban and beard with terrorism. We have provided
direct legal services to 71 victims of hate crimes, 29 victims of airport profiling, and 21 Sikhs who
were prosecuted for carrying the kirpan, a Sikh article of faith. Over 70% of these cases come from
New York; the rest are selectively chosen from around the country when victims requesting assis-
tance have no other means of support.

In the 5 years of our existence, we have forced two of the city’s largest agencies to accept Sikhs
for the quality of their work rather than their appearance and the city’s police department to rec-
ognize that Sikhs when pushed will demand that their police department protect them like all
other citizens. Our reputation around the country continues to grow.

CHAPTER 9 Crossing Political and Social Contexts 223

Concepts of Political and Social Change


The backdrop to 9/11 helps place the Sikh Coalition’s origin in the context of inter-
dependent influences of field (see Chapters 1 and 5). Anti-American sentiments had
been brewing in places around the world in a struggle that Benjamin Barber (1995)
referred to as Jihad vs. McWorld. Six years prior to the 9/11 attack, Barber described
colliding forces that played a role in the terrorist attacks on the United States:

Jihad forges communities of blood rooted in exclusion and hatred, communi-
ties that slight democracy in favor of tyrannical paternalism or consensual trib-
alism. McWorld forges global markets rooted in consumption and profit,
leaving to an untrustworthy, if not altogether fictitious, invisible hand issues of
public interest and common good that once might have been nurtured by
democratic citizenries and their watchful governments. . . . Jihad pursues a
bloody politics of identity, McWorld a bloodless economics of profit. (pp. 7–8)

These influences of field, among others, contributed to the backdrop of the 9/11
attack, with Jihad representing the terrorists and McWorld representing transna-
tional capitalism emanating from the United States.
The Sikh community was no stranger to discrimination in U.S. cities prior to

9/11. American citizens who are members of the Sikh community were already
being identified as “different” from the majority due to outward symbols of their
religious traditions, such as turbans and beards. Encounters with discrimination
were evident in the bandanas some Sikhs kept readily available to cover and disguise
their turbans in cases where threats were imminent. But on 9/11, threats to
members of the Sikh community became threats of violence or death. Amardeep
Singh, executive director of the Sikh Coalition, told documentary filmmaker Valerie
Kaur (2005), in Divided We Fall, Americans in the Aftermath, his story of 9/11, when
he was rushing home to his family in New Jersey from Washington, D.C.:

My mom was able to reach me about an hour and a half out of DC. The first
thing she says to me is, “Do you have your bandana in the car?” I said, “I have

In addition, over the past 2 years, our organization has worked with a member of the New York
City Council to develop a package of two post-9/11 discrimination bills, Intro 576, which would
require the city of New York to create a plan to mitigate backlash violence against Sikhs, Arabs,
Muslims, and South Asians in case of an event that would precipitate such violence, and Intro 577,
which would ban discrimination on the basis of religious garb in New York City uniformed agencies.
Together, these two bills are a huge step forward in our community’s effort to force government to
respond to our concerns. They mark the first time a city, state, or federal legislature has ever intro-
duced a bill drafted by the Sikh community to address a concern affecting the Sikh community.

SOURCE: From “History,” by The Sikh Coalition. Copyright © 2002–2007 by The Sikh Coalition. By permission of The Sikh Coalition.
Retrieved October 31, 2008, from

it in the car.” I knew why she was asking. She said, “Put it on.” I said, “I’m not
putting it on.” She started crying and said, “You’re in danger.” I said, “I under-
stand that I’m in danger. But I’m not putting it on.” Then my fiancé called me
and she started crying too. And she said, “Put on the bandana.” I said, “I’m not
putting on the bandana.”

In fact, there was every reason for Singh’s family to be fearful. Sikhs, along with
other innocent Americans of Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian or Muslim
decent, were being targeted as terrorists. An elderly Sikh and two teenagers were
attacked, as indicated in the vignette, on the night of 9/11. For a number of people
in the Sikh community the situation reached a threshold (see Chapter 1) where the
perceived benefits of taking action simply exceeded the perceived costs. That same
night, the Sikh Coalition was born out of the tragedy of these violent attacks.

Structural Strain and the Development of a Movement

Within a month following 9/11 at least 200 hate crimes were directed toward
Sikhs, and crimes such as these continue (Lampman, 2001; Merida, 2001; Ritter,
2002). Bullying and harassment in public schools persist against Sikh children
despite constant efforts by Sikhs to educate the larger community and urge school
official to stop the aggressive behavior (Chan, 2007; Ruiz, 2008). Newspapers con-
tinue to report incidents of Sikhs facing job discrimination and harassment in
employment. After 9/11, one Sikh transit worker filed suit in the Brooklyn Federal
Court after being told by New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) that he
needed to remove his turban. Several other workers filed complaints with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when they were instructed to wear
turbans branded with the MTA’s logo (Armstrong, 2005).
After 9/11, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) created fur-

ther problems for those who wear turbans in its implementation of air travel secu-
rity procedures. The screening procedures gave TSA screeners the authority to
compel travelers to remove their turbans or have screeners pat them down
(Constable & Wilber, 2007; Wilson, 2007). The coalition cited several concerns
about the TSA policy:

TSA guidance on the new policy specifically lists the turban as an example of
headwear that can be subjected to secondary screening at the discretion of
screeners; the new procedure should be made public so that air travelers sub-
jected to them understand their rights while traveling; TSA giving screeners
personal discretion on applying the procedure could lead to religious profil-
ing; and the new procedures were created without consulting any Sikh organi-
zations to determine if safety concerns could be met without compromising
religious freedom. (Wilson, 2007, p. 3)

These civil rights violations, in turn, contributed to structural strain—the inter-
relationship between existing problems in society unattended by established institu-
tions and the formation of movements to address them. The coalition challenged
established political actors at local, state, and federal levels to resolve these injustices.


Sikhs began a movement throughout the United States that in many ways paral-
lel the civil rights movements of the second period (see Chapter 8). Like the previ-
ous civil rights movements, Sikhs belong to a preexisting, identifiable, and
established demographic in which their human and civil rights have been violated
by fellow citizens and some local, state, and federal institutions. These violations
spurred social action by Sikh Coalition volunteers.

Concepts of Political and Social Leadership

Interrelated Leadership

The coalition was formed by nonconstituted leaders, citizen volunteers who
became citizen leaders, in response to the attacks on the Sikh community and civil
rights violations. A movement formed and is currently sustained through invisible
leadership—that is, leadership that motivates individuals to take action based on a
passionate commitment to a common purpose—among affiliates across the coun-
try. In addition, coalition members act as servant leaders, who provide voluntary
legal assistance to aggrieved Sikhs in their local and regional areas.
Coalition activists needed the cooperation and involvement of constituted leaders,

in conjunction with their own involvement, to achieve their goals. The coalition
sought justice and respect for Sikh citizens from public sector leaders in exchange for
discontinuance of certain civic actions against government agencies (transactional
leadership). In turn, government officials needed to work internally with their orga-
nizational constituency to develop and disseminate new public policy or regulation
changes and, in some cases, change behavior. These changes would require adaptive
work within the government for purposes such as influencing other lawmakers to
support bills on behalf of the Sikh community or to bring Sikh representatives into
the organization to collaborate on developing new security procedures.

Interconnected Values and the Ethic of Responsibility

The values of the Sikh Coalition emerge from the Sikh culture and religion—
devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality between all
human beings, social justice—while emphatically denouncing superstitions and
blind rituals (Sikh Coalition, n.d., Sikhism section, paragraph 1), along with com-
parable American values of liberty, equality, and justice. As Richard Couto dis-
cussed in Chapter 7, values affect leadership in significant ways.

Values suffuse the common elements of leadership—change, conflict, and col-
laboration. How leadership deals with these common elements will vary
depending upon the values of a group or its leadership. For example, values
affect initiative (what kind of change to undertake and when to undertake it)
and inclusiveness (who should participate in the change process and who
should benefit from the change). . . . Clarity about values offers a starting
point for understanding initiative and inclusiveness.

Sikh and American values guided the initiation and founding of the coalition
and continue to provide the foundation for its civil and human rights advocacy.

CHAPTER 9 Crossing Political and Social Contexts 225

The rights claims of the Sikh community relate directly to the moral obligation of
constituted government leaders to uphold values evident in the U.S. Constitution
and the Declaration of Independence.
In the aftermath of 9/11, values of equality and justice collided with the volatile

emotions of many people who had limited or no knowledge about Sikh or Muslim
Americans’ religious traditions and Americans of Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian
descent. As a result, the ethic of responsibility for government and political leaders at all
levels required consideration of the consequences of action (or lack of action) and pro-
portionality. Yet lawful U.S. citizens from Sikh and other communities were frequently
and disproportionately subjected to treatment as suspects of terrorism by some gov-
ernment employees and average citizens, or they were victimized by the inaction of
officials to educate themselves and fully protect members of the Sikh community.

Change Practices Across
Political and Social Contexts

Signalizing, Voice, and Mobilization

As indicated in the vignette, nonconstituted Sikh leaders began drawing atten-
tion to the problem of reprisal attacks by fellow Americans on 9/11. The activists
issued press releases condemning the terrorist attacks and calling on police to pro-
vide better protection for their neighborhoods. They gave voice to the situation by
drawing media attention to the acts of reprisal, and they continue to voice objec-
tions concerning injustice toward Sikhs through rallies, protests, letter-writing
campaigns, and court cases.
The Sikh Coalition’s 21st century version of a civil rights movement has one

advantage that previous movements did not have—the Internet. The Internet pro-
vided an immediate means of resource mobilization by allowing movement initia-
tors in New York to work with colleagues in Chicago to create a Web site the day
after 9/11 and to develop affiliations in Toronto, Boston, Washington, D.C.,
Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles within 2 weeks.
The coalition used virtual activism to disseminate information and pair aggrieved

community members with volunteer attorneys in various regions of the country. It
operated on the Internet without paid staff until 2003, when the organization hired its
first staff member. Their virtual movement organization allowed the coalition to
establish an immediate presence, organize quickly, and operate inexpensively. By 2004,
it also established a physical location, making it a hybrid (“clicks and bricks”) social
movement organization. The addition of a physical location and staff lends further
credibility and trust to the coalition that some online-only organizations may lack.


Advocacy, as indicated in Chapter 5, is critical to the ability of a movement to
highlight critical issues, influence public attitudes, and promote the enactment and
implementation of laws and public policies. The Sikh Coalition’s commitment to
advocacy on behalf of its citizens is apparent in their mission statement:


We pursue our mission by:

• Providing direct legal services to persons whose civil or human rights
are violated;

• Advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights;
• Promoting appreciation for diversity through education; and
• Fostering civic engagement in order to promote local community
empowerment. (Sikh Coalition, n.d., Mission section, paragraph 2)

Additionally, advocacy is one of four program areas in the organization. The
coalition’s advocacy agenda was carried out solely by volunteers for several years,
and today its small staff is still largely supplemented by individuals who volunteer
their time and expertise to the organization’s affiliates throughout the country.

Linking Social and Legitimate Power

Sikh Coalition members exercise their social power—the ability to reward or
punish targets, control what gets talked about in public debates, and shape how
residents and public officials think about their community—in ways that gain the
attention and cooperation of constituted leaders. Constituted leaders, in turn, exer-
cise legitimate authority to institutionalize the social change sought by community
members. Constituted leaders have responded to the coalition’s pressures and appeals
in several ways.

• U.S. Senate leaders worked with Coalition leaders to pass a Senate Resolution
(S. Con. Res. 74) “Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh-Americans
in the wake of terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. on
9/11, 2001”;

• Transportation Security Administration officials and Sikh representatives
collaborated to develop new security screening procedures that apply to all
religious head coverings at U.S. airports;

• The Sikh Coalition worked with a member of the New York City Council to
develop two bills to protect Sikh citizens from discrimination and violence;

• The U.S. Attorney General met with Coalition leaders to discuss issues facing
the Sikh community and reiterated the commitment of the Department of
Justice—as well as his personal commitment—to continue regular engagement
with religious communities in the United States; and

• The Chancellor of New York City’s Department of Education pledged to
work with the Coalition on an ongoing basis to make schools safe for Sikh
children. (Sikh Coalition, n.d., Advocacy section)

But even with these efforts, hate crimes, bullying in schools, employment discrim-
ination, and “flying while Sikh” rights violations continue. These rights violations exist
in the United States and in other places around the world, most prominently in the
United Kingdom and Canada. The work between the Sikh Coalition and authorized
public leaders has resulted in policy and procedure changes that have moved the Sikh
community’s cause forward. Still, there is considerable work to be done.

CHAPTER 9 Crossing Political and Social Contexts 227


The Sikh Coalition vignette helps demonstrate the interdependent relationship
between social movement and political contexts, especially with regard to rights-
focused movements. Coalition activists signalized rights violations and harassment
of Sikhs to the media in the aftermath of 9/11. They quickly developed a movement
structure, mobilized resources using the Internet, and later established a physical
location and staff. The movement created a structural strain in societal institutions
that required a response from constituted leaders at various levels of government.
Coalition and public sector leaders continue to work together to institutionalize
change and protect the rights of the Sikh community.


Armstrong, J. R. (2005, July 16). Five Sikhs sue MTA over its turban rule. New York Daily

News. Retrieved October 30, 2008, from


Barber, B. R. (1995). Jihad vs. McWorld: How globalism and tribalism are reshaping the world.

New York: Ballantine.

Chan, E. (2007, June 6). Harassment ordeal of Boro’s Sikh kids. New York Daily News.

Retrieved October 30, 2008, from


Constable, P., & Wilber, D.Q. (2007, September 9). Turban searches rile Sikh community:

Rule change gives airport workers wider leeway in screening headgear. The Washington

Post. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from


Kaur, V. (2005, October 8). Into the whirlwind: Sikh coalition vs. New York City. Retrieved

October 29, 2008, from


Lampman, J. (2001, October 31). Under attack, Sikhs defend their religious liberties.

Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 30, 2008, from http://www.csmonitor


Merida, K. (2001, October 3). For “other” Americans, a new kind of terrorism. The

Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2008, from


Ritter, J. (2002, September 12). Hate crimes born out of tragedy added victims. USA Today.

Retrieved October 30, 2008, from


Ruiz, A. (2008, June 11). Battling hate in our schools. New York Daily News. Retrieved

October 30, 2008, from


The Sikh Coalition. (n.d.). Sikhism. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from http://www.sikhcoalition


Tucker, R. C. (1995). Politics as leadership (rev. ed.). Columbia: University of Missouri Press.

Wilson, B. (2007, August 29). Sikhs blast TSA for forcing new turban removal procedures.

Aviation Daily, 396(42). Retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://newman.richmond





Leading Global Change

Globalization Theory


Horizontal networks and

Conflict-capital development

Systemic change

Global Leadership
• Transcending
• Inclusive
• Convening
• Generative
• Ethical

• Neoclassical
• Neoliberal
• Social development
• Earthist
• Postcolonial


Global Change Context
Rebecca Todd Peters and Gill Robinson Hickman


Maggie Smith was born in Missouri but now lives in California. Last week she got
help from Sanjay, a technician in India, when she called a support line for a prob-
lem that she was having with her computer. She bought her computer online from
a company that had assembled it in Malaysia from parts manufactured in Mexico.
The tag on the blouse she was wearing said it was made in Honduras but neglected
to mention that the cotton was grown in China. She drives a Japanese car that was
assembled in Kentucky, and her dinner consisted of food that traveled an average of
2,000 miles before it reached her table. If we spent more time withMaggie or almost
any individual living in the First World today, it would be difficult to find anyone
whose life was not thoroughly and completely integrated in the global economy.
Although there is nothing particularly remarkable or unique about Maggie’s expe-
rience, a snapshot of her day-to-day life highlights the remarkable shifts in the
world community over the last 50 years, shifts that have redefined everyday life for
some groups of people.
In contrast, Sara Mwambu still lives in the small village in Uganda where she was

born. She is a subsistence farmer who gets up every day before dawn to care for her
family by cooking, cleaning, washing, and dressing herself and her five children;
tending to her vegetables; and fetching water, among other things. Although some
of the family’s clothes may be castoffs frommore wealthy countries that reach them
through aid agencies, most of the food, utensils, clothing, and other supplies in
their life are produced by the family (usually, Sara) or are purchased locally. Sara
does not have a computer, a telephone, or a car. Nevertheless, her world is also
shaped by the changing global context of the world. For instance, increased floods
and droughts (manifestations of global climate change) have destroyed Sara’s crops


more than once, compromising the food security of Sara’s family. Another change
is that, whereas Sara never received any formal education, her daughters are now in
secondary school as a result of education initiatives supported by the World Bank.
The political and economic shifts that accompanied the end of the Second

World War led to the rise of a new geopolitical landscape that included two major
changes. The first change was the solidification of the Western and Eastern politi-
cal “blocs” that came to be known respectively as the First World and the Second
World. The second change was a growing concern with the economic development
of newly independent nations in Africa and Latin America and, to a lesser extent, in
Asia. The working assumption of theWestern countries, or the FirstWorld, was that
these former colonies needed to “develop” their assets and resources in ways that
would make them more prosperous. The general consensus was that the best way
for them to succeed was to emulate the industrial development model that had pro-
pelled the First World to economic success. These countries were referred to as
“underdeveloped” or “developing” and also came to be known as the Third World.
The most significant changes that have shaped the global economy and the context
of global change have occurred in the last 60 years as business and political leaders
have cooperated in the task of developing a more integrated global world.
The two scenarios discussed at the beginning of this chapter demonstrate three

significant aspects of the context of global change that are important to highlight.
First, differences in people’s social locations (class, race, gender, nationality, etc.)
translate into different experiences of the global changes that have taken place.
Namely, Sara and Maggie are both affected by globalization and the changes that it
has wrought in the world, but they experience those changes in very different ways.
Second, differences in the way that people experience these shifts in the global con-
text affect how they think about these changes and whether they experience them
positively or negatively. Third, the global changes that have occurred in the last
60 years have resulted in both positive and negative shifts that are affecting the lives
of everyone on the planet. Though it is true that Maggie has year-round access to
fruits and vegetables from around the world, there has been a significant increase
in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the production and transportation of
food globally. Likewise, while Sara’s girls are receiving an education, the long-term
reliability of their food source is threatened by increased climate change that is
directly related to the habits and lifestyles of people living in the First World.

Purpose of Global Change

The purpose of change in a global context is varied and multidimensional. As the
world is increasingly drawn together through technology, ease of travel (for some),
and global economic integration, people are increasingly attempting to address
global problems, such as poverty, violence, disease, terrorism, intolerance, climate
change, and health issues, as a global community. The idea that global change can
be accomplished when humans work together to address large-scale problems that
affect the quality of life for people across nations and cultures is the root of global
change initiatives and programs such as the United Nation’s Millennium


Development Goals and international agencies such as the World Bank and the
World Health Organization, which work toward promoting coordinated strategies
to address global problems.
This chapter uses one example of a global economic development project sup-

ported by theWorld Bank to examine the varieties of perspectives and interests that
must be taken into account when working within a global context. In the story of
the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, we show how different worldviews and perspectives
cause people to think about the danger and value of the pipeline in different ways.
At the root of these differences are different constituencies of people who hold dif-
ferent values and visions for what globalization might look like. Understanding
these differences of perspective, values, and worldviews is a key aspect of effective
leadership within a context of global change.

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 233

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Chad-Cameroon Pipeline

At the turn of the 21st century, Mabolo, a village of 13 mud huts in the central African rain forest,
was one of the few places left in the world that could only be reached by foot. To get there, one had
to follow a winding footpath that veered off a dirt road and passed through a maze of muddy hills
and creeks on the way to the village. Few places remain untouched by the globalization processes
that are transforming the world. Even remote Pygmy villages in Cameroon are seeing their way of
life change in response to the changing world. For traditional nomadic hunting tribes, even the exis-
tence of the villages represents a significant lifestyle change as their attempts to adjust to a global-
izing world over the last 50 years have included settling into villages. Here they grow cassava and
yams to supplement the porcupines, rabbits, boars, and antelopes that have long been the mainstay
of their diets. Living without electricity or running water and most assuredly living on less than the
World Bank’s $1.25 a day threshold for extreme poverty, these tribes represent the kind of people
whom proponents of development are trying to reach. A recent development project jointly spon-
sored by the World Bank and several oil companies brought an oil pipeline through the hills nearby.
The people who live in Mobolo and the surrounding villages are the Baka and Bakola populations
in Cameroon. Some hope to get jobs from the pipeline. Others share 34-year-old Pierre Mbang’s con-
cern that “work is good, but the forest is our life. Work is good, but it will end.” Numerous peasants
live in villages surrounding the proposed pipeline route, and their voices and concerns regarding the
environmental impact of the project, the proposed revenue-sharing development of their region, and
the economic compensation for their land have not been adequately considered. Early in the process,
local sources reported that military and government officials who visited towns and villages in the
region threatened that anyone who opposed the pipeline would be summarily executed (Center for
International Environmental Law, 2000). Life for all of the communities in the path of the oilfields or
the pipeline itself has been transformed over the last few years as a $3.7 billion oil pipeline built by
ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Malaysia’s Petronas has snaked its way from oil reserves located in Chad
through Cameroon on their way to the coast for export.




Chad is a landlocked country in central Africa that is ranked as one of the poorest countries in
the world by the United Nations Human Development Report. In fact, in 2006 it was ranked 171
out of 177 countries according to its Human Development Index, or HDI. The HDI ranks countries
according to three basic areas of human development—longevity and health of population,
knowledge, and standard of living. The current life expectancy in Chad is 43 years, almost half
Japan’s life expectancy of 82 years (Human Development Report Office, 2006). Only 25% of the
adult population is literate, and the average income is roughly $225 a year (Human Development
Report Office, 2006; Sengupta, 2004).

Oil reserves were discovered in Chad 30 years ago, and discussions have been underway with
the World Bank since 1995 regarding the development of an oil pipeline to access those reserves.
The pipeline project represents an estimated 900 million barrels of oil, according to ExxonMobil’s
estimations, which will be extracted over a 25-year period. At current oil prices, ExxonMobil’s 40%
share of the profit stands to be about $9.8 billion.

In their words, the World Bank joined the negotiations to ensure that this will be “a develop-
ment project rather than just an oil project.” From the perspective of the World Bank, their 15%
contribution (approximately $193 million) to the production costs of the pipeline buys them a sub-
stantial voice in determining how the oil will reach the market. The World Bank, which views its
mission as the elimination of poverty through development, hopes to make a significant impact
on the economy and living conditions of Chad. Toward that end the original agreement between
the World Bank and the Chadian parliament earmarked 10% of the royalties and revenues for
future generations; 80% of the remaining funds for education, health and social services, rural
development, infrastructure, and environmental and water resource management; 5% for regional
development in the oil-producing area; and 5% as discretionary funds (World Bank, 2000). Total
revenue for Chad is anticipated to be about $2 billion and the expectation on the part of the
World Bank was that this money would significantly improve the standard of living in this des-
perately poor country. Although this is an admirable goal, a variety of objections and concerns
about the project have been raised over the years by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that
are concerned about the viability and potential success of the project.

One of the most significant objections to the project has to do with the political instability
in the region. Chad’s involvement in a civil war for the first 30 years of its independence, from
1960–1990, is the primary reason this oil has not been exported already. The nonprofit Bank
Information Center (BIC; 2000) that monitors the work of the World Bank and other International
Financial Institutions reported that the pipeline has exacerbated conflicts between the largely
Muslim government in the north and the Christian/Animist rebels in the south. Amnesty
International and BIC reported two unexplained massacres of civilians in the oil-producing region,
one in 1996 and the other in 1997, that killed 180 people combined.

Additional concerns that oil revenues would be used to arm and fund the military proved pre-
scient when the president used $4.5 million from an initial $25 million signing bonus to secretly
purchase weapons for the military in 2001 in direct violation of standing agreements with the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In August of 2006, President Idriss Deby ordered
pipeline partners Chevron and Petronas to leave the country for tax nonpayment, a charge disputed
by both companies. Some observers saw this move as part of Deby’s attempts to renegotiate the

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 235

pipeline contract with the World Bank to free up a larger percentage of the oil revenues to spend
on beefing up the military and his security forces. Deby argued that he needs this freedom to ade-
quately address the renewed civil unrest he faces in the east, which has been described as a sec-
ond civil war. The porous borders between Chad and Sudan have meant that much of the conflict
in Darfur has spilled over into neighboring Chad, and the Janjaweed forces reportedly have been
attacking villages and eastern Chad since 2004. This kind of political instability makes it difficult to
maintain the security of something as large as the oil fields and pipeline in the southern region.
Transparency International has rated Chad as the most corrupt nation in the world, and Deby
recently arranged to have the constitutional term limits for the office of the president removed as
he faced the end of what should have been his second and final term of office.

Given that Chad and Cameroon are two of the poorest countries in the world, it is not sur-
prising that social concerns are also a dominant factor in the debate over the pipeline. Questions
and concerns about how the pipeline will affect the ability of local inhabitants to survive have
been central to public debates. We have already discussed the threat to the remote Pygmy villages
in Cameroon and their inhabitants who now number about 100,000 out of Cameroon’s popula-
tion of 14 million. But the livelihoods and well-being of many other communities in the pipeline’s
path are also threatened. Fertile land in the region was scarce even before the pipeline arrived,
and many subsistence farmers and their families are finding their possibility for survival increas-
ingly threatened by the expanding oil field development. The project is expanding because after
the crews got into the fields they realized they were not going to be able to meet the original pro-
duction goals. So they began expanding their drilling, and the original land-use estimates have
expanded by 65%. The participation of the World Bank was intended to make sure that local
residents would be compensated by the ExxonMobil consortium for any loss of land as a result of
the pipeline project. Though efforts have been made to offer compensation, disputes over the val-
uation of the land, survey results, and land ownership have resulted in reports that the living con-
ditions of many of the inhabitants of the region have been further immiserated since the pipeline
came through. Furthermore, one-time cash compensation for the loss of farmland and fruit trees
that provide food for local farmers and villagers is hardly an adequate solution to addressing the
poverty of these two countries.

Obviously, any oil development project will also have its share of environmental concerns. In
the case of this particular project, opponents have cited the threat to the wildlife, the threat of oil
spills to drinking water and arable land, increased risk of drought, increased deforestation and
loss of biodiversity, and concern for marine pollution along the Cameroonian coast as some of
their primary concerns. Since completion of the project and the pumping of oil in 2003, one of the
problems cited by local residents is the contamination of drinking water in the village wells.
Madame M, a woman who lives in a village just north of Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, explained,
“We used to have clean water, but since the oil pipeline was built all we have is pollution” (Horta
& Djiriabe, 2007). The only source of water in her village is a small well located near the pipeline.
The surface of the water is covered by a film of what appears to be grease. Other villagers agree
that water contamination is a serious problem, and they complain of “skin rashes, stomach pains,
and unknown ailments.” A significant lack of dust control has also led to a decrease in the over-
all air quality as well as damage to crops. The dust causes visibility problems, eye infections, and



Concepts of Global Change

The Chad-Cameroon pipeline and all its attendant controversies and complexities
serves as an excellent example of the different voices, viewpoints, and experiences
that pepper the globalization debates in the early 21st century. There are at least
four major interests in the debates over the pipeline—the oil companies, the devel-
opment community, NGOs, and local communities affected by the pipeline. These
four groups have very different interests and values and significantly different levels
of power and influence with regard to decision making about the pipeline project.
These distinct voices correspond and help to illustrate four different theoretical
positions regarding globalization—neoliberal, development, earthist, and postcolo-
nial. Examining the positions and perspectives of different groups that correspond
to these four theoretical positions help to illustrate how different communities
understand and interpret the impacts of globalization.1


respiratory problems. The lack of an adequate health care infrastructure in the region means that
many of these conditions are left untreated, further compromising the health of an already frag-
ile people.

In December 2006, the World Bank completed a Project Implementation Completion Report, or
ICR, which usually indicates the completion of World Bank involvement with a development
project. The ICR assesses the actions of the borrowing government and whether or not a project
achieved its stated development goals. The Environmental Defense Fund has produced its own
report that characterizes the ICR as an incomprehensible and misleading report. In documenting
both the current situation and the serious concerns about corruption, graft, and civil unrest in
Chad, the EDF calls on the World Bank to remain actively engaged in working on the Chad-
Cameroon pipeline project until the social, political, and environmental problems have been
adequately addressed.

While participants in the pipeline debate are not engaged firsthand in a debate over global-
ization per se, globalization is exactly what is at stake. Now, that’s not to say that the outcome of
the Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Development and Pipeline Project will determine the future role of
globalization in our society. It is instead to say that this pipeline project is emblematic of how
globalization is being articulated, enacted, and experienced all over the world. Globalization is a
historic phenomenon that incorporates economic, cultural, material, philosophical, and social
aspects. Often globalization is reduced to an economic paradigm characterized by increased trade
among nations and the creation of a single global economy. As we show in this chapter the
neoliberal economic paradigm that this represents is a significant aspect of globalization, but we
also demonstrate in the pipeline story that globalization extends far more broadly, touching on
issues of culture, tradition, politics, work, values, the environment, human rights, consumerism,
power, and a host of others. Leadership in the context of global change requires a deep under-
standing of the variety of ideologies, concerns, and experiences of all of the stakeholders involved.

Although many people describe the context of global change as globalization,
this term often implies a certain uniformity of definition or perspective that is too
simplistic. There is not, in fact, a single theory of globalization but rather many
ways that people understand, interpret, and respond to the global changes that are
occurring in the world. In the opening figure, these different ways of thinking about
and approaching global change are described as concepts of change. Here we exam-
ine the four theories of globalization that correspond to different constituencies
and reflect different sets of values. We examine how these four theories correspond
to various constituencies involved in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline debate.

Neoclassical Economics

The first two stakeholders in the pipeline are the oil companies and the devel-
opment community. They represent the groups with the most money and political
power in this scenario. Each of these groups works out of a distinct worldview that
guides their analysis of the political, economic, and social realities of the African
continent that affect the development of the pipeline project. The worldview of the
oil companies can best be described as neoliberal, and the worldview of the devel-
opment community most closely corresponds to a social equity approach
(Johnston, 1998). These two worldviews also represent the two most widely held
views of globalization that are competing for dominance in the political-economic
sphere today. Although these two worldviews largely describe beliefs about how
economies work, they share some basic assumptions about economics and anthro-
pology that are rooted in their shared acceptance of neoclassical economic theory.
Neoclassical economics developed over a period of several hundred years. The

classical economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo were early theorists who
developed some of the foundational assumptions of the field of economics, includ-
ing an emphasis on economic growth and the belief that the field of economics is
an objective or scientific discipline. John Stuart Mill was another foundational clas-
sical economist who is attributed with the idea of homo economicus, or economic
man. This term refers to the idea that consumers can primarily be understood as
self-interested wealth maximizers who will make economic decisions based on
what best promotes their own self-interest. Classical economics split in the 19th
century between a group of theorists who emphasized the demand side of eco-
nomics (marginalists) and a group who emphasized the supply side (classical).
These two divergent approaches were brought together into what is known as the
neoclassical synthesis, which emphasizes the examination of supply and demand as
the lens through which to study economic behavior and practices. Although neo-
classical economic theory continues to dominate contemporary approaches to eco-
nomics, economic thought has again diverged into the two streams identified with
the oil companies and the development community—namely, neoliberalism and
social equity liberalism. These two worldviews share basic neoclassic economic
assumptions, including an emphasis on economic growth, a belief that economics
is a scientific discipline, and a basic anthropology that consumers are self-interested
wealth maximizers. Although both groups promote growth and trade as essential
aspects of economic health and wealth, they differ on their perspectives of what role

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 237

governments should play in economic matters, and herein lies the greatest differ-
ence between these two approaches to globalization.


The term neoliberalism is widely used to refer to the economic ideology that has
been driving global economic integration since the 1980s. Also known as laissez-
faire, the Washington consensus, trickle-down or supply-side economics, and free
market capitalism, neoliberal economic theory emphasizes three main policy
goals—privatization, deregulation, and increased trade. Proponents of neoliberal
ideology promote privatization on the grounds that markets are more efficient than
governments at providing services. They seek deregulation based on the argument
that governmental regulations inhibit economic growth, expansion, and trade.
Supporters also promote trade liberalization based on Ricardo’s law of comparative
advantage. In short, this means that countries should focus on producing goods
that they can produce most efficiently, and they should use those goods to trade on
the market for all other necessities.
Neoliberalism was theorized most prominently by Milton Friedman and the

Chicago school. It has become the dominant form of economic theory in the First
World and thus has become synonymous with capitalism for many people. It is the
driving ideology behind a variety of engines of big business as represented by the
World Trade Organization (WTO), multinational (MNCs) and transnational cor-
porations (TNCs), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to name just a few.
In short, these corporations and organizations are champions of the free market,
and they promote growth and profits through increased external trade between
nations. The neoliberal ideology is represented in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline
scenario by ExxonMobil (U.S. based), Petronas (Malaysian based), and Chevron
(U.S. based). Clearly, ExxonMobil’s interest in the project is profit. As we already
stated, ExxonMobil’s share of the profit stands to be about $9.8 billion.

Social Development

The second stakeholder in the pipeline controversy is represented by the World
Bank. By their own account, the World Bank entered into this project with the
express intent of trying to ensure that this project would promote human develop-
ment rather than function purely in an extractive and exploitative fashion. From
the perspective of economic theory, this worldview is influenced by the work of
John Maynard Keynes, who argued that there are compelling reasons why the state
should intervene in the market. Keynes advocated two roles for government that
contradict the laissez-faire model of neoliberalism. First, it is sometimes necessary
for the government to step in and stimulate the economy when private enterprise
fails to do so. This can happen through public works programs or interest rate
changes from a central bank. Second, financial supports for the poor, such as unem-
ployment aide or food assistance, can also function to stimulate the economy
because a higher percentage of the poor’s income is spent on basic needs. This


means that governmental funds that are used to support the poor are highly likely
to reenter the economy and function to stimulate needed growth. Countries that
follow a Keynesian or social equity liberal model of economic theory generally
affirm that governments have a responsibility to ensure the basic health and safety
of their citizens and that this includes the implementation of certain social safety
nets, such as unemployment, health care, care for the elderly and disabled, and
other programs that support marginalized populations.
Whereas the development community includes a number of different

approaches to the practice of development, the development approach that corre-
sponds more closely to the social equity model of globalization is a subset of the
development community that has come to value social development as a way to
identify aspects of globalization and development theory that should be front and
center in theory and practice. The people who share this perspective largely work in
agencies, institutions, and NGOs that approach the project of development from
the holistic perspective of attending to a variety of aspects of people’s lives, includ-
ing education, health, and community life in addition to the traditional develop-
ment emphasis on economic growth. This approach to development—which
moves beyond a strictly economic analysis of the problem of poverty—is known as
the capability approach to development and is most closely associated with the
work of economists Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. The capability approach
moves beyond a traditional developmental focus on procuring the “basic” necessi-
ties of life for people who live in poverty, traditionally defined as food, clothing, and
shelter, to include a broader interpretation of what things are necessary to allow
people to flourish. Poverty is seen as depriving people of the basic fundamentals or
capacities necessary to exercise freedom. From this worldview, people’s need for
employment, safe and healthy workplaces, access to education and job training,
health care, and self-governance are all included in a more holistic understanding
of development work as creating the capacity for human well-being. The develop-
ment community is represented by organizations like the World Bank, the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations
International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Con –
ference on Environment and Development (UNCED), among others.
The World Bank is the major development player in the pipeline story. The

World Bank felt that their influence on the political and economic stages would
allow them to play a major role in shaping the oil pipeline project in ways that
would contribute to the social development of the people living in Chad, one of the
poorest countries in the world.2 Though the World Bank did have a significant
hand in developing the agreements that earmarked the majority of the oil revenues
for social development, they proved not to have the political power necessary
to force the Chadian government to keep up their end of the bargain. In 2006,
President Deby violated the original intent of the World Bank agreements by
redefining priority sectors for development to include military expenditures
(Horta, Nguiffo, & Djiraibe, 2007). This allowed Deby to divert funds to support
continued military buildup and eventually forced a renegotiation of the original
agreement with the World Bank to include a reduction of oil revenues to be used
for poverty alleviation among other changes.

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 239


Whereas the two dominant approaches to globalization in the world today
emerged out of economic theories about growth and trade, important and distinc-
tive voices in the globalization debate argued that people need to broaden their
worldviews beyond a narrow focus on economic growth to include questions of
sustainability and culture. These voices are often found in a variety of civil society
organizations. In the case of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, these voices are strongest
in the presence of a variety of NGOs that have opposed the pipeline, organizations
that can roughly be described as sharing a basic concern for a growing grassroots
principle alternately called globalization from below, bioregional model, and local-
ization. This principle is rooted in the belief that local communities need to once
again become the center of economic, cultural, and social activity rather than con-
tinuing the trend of recent decades toward transnational corporations and what has
been termed the McDonaldization of culture (Ritzer, 1996).
A number of NGOs have been involved in protesting the oil pipeline project,

including the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Environmental
Defense, Amnesty International, CILONG (a coordinating body of NGOs in Chad),
and EIRENE (a Chadian-based NGO). Objections of NGOs to the proposed
pipeline project fall into three main categories—environmental, social, and politi-
cal. The environmental concerns include the threat to wildlife, the threat of oil spills
to drinking water and arable land, increased risk of drought, increased deforesta-
tion and loss of biodiversity, and concern for marine pollution along the
Camaroonian coast (Onishi, 2000). These concerns must be viewed in light of the
region’s experience with oil pipelines in recent years. In neighboring Nigeria, offi-
cial figures indicate that more than 2,000 women, men, and children have died in
pipeline explosions in the last 2 years. These explosions are not a result of accidents
but rather a result of robbery as organized rings of thieves, frequently escorted by
corrupt military officials, siphon large quantities of oil into waiting trucks. In addi-
tion to the environmental damage of the resultant leaks in the pipeline, the oil spills
attract desperately poor local villagers to the site in attempts to gather oil to sell on
the black market. Invariably, these are the people who are killed by the explosions
(Onishi, 2000).
The NGOs that protest the pipeline based on environmental concerns share ele-

ments of a worldview that can largely be described as earthist (Cobb, 1999). An
earthist worldview moves beyond the narrow concerns of economic growth as the
solution to poverty and focuses on a broader attention to the sustainability of
human practices in the world. It is rooted in an anthropology that understands
humans as neither separate from nor higher than the rest of the natural world.
Humanity’s impact on the earth and its systems is of primary concern for people
who hold an earthist worldview, and development projects such as the pipeline are
seen through a lens in which the environmental risks often outweigh the economic
potential of such a project. In the case of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, in addi-
tion to the health problems associated with the lack of dust control and clean
water in the pipeline region and serious problems with erosion, mosquitoes, and


toxic waste, the project has generated a far larger ecological footprint than was
originally projected.


In addition to the environmental concerns expressed by many NGOs, there are
also social and political concerns that have played a significant role in the debate
over the pipeline. Social concerns center around the potential effects that the
pipeline poses to numerous people in villages and communities in the pipeline’s
path, including a number of indigenous Pygmy communities. Politically speaking,
Chad and Cameroon are both extremely unstable countries that lack transparency
and have histories of violent civil conflict and unrest. Significant concerns have
been raised that oil revenues will be used to arm and fund the military. These social
and political concerns are closely related to a fourth worldview labeled postcolonial
(Peters, 2004). Although NGOs are often the public face of these concerns, these
organizations often represent the most vulnerable and marginalized stakeholders in
the debate—the poor and indigenous communities living in the areas of Chad and
Cameroon—the area that the pipeline will affect. Because the poor are often illiter-
ate, unable to speak the languages of the globalization dialogues, and lacking in for-
mal education, the postcolonial perspective is largely represented by those who
stand in solidarity with the poor, those who work with and advocate for the poor.
This position is referred to as postcolonial because it represents a worldview that

reflects a historical consciousness that is highly critical of the exploitation of
countries in the developing world by their colonizers. During the colonial era, most
colonized states were not only governed politically by their colonizers, but their
natural resources (gold, minerals, crops, etc.) were also exploited to build up the
wealth of the colonizing powers. Although many countries, including many in
Africa, gained political independence in the 1950s and 60s, the postcolonial world-
view describes the successive neoliberal and development policies of the developed
world as a continuation of the exploitation of the colonial era and even refers to the
dominant model of economic globalization as neocolonialism. From a postcolonial
perspective, the Chad-Cameroon pipeline is another example of the plundering of
African resources to make money for people and corporations in the developed
world. This belief is reinforced by the political and social repercussions of the
pipeline project in which the Chadian government has used part of its revenues to
arm its military and local communities that are suffering from loss of livelihood
due to significant loss of cropland. Although it is true that the ExxonMobil consor-
tium paid compensation for land lost to the pipeline project, serious questions have
been raised about whether the compensation was adequate to cover the loss of land
and whether the entitled landowners even received the compensation.

Other Perspectives

Although these four theories of globalization help to elucidate the conflicts
inherent in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline controversy, they do not explain the

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 241

actions, behavior, or worldviews of all of the significant actors and stakehold-
ers. The fifth significant stakeholder in this debate are the governments of Chad
and Cameroon. Because Chad is the primary government involved in the
pipeline negotiations, we focus on their actions. Although the four theories of
globalization previously presented can be useful in helping to understand how
different stakeholders in a situation of global conflict understand and approach
a particular problem, as the Chadian government illustrates, not all stakehold-
ers fall neatly into one of these categories. As we showed with other areas of
Africa (e.g., Rwanda/Burundi, Darfur), situations of dire poverty can combine
with greed and hunger for power to exacerbate previously dormant ethnic and
religious tensions. Chad’s close proximity to Rwanda, Burundi, and Sudan; its
long history of civil war; and the profound poverty of a population that pri-
marily survives on subsistence agriculture have led to a political situation that
is driven by graft, greed, and power, and civil war and ethnic conflict remain
legitimate threats. President Deby’s recent success at altering the constitution to
eliminate term limits does not bode well for Chad’s fragile attempts at democ-
racy and peace. This case study highlights the inherent difficulty and unpre-
dictability that undergird many international global change contexts. It also
highlights the weaknesses of international financial institutions such as the
World Bank that have no firm mechanism for enforcement of agreements.
Although money and credit ratings can be used as financial tools to pressure
governments, lack of transparency and corruption remain significant obstacles
in global political and economic arenas.

Concepts of Global Leadership

The term global leadership has become a part of daily media commentary and
casual conversation. Yet there is a relative dearth of global leadership theory. Most
likely, this conceptual void exists because developing a theory or theories of global
leadership requires truly interdisciplinary work among scholars and practitioners
in fields such as leadership studies, sociology, international relations, political
science, communication, international business, applied ethics, social psychology,
and cultural anthropology, among other areas. No single field is likely to have the
capacity to put forward theories that encompass the dimensions of leadership in
transnational, transcultural, and trans-sector environments.
Global leadership theorists need to assemble ideas that appear instinctively

incompatible—ideas that include dual and even incongruous perspectives. The
Chad-Cameroon pipeline serves to illustrate this point. It encompasses an array of
global actors and issues in a situation where the parties do not coexist geographi-
cally, culturally, socially, or politically, and they have little or no social capital
on which to build. Although this chapter does not propose a theory of global
leadership, it presents several potential components of global leadership for cross-
boundary situations such as the Chad-Cameroon pipeline. As shown in Figure 10.1,
these components include transcending, inclusive, convening, generative, and ethi-
cal elements of global leadership.


Transcending Components

The works of Howard Gardner (1995) and Nancy Adler (1997) offer a point of
departure for identifying components of global leadership. Adler (1997) contended
that most current leadership theories are domestic theories masquerading as uni-
versal theories that typically incorporate U.S. and male perspectives; even when
these theories are not U.S. based, they still represent the domestic perspective of a
specific culture or country (p. 174). Adler instead made the following proposal:

Global leadership theory, unlike its domestic counterpart, is concerned with
the interaction of people and ideas among cultures, rather than with either the
efficacy of particular leadership styles within the leader’s home country or
with the comparison of leadership approaches among leaders from various
countries—each of whose domain is limited to issues and people within their
own cultural environment. A fundamental distinction is that global leadership
is neither domestic nor multidomestic: it focuses on cross-cultural interaction
rather than on either single-culture description or multi-country comparison.
(italics added; p. 175)

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 243




Generative Convening


FIGURE 10.1 Possible Components of Global Leadership

Adler (1997) supported her premise by referencing Gardner’s (1995) study in
Leading Minds, where he concluded that transnational leadership is “the form [of
leadership] that goes beyond the nation-state and seeks to address all human
beings” (p. 20). Accordingly, global leadership relies on transcending components—
factors that enhance the ability of participants to work across multiple sectors,
cultures, and countries. Gardner’s examination of leadership that goes beyond
nation-states illuminated several potential transcending components, including a
systems perspective, an appeal to common humanity, broadened identity and
vision, and the use of stories, among others.

A Systems Perspective

Situations like the one in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline vignette point to the
need for global leadership to employ a systems perspective—that is, to see the vast
array of causes and effects that make up a situation in contrast to seeing problems
in disjointed, linear, or simplistic ways (see discussion in Chapter 1). Circumstances
described in the vignette at the beginning of this chapter demonstrate how transna-
tional business and finance, transnational politics, and transcultural groups inter-
sect in a global arena to affect economic development, political stability, social
development, and environmental sustainability. These consequences show how
change in one situation (e.g., creating jobs and revenue through the oil pipeline
project) operates interdependently to create positive, negative, and unintended
consequences (e.g., polluting drinking water, reducing farmland, decreasing bio-
diversity) in other circumstances. Global leadership in the pipeline case must
address multiple human, economic, and environmental dynamics involving the oil
companies, development organizations, affected communities, environmental con-
ditions, and governments to deal with problems on this scale.

Appeal to Common Humanity

An appeal to common humanity within and across boundaries, perspectives,
and worldviews is another transcending component of global leadership. Gardner
(1995) contended that individuals involved in global leadership engage in cross-
boundary experiences that enable them to recognize that what members of the
global audience or constituency have in common “is only that which is most fun-
damentally human to each individual. . . . They must communicate in terms of
what is commonsense and commonplace for people worldwide; they therefore
must communicate in the most fundamental terms of humanity” (p. 12; see also
Adler, 1997, p. 177).
Mahatma Gandhi and later Martin Luther King, Jr. were able to convey to people

across their respective countries and across the world that subjugation of another
human group was morally wrong and that “members of the species must learn to
face one another as equals, unafraid” (Gardner, 1995, p. 277). These appeals to the
common humanity among people spurred individuals from different walks of life to
join together for change that enriches the quality of life for others and themselves.


Broadened Identity and Vision

The appeal to common humanity is connected to one more transcending
component—cultivating a broadened identity and vision. Actors involved in global
leadership help participants and larger constituencies tap into their common
humanity by shaping an expanded identity beyond a single culture, country, or
context. Gandhi’s statement that “we are all, first and foremost, human beings and
we must relate to one another on that naked basis” (Gardner, 1995, p. 283) served
to broaden a sense of identity across groups and nations, colonizers and colonists.
Using this broadened identity, leaders shape a vision that has meaning for people’s
lives and work around the world (Gardner, 1995, p. 288; Adler, 1997, pp. 175–176).
Gandhi used the broadened identity of being, first, human beings to help people
envision a new way of leading change, which demonstrates “that it is possible to
resist injustice in a way that is honorable, does not involve counterattack, and may
even bring about resolutions that empower all concerned” (Gardner, 1995, p. 275).

Use of Stories

Often participants in global leadership appeal to common humanity and evoke
a broadened identity through their capacity to transmit and embody stories.
Gardner (1995) stressed that transnational leaders achieve effectiveness through the
stories they tell and embody (p. 9). These stories reflect their authentic experiences
across boundaries and their understanding of the common humanity embedded in
these experiences. They tell stories “about themselves and their groups, about where
they were coming from and where they were headed, about what was to be feared,
struggled against, and dreamed about” (Gardner, 1995, p. 15). These illustrations of
past struggles and future states can cultivate an image in the minds and hearts of
listeners that transforms possibilities for change from abstract ideas to concrete
images of attainable realities.

The Global Leadership Process

What do these transcendent components of global leadership mean in relation to
the process of global leadership? Adler (1997) combined ideas from two scholarly
works to describe “a process by which members of . . . [the world community] are
empowered to work together synergistically toward a common vision and common
goals . . . [resulting in an] improve[ment in] the quality of life” on and for the planet
(Hollander, 1985, as cited in Adler, 1997, p. 174; see also Astin & Leland 1991, p. 8).
The process of global leadership involves participants in the hard work of

addressing cross-sector, transcultural, transnational issues like those surrounding
the Chad-Cameroon pipeline. As a result, the process compels participants to focus
on two seemingly conflicting elements at the same time—transcending and inclu-
sive components of global leadership. Participants must transcend sector, culture,
and nation-state boundaries while including the differing perspectives and world-
views of the people involved. The challenge for leadership throughout the process

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 245

is to keep participants focused on the core of what it means to be human, while
helping them understand and draw on the heterogeneity of actors and stakeholders
affected by the process.

Inclusive Components

Though global leadership crosses multiple terrains, it is not simply a blending of
humanity, cultures, sectors, and national identities. The Chad-Cameroon pipeline
vignette suggests that global leadership incorporates inclusive components that
represent the unique and varied aspects of people and issues in the change process.
An underlying assumption of these inclusive components is that the human com-
munity has a greater chance of understanding the key issues, engaging in creative
or innovative work, and creating effective, sustainable change by involving hetero-
geneous stakeholders in a mutual problem-solving arena. In this section, we exam-
ine several aspects of difference that are often present in a global leadership process.

Different Sectors and Stakeholders

Actors in the pipeline vignette represent different sectors of society, including
business, development agencies, NGOs, and government. These sectors bring
diverse contributions, perspectives, and expectations to the Chad-Cameroon situa-
tion, and their inclusion in a global leadership process is critical to the outcome.
These sectors “encompass multiple stakeholders,” which have a stake—a claim of
some sort such as ownership, legal or moral rights, an investment, or a bond
(Waddock, 2006, pp. 7–8)—that links them to the purpose. The pipeline vignette
involves an array of stakeholders, including oil companies Exxon, Chevron, and
Petronas; international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund; community members represented by the NGOs
CILONG and EIRENE; environmental activists, such as the Environmental Defense
Fund and the CIEL; and the governments of Chad and Cameroon. Each set of
actors has a unique stake in the situation that must be addressed, rather than simply
blended, in the process.

Different Cultures and Perspectives

Another inclusive component of global leadership focuses on multiple cultures.
Culture is generally understood as the shared experiences of a group of people that
are learned and transmitted through language, beliefs, values, practices, norms,
symbols, and traditions, among other factors. How do multiple cultures interact in
a global leadership context? Researchers in leadership studies know little about how
different cultures interact in global leadership settings such as the Chad-Cameroon
pipeline scenario. Much of the contemporary research in leadership studies on cul-
ture and leadership has been conducted in the context of organizations (compa-
nies) situated in different national cultures (Goldsmith, Greenberg, Robertson &
Hu-Chan, 2003; Hofstede, 1980, 2001; House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman & Gupta,
2004). The research does not specifically address situations where actors from


various cultures and contexts come together to work on interconnected problems.
These studies focus on how culture, and in some cases subculture, affects organiza-
tional leadership (managers) in different countries—stimulated no doubt by the
growth of transnational business.
Information from these studies provides insights into organizational leadership

in different cultures. Geert Hofstede’s (1980, 2001) study of different national
cultures collected data from 116,000 respondents working in subsidiaries of one
multinational company in more than 50 countries. He identified five main dimen-
sions on which country cultures vary: power distance; uncertainty avoidance; indi-
vidualism versus collectivism; masculinity versus femininity; and long-term versus
short-term orientation (Hofstede, 2001, p. 29). Hofstede (2001) emphasized that
culture is extremely stable over time and change comes primarily from the outside
“in the form of forces of nature or forces of human beings: trade, conquest, eco-
nomical or political dominance, and technological breakthroughs” (p. 34).
The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE)

study conducted by Robert House et al. (2004) surveyed 17,000 managers in more
than 950 organizations in 62 countries.3 They grouped the countries into 10 clus-
tered regions of the world—Latin Europe, Anglo, Nordic Europe, Germanic
Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern
Asia, and Confucian Asia. Building on the work of Hofstede and others, they devel-
oped nine dimensions on which cultures differ:

Uncertainty avoidance—the extent to which members of an organization or
society strive to avoid uncertainty by relying on established social norms, ritu-
als, and bureaucratic practices;

Power distance—the degree to which members of an organization or society
expect and agree that power should be stratified and concentrated at higher
levels of an organization;

Institutional collectivism—the degree to which organizational and societal insti-
tutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and
collective action;

In-group collectivism—the degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty, and
cohesiveness in their organizations and families;

Gender egalitarianism—the degree to which an organization or a society mini-
mizes gender role differences while promoting gender equality;

Assertiveness—the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies are
assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in social relationships;

Future orientation—the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies
engage in future-oriented behaviors such as planning, investing in the future,
and delaying individual or collective gratification;

Performance orientation—the degree to which an organization or society
encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and
excellence; and

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 247

Humane orientation—the degree to which individuals in organizations or
societies encourage and reward individuals in organizations for being fair, altru-
istic, friendly, generous, caring, and kind to others. (pp. 11–13)

On the basis of the country clusters in the GLOBE study, the Chad-Cameroon
situation involves actors primarily from the regions of sub-Saharan Africa (NGOs
representing the people’s interest, national governments), Anglo (economic devel-
opment agencies, two oil companies, an environmental NGO), and southern Asia
(one oil company). Actors in a global leadership process would need a basic under-
standing of the various cultures of these representatives. Table 10.1 uses data from
the GLOBE study to indicate the cultural practices (what people actually do) and
values (what people believe should be done) of the representatives from the three
regions in the pipeline vignette.



Sub-Saharan Africa Anglo Southern Asia

(As is)

(Should be)

(As is)

(Should be)

(As is)

(Should be)


Mid-Score Mid-Score High Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score

Assertiveness Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score High


Mid-Score High Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score High


High Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score High Mid-Score


Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score Low Mid-Score High


Mid-Score Mid-Score Low High High Mid-Score


Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score High Mid-Score Low


Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score Mid-Score


Mid-Score High Mid-Score Low Mid-Score High

TABLE 10.1 Comparison of Cultural Dimensions in the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Vignette

SOURCE: Adapted from House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.), Culture, Leadership,
and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies, pp. 193–194, copyright © 2004, Sage Publications, Inc. Reprinted
with permission.

The ratings of representatives, according to the table, vary most in their “prac-
tices” of in-group collectivism, whereas their “values” vary most in the areas of
gender egalitarianism and institutional collectivism. Representatives from these
regions scored their practices in the same range on six cultural dimensions—
assertiveness, future orientation, institutional collectivism, gender egalitarianism,
and power distance—yet their values differed on all but two of the six dimensions
(assertiveness and power distance). Still, it is difficult to know based on the GLOBE
study how practices and values interact in situations where participants from these
cultures come together in a joint endeavor.
The GLOBE study is one of the largest and most ambitious studies to date on

culture and leadership. It has made a substantial scholarly contribution to the field
and highlighted the considerable range of research that still remains. It is hoped
that future studies will examine whether these cultural dimensions or some dimen-
sions yet to be discovered are the most authentic and fitting ones for the study of
culture and leadership within and across organizations, communities, political are-
nas, and other contexts. The studies will also need to examine other kinds of leaders
and participants (from NGOs, government and politics, religion, and communi-
ties) in cross-cultural settings. Researchers in the GLOBE study and other projects
realized that their work is a beginning step toward a larger agenda. Dorfman and
House (2004) acknowledged the “ultimate destination is to validate a cross-level
integrated theory specifying the relationship among culture and societal, organiza-
tional, and leadership effectiveness” (p. 66). Current studies of culture and
leadership make it clear that cultural distinctions must be understood, acknowl-
edged, and included in global leadership processes to resolve problems or generate
new methods and outcomes.

Different Gender Perspectives

In the global arena, leadership appears to emphasize more cooperative, partici-
pative, interactional, and relational styles based on deep personal relationships
(Adler, 1997, p. 185). Adler’s study of global leadership pointed out that women and
many non-American male leaders display patterns and trends that seem especially
useful for leadership in the 21st century. These patterns, which are generally seen as
feminine in North America, often reflect both male and female styles in other parts
of the world and in global leadership settings:

Not surprisingly, relational skills (labeled by anthropologists as particularism
and by North Americans as typically feminine) outperform the seemingly
more objective approach of following the same rules with everyone (labeled
as universalism by anthropologists and as typically male by North
Americans). (p. 186)

Women leaders in the study used processes that seem increasingly significant for
global leadership by men and women. They include incorporating and symbolizing
people’s aspirations for hope, change, and unity; focusing on vision, mission, or

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 249

cause rather than hierarchical status; and developing broad-based support as a basis
of power (Adler, 1997, pp. 187–189).
National culture does not seem to play the role in selection of women leaders that

people might suspect. Countries led by the 37 women4 in Adler’s (1997) study rep-
resented six of the major world religions, including 4 women prime ministers from
predominantly Muslim countries and some from the world’s largest and smallest
countries, richest and poorest countries, and the most socially and economically
advantaged and disadvantaged countries (p. 187). Seemingly female-friendly
countries, where women have equal rights, do not elect a higher proportion of
women presidents and prime ministers, and in the business sector, companies that
select women for senior leadership positions do not always implement the most
female-friendly policies (Adler, 1997, p. 187). These occurrences may reflect differ-
ences identified previously in the GLOBE study between cultural practices (what
people actually do) and cultural values (what people believe should be done).
There is still limited information on how the trends and patterns in Adler’s

(1997) study and others intersect when men and women come together in global
leadership processes. Like studies of culture, there is a need for more research and
theory building on global leadership processes that involve men and women.

Different Religious Perspectives

Participants in global leadership processes often come from different religious
traditions that help shape their perspectives, worldviews, and identity. Inclusion
of religious diversity (beliefs, traditions, practices, dress, and speech) in global
leadership fosters what Douglas Hicks (2003) referred to as respectful pluralism
(pp. 159–160). Hicks identified several moral claims of respectful pluralism that
assert the following: all persons possess an inviolable human dignity, every human
being deserves to be accorded respect, and all human beings possess equal dignity
and thus deserve equal respect (p. 167). Respectful pluralism allows people to
communicate—on their own terms—across religious, spiritual, and moral divides;
provides freedom for them to draw on their religiously based ideas and symbols as
they work; and allows them to explain their beliefs and describe how these beliefs
affect the way they approach work (p. 165).
Though Hicks (2003) describes respectful pluralism in the context of work-

places, it seems to apply equally to global leadership processes in which differing
religious perspectives converge. It provides a framework for understanding and
promoting interactions among diverse participants in global leadership processes.
It requires leadership that enables the development of pluralism among partici-
pants by deliberately creating environments that promote active engagement and a
convergence of meaningful relationships among diverse people (pp. 184–185).

Convening Components

Global leadership calls for convening components to bring together stakehold-
ers from multiple sectors, cultures, and countries to work toward problem solving,


innovation, or outcomes that benefit all parties. Convening components of global
leadership include the power to invite and attract parties to the process and the
assurance of fairness in the process.

Power to Invite and Attract Parties

Adler’s (1997) description of global leadership makes only a vague reference to
power. She mentioned that members of the world community are empowered to
work together, but there is no indication of the source of their empowerment or
how it operates (p. 174).
The power to invite and attract parties is an initiating leadership function that

stems from both formal authority and nonconstituted sources. Organizational and
political actors draw power and authority from their constituted positions and
institutions, whereas actors from NGOs and activist groups rely more heavily on
social power and credibility to represent affected communities and the environ-
ment. Whether global leaders hold official positions of authority or work as non-
constituted change leaders, their diverse experiences and range of contacts often
allow them to work through nontraditional or “extragovernmental” channels
(Gardner, 1995, p. 283). By convening cross-boundary groups, they create new
forms and methods of working or generate new structures using these nontradi-
tional channels and experiences (Gardner, 1995, p. 268).
In a cross-boundary situation like the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, either set of

actors has a source of power that permits them to invite participants and convene
a global leadership process. They would each need to assess whether their singular
power to convene is sufficient for the situation or whether they should convene in
partnership with one or more groups of actors. Though the pipeline vignette does
not conclude with any group convening the collective stakeholders, it would be fea-
sible for one or more actors to initiate change by inviting the parties into a global
leadership process.

Assurance of Fairness in the Process

Assurance of fairness in the process is another convening component. In addition
to their apparent stake in the situation, participants may be willing to accept an invi-
tation to join a global leadership process if they perceive that the process is fair.
Conveners that do not have a stake or predisposition regarding an issue could serve
as fair facilitators of processes with diverse participants. A third party with high cred-
ibility and no predisposition toward one side or another could also facilitate or medi-
ate a fair process with diverse participants, whether or not the convener is a party in
the situation (Carlson, 2006, p. 58). Diverse stakeholders are more willing to join and
remain engaged in a process when participants are invited to a neutral or safe meet-
ing place; the convener or facilitator is impartial and frames the issues in an unbiased
way; no party is dominant, and each one can discuss, listen, and ask questions; par-
ties demonstrate ongoing commitment to the process; and participants keep working
to consider options and work toward viable solutions (Carlson, 2006, p. 59).

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 251

Generative Components

Generative components emerge from global leadership that facilitates interac-
tion among participants across boundaries of difference for the purpose of creative
problem solving or innovation. One generative component that can emerge from
global leadership is conflict capital. Conflict capital (akin to other forms of capital)
is a resource that results from discovering, understanding, and making use of dif-
ferences among participants or stakeholders (Hickman, 1998, p. 408).
Conflict can contain the substance of remarkable problem solving, creativity, and

innovation, as well as divisiveness and harm. Developing conflict capital requires a
process that allows participants to discover the perspectives and humanity of each
group—how participants see an issue or problem, what stake participants have in
the situation, and what participants hope to gain from engaging in the process.
Conflict capital can only develop and accrue, however, if and when the parties can
be persuaded to come together. As a result, an initial generative component of global
leadership is cultivation of participant readiness for collective engagement. Other
generative components of global leadership entail discovery of the root cause of con-
flict, mediator perspective taking, adaptive work, and new public diplomacy.

Cultivation of Participant Readiness

Some types of conflict require parties to engage in considerable work prior to
meeting. In situations such as ethnic conflict, where positions appear nearly
intractable, global leadership aimed toward conflict resolution or conflict transfor-
mation must cultivate participant readiness and persuade stakeholders that there
are members of the other groups “to whom it is worth talking” (Ross, 2000,
p. 1002). Marc Ross (2000) offered two hypotheses concerning conflict in these
conditions: “(1) that until key preconditions are met, competing groups are
unlikely to make effective progress towards an agreement; and (2) that the devel-
opment of cooperation between small groups in local settings can produce changes
which spill over and produce s shift in the larger conflict” (p. 1003).
Ross (2000) identified six theories of practice pertinent to conflict resolutions in

seemingly intractable ethnic conflict: community relations, principled negotiation,
human needs, psychoanalytically rooted identity, intercultural miscommunica-
tions, and conflict transformation. Although there are differences among these the-
ories, they all share several common elements—involving the parties in conflict in
the resolutions; emphasizing the significance of the process, not just the outcomes
of conflict resolution; allowing parties in a conflict to conceptualize and own the
outcome; and recognizing conflict resolution as a long-term process involving both
pre- and postsettlement tasks (pp. 1027–1028).

Discovery of Underlying Causes of Conflict

Global leadership requires a process of comprehensive discovery to unravel the
underlying causes of conflict. Without this discovery, conflicting parties ultimately


find it difficult to fully recognize the situations or issues that led to their conflict or
to gain perspective on how to work toward a potential solution. Frances Stewart
(2002) demonstrated this point in her analysis of the root causes of violent conflict
in developing countries. She pointed out major cultural and economic root causes
of war in these situations that need to be fully illuminated.
Stewart (2002) explained that groups of people who fight together see them-

selves as belonging to the same cultural group and fight to maintain their cul-
tural autonomy. They attribute the war to “primordial” ethnic passions, which
make the conflict seem intractable. Global leadership processes become more
feasible when certain cultural factors can be disentangled based on the points
Stewart enumerated:

• Individuals may be born into certain cultures; however, cultures are con-
structed and chosen, and many people have multiple identities;

• Many identities that seem so strong in certain areas of the world today were
actually invented by colonial powers for administrative purposes and have
only weak links to a group’s pre-colonial history;

• The boundaries of these identities are generally fluid and have been described
as “fuzzy” sets; and

• In wars, political leaders may deliberately rework historical memories to
engender or strengthen these cultural identities in the competition for power
and resources. (p. 342)

Stewart (2002) cited four economic hypotheses that contribute to understand-
ing the factors that predispose groups to intrastate wars—group motivation, pri-
vate motivation, failure of the social contract, and environmental degradation:

• Group motivation hypothesis—Based on the idea of horizontal inequalities
(resentments inspired by group differences), group resentments often lead to war
when there is a disparity between groups in the distribution and exercise of politi-
cal and economic power. In these cases, relatively deprived groups are likely to seek
(or be persuaded by their leaders to seek) redress, and relatively privileged groups
may be motivated to fight to protect their privilege from deprived groups.
Horizontal inequalities are most likely to lead to conflict when they are substantial,
consistent, and increasing over time.

• Private motivation hypothesis—This is commonly known as the greed
hypothesis, where individuals with relatively few opportunities to prosper are moti-
vated to fight because of the perceived benefits of war, such as employment as
soldiers (especially for uneducated young men) or opportunities to loot, profiteer
from shortage and aid, and trade in drugs, diamonds, and other commodities. In a
study of the greed hypothesis, researchers found that greater male education to the
higher secondary level reduced the risk of war.

• Failure of the social contract—Conflict occurs when government fails to live up
to its hypothetical social contract with citizens to deliver services and provide

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 253

reasonable economic conditions. The social contract breaks down as poverty rates
rise and services worsen. Research shows that the incidence of conflict is higher
among countries with low per capita incomes, life expectancy, and economic growth.

• Green war hypothesis—This hypothesis indicates that people fight when
environmental degradation (decrease in water supply or falling agricultural pro-
ductivity) becomes a source of poverty. Though this hypothesis does not purport
that people fight to secure environmental riches, evidence is contradictory. It
seems that both environmental poverty and resource riches can be associated with
conflict. (p. 344)

The Chad-Cameroon pipeline vignette illustrates many of these interconnected
issues. Discovering the root cause of conflict provides critical information and
guidance for global leadership processes and initiatives. These insights help actors
in multistakeholder forums focus on the fundamental problems that require pol-
icy and resource development so that sustainable solutions can be identified and

Mediator Perspective Taking

Once parties agree to convene in a global forum, leadership must involve them in
a process of genuine engagement and participation. Mark Gerzon (2006) contended
that in multistakeholder situations the mediator represents a leadership perspective
that transforms differences into opportunities by serving as a steward of the whole
rather than an owner of the parts (p. 6). This leadership approach places conflict at
the center of the process so that participants or stakeholders understand differing
perspectives and use these differences to generate original solutions. Mediators “lead
through conflict” to enable participants to understand differences beyond superficial
levels and to deal with their complexity and scope honestly and creatively (p. 4). The
mediator approach does not require actors in the process to be conflict-resolution
professionals. Instead, it provides a mediator perspective for leading in cross-boundary
settings and incorporates practices to implement this approach. These practices are
outlined in the Global Change Practices section in this chapter.

Adaptive Work

Often, conflict in global settings stems from perceived or real differences in the
values of stakeholders. Ronald Heifetz (1994) explained that adaptive work
(described in Chapter 5) “consists of the learning required to address conflicts in
the values people hold, or to diminish the gap between the values people stand for
and the reality they face” (p. 22). Leadership mobilizes participants from different
sectors, cultures, and countries to engage in the adaptive work required to address
or lessen the gap between value conflicts among individuals. Success is influenced
by the openness of participants to diverse and even competing value perspectives
and their willingness to use creative tensions and conflict to generate new knowl-
edge, approaches, and outcomes.


New Public Diplomacy

Emerging scholarship in the field of new public diplomacy (NPD) may provide
insight into global leadership and change in world affairs. Eytan Gilboa (2008)
defined new public diplomacy as follows:

the interactivity between states and nonstate actors; utilization of “soft power”
[acting through cooperation rather than coercion based on the attractiveness
of a nation’s values, culture, and policies], two-way communication, strategic
public diplomacy [using scientific knowledge and methods of public opinion
research], media framing, information management; PR, nation branding,
self-presentation, and e-image; domestication of foreign policy; and address-
ing both short- and long-term issues. (p. 58)

This new attention to public diplomacy is a result of revolutions in three areas:
communication technologies (the Internet and global broadcast networks); poli-
tics (involvement of nonstate actors, such as NGOs, civil society groups, and indi-
viduals in political processes); and international relations (change in the goals and
means of foreign policy through such techniques as communication, education,
and persuasion) (Gilboa, 2008, p. 56). Gilboa contended that “favorable image and
reputation around the world, achieved through attraction and persuasion,” have
become more important in international relations than outcomes acquired
through military and economic means (p. 56). Conflict is an ever-present factor in
this process; however, NPD provides a greater opportunity for the development of
generative conflict or conflict capital over hard power (military and economic)
responses to conflict.
The search for a theory of NPD has much in common with the search for global

leadership theory because both involve processes among state and nonstate actors
across multiple sectors, cultures, and countries. Gilboa (2008) suggested that a
multidisciplinary approach involving researchers and practitioners is needed to
develop a coherent theory. Conceivably, the work of researchers and practitioners
in NPD and leadership studies could prove mutually beneficial in the search for
new frameworks.

Ethical Component

An essential challenge for the study of leadership is to determine what morally
good and effective leadership entails (Ciulla, 2004, p. 18). Ethics in a global
leadership context, like other contexts, involves working out the rights and oblig-
ations individuals have and share with others—that is, setting standards and mak-
ing decisions based on what ought to be done in regard to those we work with and
serve (see definition in Chapter 1). In a global leadership context, however, indi-
viduals from different sectors, cultures, and countries must work out these rights
and obligations together while attempting to solve cross-boundary problems or
generate new approaches and outcomes. Obviously, there are no simple answers to
this complex challenge.

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 255

Robin Attfield (2006) proposed that one feature of a global ethic must be cos-
mopolitanism (p. 5). There are two interlinked strands in the notion of cosmopoli-
tanism, as identified by Kwame Appiah (2006):

One is the idea that we have obligations to others, obligations that stretch
beyond those to whom we are related by the ties of kith and kind, or even the
more formal ties of a shared citizenship. The other is that we take seriously the
value not just of human life but of particular human lives, which means tak-
ing an interest in the practices and beliefs that lend them significance. People
are different, the cosmopolitan knows, and there is much to learn from differ-
ences. Because there are so many human possibilities worth exploring, we nei-
ther expect nor desire that every person or every society should converge on a
single mode of life. (p. xv)

Cosmopolitanism is neither a new nor an undisputed concept. It dates back to
“the Cynics of the fourth century B.C., who first coined the expression cosmopoli-
tan, ‘citizen of the cosmos’” (Appiah, 2006, p. xiv). Later, Voltaire expressed the ideal
cosmopolitan as follows:

[one who regards] all the people of the earth as so many branches of a single
family, and the universe as a state, of which they, with innumerable other
rational beings, are citizens, promoting together under the general laws of
nature the perfection of the whole, while each in his own fashion is busy about
his own well-being. (Voltaire, as quoted in Appiah, 2006, p. xv)

Appiah (2006) warned, “There is a sense in which cosmopolitanism is the name
not of the solution but of the challenge” (p. xv). Attfield (2006) outlined a global
ethic she called “cosmopolitan consequentialism and global cooperation.” This ethic
incorporates cosmopolitanism, described previously; adds a biocentric perspective
that “locates value in whatever is good in human and nonhuman lives”; includes a form
of consequentialism (described by Attfield as total view practice-consequentialism),
by which individuals assess the moral consequences of their actions, including fore-
seeable consequences (i.e., results or outcomes that individuals could have antici-
pated) and foreseeable omissions (i.e., results of inaction or lack of action that
individuals could have anticipated); and entails cooperation among actors in
matters of global problem solving or governance (Attfield, 2006, pp. 12–13, 16).
Working through the challenge of cosmopolitanism and other possible contri-

butions to a global ethic might begin and evolve through a process of discourse
(described in Chapter 1). Discourse in a global setting provides space for articula-
tion of different narratives of practice, beliefs, values, cultures, and identities,
among other factors. Dialogue is used in this process to create thoughtful exchange
and interaction, make assumptions explicit, generate mutual understanding, and
take action with regard to the issues and problems for which the group is assem-
bled. The process is intended to foster a spirit of inquiry and reflective questioning
in a setting where, according to Seyla Benhabib (2005), participants honor norms


of egalitarian reciprocity (equal respect and consideration of all persons), voluntary
self-ascription (ability to assert or claim one’s own identity and culture), and free-
dom of exit and association (autonomy to depart or separate) (p. 756). Continued
work by scholars and practitioners on ethics in these deeply plural settings will be
central to the development of good and effective leadership in a global context.

Global Leadership and Theory Building

There are many questions to explore. How is global leadership initiated, by
whom, and for what purpose? What is the relationship between or among the people
in the process—are they leaders and followers (participants) or an assembly of
leaders with a convener or moderator? How are parties motivated to come to the
process or work together? Do the goals or visions of global leadership need to be
common goals or can parties have differentiated goals and work together on the
interconnected components? What constitutes an improvement in the quality of life
from the perspective of the group and the people who might be affected? What effect
does global leadership have on duly authorized governments and their constituents?
It seems that leadership in the global arena encompasses multiple forms of

leadership and many types of leaders—leaders as initiators, leaders as conveners,
leaders as the creators of transcending vision and moral direction, leaders as advo-
cates for inclusion and facilitators of respectful pluralism, and leaders as mediators,
collaborators, and guiding forces for adaptive work and public diplomacy. These
and many other forms comprise the collective expressions of global leadership. All
participants in the process are vitally important, and their capabilities as leaders
and participants are essential at different points in the process. Some move in and
out of leader and participant roles, whereas others maintain consistent roles
throughout the process. These dynamics frame the course of inquiry into global
leadership theory and practice.

Global Change Practices

Much more has been written about global change and leadership practices than
about global leadership theory—especially with regard to multinational companies
and multilateral partnerships. Even so, there is no set of practices generally agreed
on by contributors to the subject. In this section, we identify several current prac-
tices in the literature that may well contribute to leading change in global settings.

Horizontal Networks and Experiences

Chapter 5 discussed horizontal networks in relation to community change.
Adler (1997) identified the use of horizontal networks and experiences as vital
preparation for global leadership in her study of women global leaders. She
observed that “transferring across organizations, sectors of society, and areas of the
world allows leaders to develop alternative perspectives and an understanding of

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 257

context that is almost impossible to acquire within a single setting” (p. 190).
Gardner’s (1995) work indicates that transnational leaders often acquire experience
that facilitates their global leadership while living or working in diverse geographic
locations and cultures, and leaders draw ideas and viewpoints from a range of het-
erogeneous contacts (p. 287).
Global leaders gain and use alternative perspectives and diverse experiences that

increase their capacity to engage in and understand different communities and
domains. Joanne Ciulla (2005) indicated that out of 179 heads of state more than
45% of these world leaders were educated in countries other than their own. She
captured the idea of leadership informed by building horizontal networks and
experiences in a concept called bridge leaders. Ciulla (2000) characterized bridge
leaders as “those who leave their cultures for some significant time. They live, go to
school, or travel in another culture or cultures, then return home and become
leaders or take on leadership positions” (p. 27). She hypothesized that bridge
leaders may broaden their moral repertoires through exposure to other cultures
and experiences that allow them to bridge between their culture’s value systems and
others to create a third way of understanding the world and approaching problems
(Ciulla, 2000, pp. 27–28). Because this research is ongoing, it is too early to draw
conclusions about whether bridge experiences broaden the moral repertoires of
these heads of state. However, it is apparent that many global leaders see value in
cross-cultural experiences and seek opportunities to immerse themselves in new
cultural settings outside their local community or nation-state.

Conflict-Capital Development

Conflict capital, as described previously, may develop in processes where partic-
ipants work to understand differences and use them to lead change in a global con-
text. Adaptive, collaborative, and mediator practices, among others, are examples of
processes with the potential for building conflict capital.

Adaptive Practices

Heifetz (1994) identified several adaptive practices for leadership processes
where value conflicts arise as participants attempt to accommodate the values they
hold to the reality of actual situations. He identified five principles for leadership:

1. Identify the adaptive challenge. Diagnose the situation in light of the values at
stake, and unbundle the issues that come with it.

2. Keep the level of distress within a tolerable range for doing adaptive work. To use
the pressure cooker analogy, keep the heat up without blowing up the vessel.

3. Focus attention on ripening issues and not on stress-reducing distractions.
Identify which issues can currently engage attention; and while directing
attention to them, counteract work avoidance mechanisms like denial, scape-
goating, externalizing the enemy, pretending the problem is technical, or
attacking individuals rather than issues.


4. Give the work back to people, but at a rate they can stand. Place and develop
responsibility by putting the pressure on the people with the problem.

5. Protect voices of leadership without authority. [In situations where individuals
leading the process have formal authority], give cover to those who raise hard
questions and generate distress—people who point to the internal contra-
dictions of the society. These individuals often will have latitude to provoke
rethinking that authorities do not have. (p. 128)

Collaborative Practices

Collaboration “is a process through which parties who see different aspects of a
problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that
go beyond their own limited vision of what is possible” (Gray, 1998, p. 467).
Global problems typically fit the characteristics of problems for which collabo-

rative models are appropriate:

• The problems are ill-defined, or there is disagreement about how they should
be defined.

• Several stakeholders have a vested interest in the problems and are

• These stakeholders are not necessarily identified a priori or organized in any
systematic way.

• There may be a disparity of power or resources for dealing with the problems
among the stakeholders.

• Stakeholders may have different levels of expertise and different access to
information about the problems.

• The problems are often characterized by technical complexity and scientific

• Differing perspectives on the problems often lead to adversarial relationships
among the stakeholders.

• Incremental or unilateral efforts to deal with the problems typically produce
less than satisfactory solutions.

• Existing processes for addressing the problems have proved insufficient and
many even exacerbate them. (Gray, 1998, p. 472)

Participants involved in collaboration join such processes if they believe they can
benefit from taking part and they have confidence that their interest will be pre-
sented, heard, and understood; that the process is protected, often by a third party,
from cooptation or lack of fairness; and that the process is structured so partici-
pants own the process and outcomes (Gray, 1998, pp. 478–479). Once participants
join the process, collaboration focuses participants’ attention on the vital ways
problems or issues interconnect in a situation. This focus on interdependence chal-
lenges participants to recognize why they need to engage each other in a problem-
solving or innovation process; for this reason, interdependence is a fundamental
component of collaboration.

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 259

Collaboration emerges as a function of the participants’ engagement in the
process and empowers them to create and own the process and outcomes. Barbara
Gray (1998) described the outcome of collaboration as “weaving together of mul-
tiple and diverse viewpoints into a mosaic replete with new insights and directions
for action agreed on by all the stakeholders” (p. 474). However, Gray acknowledged
that collaboration is not amenable to all situations, especially in cases where parties
are unwilling or unable to engage each other in this manner. Concerns about pos-
sible cooptation, distributional disputes, and lack of fairness may prevent parties
from coming together unless these issues can be dispelled prior to initiating the col-
laboration process.

Mediator Practices

Gerzon (2006) synthesized his and other colleagues’ mediator practices into
eight tools for leading through conflict:

1. Integral vision: committing ourselves to hold all sides of the conflict, in all
their complexity, in our minds—and in our hearts.

2. Systems thinking: identifying all (or as many as possible) of the significant
elements related to the conflict situation and understanding the relationships
between these elements.

3. Presence: applying all our mental, emotional, and spiritual resources to wit-
nessing the conflict of which we are now a part.

4. Inquiry: asking questions that elicit essential information about the conflict
that is vital to understanding how to transform it.

5. Conscious conversation: becoming aware of our full range of choices about
how we speak and listen.

6. Dialogue: communicating in order to catalyze the human capacity for bridg-
ing and innovation.

7. Bridging: building partnerships and alliances that cross the borders that
divide an organization or a community.

8. Innovation: fostering social or entrepreneurial breakthroughs that create new
options for moving through conflicts. (p. 7)

The challenge for actors in the change process is to create “a vision of what is
possible”—that is, to imagine a situation where the conflict has been transformed—
then hold on to that vision throughout the process (Gerzon, 2006, p. 225). The result
of leading in this manner could well produce substantial conflict capital.

Systemic Change

Peter Senge and colleagues (Senge, Lichtenstein, Kaeufer, Bradbury, & Carroll,
2007) conducted research focused on several change initiatives where cross-sector


groups sought collaborative solutions to sustainability issues (social and ecological
imbalances created by globalization). Researchers found three interconnected types
of work involved in collaboration for systemic change—conceptual, making sense
of complex issues; relational, far-reaching, unorchestrated dialogue for thinking,
learning, and asking questions together; and action driven, building new change
initiatives together (p. 45). Senge et al. (2007) summarized the lessons learned from
work in these three areas. Lessons from the conceptual work include the following:

• Build community through thinking together and sharing. When conceptual
frameworks are developed collaboratively, the process builds community and
fosters more extended application and testing;

• Achieve simplicity without reduction. Clarity must not come at the expense
of oversimplification and trivialization of complex issues. (p. 47)

Lessons from the relational work include the following:

• Dialogue groups emerge from deep question and longings. Participants
shape their collective futures in “conversations that matter” while recogniz-
ing and engaging powerful questions seriously in a spirit of dialogue and
joint exploration;

• Nurturing relational space can be systematic and purposeful. Provide free
space for participants to simply explore what emerges and encourage them to
bring specific methods to the group (personal check-ins or basic principles of
dialogue) out of which initiatives will self-organize;

• Once it is recognized and legitimized, deepening relational space also infuses
results-oriented work. Effective relational work encourages diverging conver-
sations, asks difficult questions and helps confront dysfunctional practices
and attitudes—practices that benefit action-oriented work. (pp. 48–49)

Lessons from the action-oriented work include the following:

• It can take significant time to bring together the diversity of players needed
for effective collaborative action. A common principle for all system-change
processes is that the people who are present should represent all aspects and
stakeholders of the processes;

• Systems thinking is essential for change, but it also can be messy and uncom-
fortable. Systems thinking can help to clarify interdependencies and complex
change dynamics; and, at the same time, seeing systems togethermeans allow-
ing for different, sometimes conflicting views;

• Radical methods are needed for collaborative action work. New approaches
for organizing complex change processes and for large scale dialogue like the
World Café—a process for leading collaborative dialogue and knowledge
sharing, particularly for large groups—will also be needed. (pp. 50–51)

The practices that foster collaborative work for systemic change seem promising
for actors involved in leading global change similar to the sustainability initiative

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 261

portrayed by Senge and colleagues (2007). Specifically, these practices appear to
support the potential components of global leadership described earlier, including
transcending, inclusive, and generative elements.

Ethical Practices

Three practices relate to Attfield’s (2006) proposed global ethic of cosmopolitan
consequentialism and global cooperation—reciprocal care, harmony with nature
and sustainability, and scenario building. First, reciprocal care—to create commu-
nities where every person matters and each person’s welfare and dignity is respected
and supported (see Chapter 4)—seems most relevant to the moral framework of
cosmopolitanism. Allen et al. (1998) designated several leadership practices to
implement reciprocal care:

• developing trusting relationships;
• attending to the well-being (basic needs and human rights) of others and
providing opportunities for them to sustain themselves;

• supporting basic freedom for others and providing opportunities for them to
maintain freedom for themselves; and

• maintaining opportunities for people to make choices for themselves that are
not harmful to others, and honoring the choices they make. (p. 57)

In a global context, these leadership practices seemingly support a cosmopolitan
ethic in which each person is of equal moral concern and should be taken equally
into account.
The second practice—promoting harmony with nature and thereby providing

sustainability for future generations (Allen et al., 1998, p. 56)—relates to Attfield’s
(2006) moral concern for a biocentric perspective that values the good in human
and nonhuman lives including the lives of future generations. The following spe-
cific components are included in this practice:

• understanding the interdependent relationship between human and natural
systems and working to enhance their viability;

• practicing “enoughness” (bigger or more is not always better);
• achieving balance in emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of life;
• using a long-term perspective thereby creating viability for current and
future generations;

• generating and supporting systems thinking (wholistic thinking) as a basis
for action;

• facilitating self-organizing, self-regulating, and self-renewing systems;
• using natural conflict to foster growth and change;
• recognizing and promoting the spiritual connectedness of all life; and
• generating and sustaining peace among ourselves and aiding peace efforts
globally. (Allen et al., 1998, p. 56)


The third practice, scenario building, relates to Attfield’s (2006) consequen-
tialism component, particularly with regard to foreseeable consequences and
foreseeable omissions. As indicated in Chapter 4, scenario building is a practice
championed by Schwartz (1996) to help actors in leadership processes use infor-
mation gathered from scanning the environment (physical and human) to con-
struct probable situations and outcomes. Participants identify central questions,
rank and weigh environmental forces and uncertainties that are most significant
to the questions, and plot several probable scenarios. Actors make decisions and
take action based on early indicators of movement toward or away from a desir-
able scenario, while keeping plans flexible and adjustable. Among other things,
this practice is intended to identify and respond to foreseeable consequences and

Risks and Side Effects of Boundary Crossing

Jens Martens (2007) explained that boundary-crossing initiatives and global
partnerships among government, business, and civil society are held up as a way of
achieving what governments and organizations such as the United Nations cannot
manage alone (p. 4). However, he offered several cautions about potential risks and
side effects of these relationships. Global leaders and stakeholders from all sectors
can benefit from carefully examining these issues even though Martens directed his
advice to UN officials:

• Growing influence of the business sector in the political discourse and agenda
setting. Critics fear that partnership initiatives allow transnational corpora-
tions and their interest groups growing influence over agenda setting and
political decision making by governments.

• Risks to reputation: choosing the wrong partner. This can have ethical reper-
cussions for participants in the group if one partner is accused of violating
environmental, social, or human rights standards.

• Distorting competition and the pretence of representativeness. When public-
private partnerships grant exclusive rights for certain projects to the private
partners, these companies receive advantages over others in opening up
markets, gaining access to governments, and enhancing their image.
Representativeness can be distorted if the initiating partners, rather than the
respective stakeholder groups, nominate representatives to the body.

• Proliferation of partnership initiatives and fragmentation of global governance.
The explosive growth in partnerships can lead to isolated solutions, which are
poorly coordinated and contribute to the institutional weakening of other
transnational governance organizations.

• Unstable financing—a threat to the sufficient provision of public goods. If the
provision of public goods becomes increasingly privatized, governments will
become dependent on voluntary and ultimately unpredictable channels of
financing through benevolent individuals.

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 263

• Dubious complementarity—governments escape responsibility. Instead of
considering partnership initiatives as complementary to intergovernmental
processes, they are often promoted as replacements for intergovernmental

• Selectivity in partnerships—governance gaps remain. If partnerships only select
and focus on fixing problems that can result in relatively quick wins (i.e., vac-
cination programs), long-term structural problems such as building up a
health system or overcoming gender inequality are only peripherally touched.

• Trends toward elite models of global governance—weakening of representative
democracy. The special political and legal position occupied legitimately by
public bodies (governments and parliaments) are set aside or compromised
when partnerships give all participating actors equal rights. (pp. 5–6)

These cautions do not suggest that global initiatives and partnerships should be
discontinued. They do imply that considerable work needs to be done to develop
and assess systematic approaches to these initiatives and that criteria need to be
established to “ensure that long-term interests of the public are not damaged by the
particular partnership initiative” (Martens, 2007, p. 6).


The Chad-Cameroon pipeline vignette is a poignant example of the challenges
inherent in leading global change. It demonstrates how different concepts and prac-
tices of economic development and change shape circumstances and alter lives in a
global context. The pipeline vignette further illustrates how different perspectives
and worldviews cause people to think about and experience the problems and
opportunities of global development initiatives in different ways. The worldviews
of stakeholders influence their understanding of religion, politics, economics, and
social interactions in ways that significantly affect how they define problems and
identify possible solutions. The purpose of leadership in this context is to help the
human community work together to address large-scale issues that affect the qual-
ity of life for people across nations and cultures.
Currently, actors from multiple sectors, cultures, and nations are meeting, part-

nering, and conflicting in this ever-changing, boundary-crossing environment.
Though there is much promise in the global arena, there are many unanswered
questions and problems. How does leadership function to address “the whole” in
situations like the Chad-Cameroon pipeline vignette? In others words, what kind of
leadership is required to understand the connections among issues surrounding the
problems and what actions are needed to initiate and convene the stakeholders?
What kind of leadership is required to understand the consequences of inaction? If
stakeholders do convene, what leadership processes should the group use to ensure
that all stakeholders are represented to define the problem, build relationships,
address conflict, and find solutions? These and other questions signal a stimulating
era ahead for scholars and practitioners of global leadership. The work is just begin-
ning despite the fact that global initiatives and partnerships continue to flourish.


Application and Reflection

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 265

Looming Water Crisis:
Is the World Running Out of Water?

By Peter Behr


In the past decade drought has marched across much of the globe, hitting China, the
Mediterranean, southeast Australia and the U.S. Sun Belt. The amount of water used by
humans has tripled since 1950, and irrigated cropland has doubled. About one-fifth of the
world’s population lacks sufficient water, a figure that could reach 40% by 2025 by some
estimates, in part because of growing world economies. In the poorest societies more than a
billion people lack access to clean water, and dirty water kills 5,000 children—enough to fill
12 jumbo jets—every day. By century’s end drought is expected to spread across half the
Earth’s land surface due to climate change, causing hunger and higher food prices. The United
Nations says it would cost an extra $10 billion or more annually to provide clean water and
sanitation for all. Some recommend privatizing water supplies, while others suggest that
charging more for water to encourage conservation would help to avoid future crises.


As 2007 came to a close, the steady drumbeat of headlines about China’s worst drought in
a half-century affirmed Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s earlier warning that the crisis threatens
“the survival of the Chinese nation.”1

The alarming developments included:

• The drying up of 133 reservoirs in burgeoning Guangdong Province, leaving a quarter of a
million people facing water shortages.2

• The lowest levels since 1866 on portions of the Yangtze River, restricting barge and ship
traffic and reducing hydroelectric output on China’s largest river, even as pollution from
9,000 industrial plants along its course jeopardizes drinking water supplies.3

• Near-record low levels in vast Lake Poyang, restricting water supplies for 100,000 people.4

“My house used to be by the side of the lake,” villager Yu Wenchang told the Xinhua
News Agency. “Now I have to go over a dozen kilometers away to get to the lake water.”5

Similar woes are being reported across the globe, as one of the worst decades of drought
on record afflicts rich and poor nations alike. While scientists hedge their conclusions
about whether long-term climate change is causing the dry spell, many warn that Earth’s
gradual warming trend unquestionably poses a growing threat to water supplies and food


Appl i ca t ion



production in arid regions. Already, population growth and economic expansion are straining
water supplies in many places, particularly in the poorest nations. But despite an unending
series of international water conferences—attended by thousands of experts—no
consensus has emerged on how to make adequate clean water available to all people in
affordable, environmentally sustainable ways.6

A fifth of the world’s population—1.2 billion people—live in areas experiencing
“physical water scarcity,” or insufficient supplies for everyone’s demands, according to a
2006 study by the International Water Management Institute that draws on the work of 700
scientists and experts. Another 1 billion face “economic scarcity,” in which “human capacity
or financial resources” cannot provide adequate water, the report found.7

While drought and expanding populations visibly affect the world’s lakes and rivers, a
less-visible problem also threatens water supplies. Accelerated pumping of groundwater for
irrigation is depleting underground aquifers faster than they can be refreshed in densely
populated areas of North China, India and Mexico. And land and water resources there and
beyond are being degraded through erosion, pollution, salination, nutrient depletion and
seawater intrusion, according to the institute.

A United Nations task force on water predicted that by 2025, 3 billion people will face
“water stress” conditions, lacking enough water to meet all human and environmental
needs.8 By that time, there will be 63 major river basins with populations of at least
10 million, of which 47 are either already water-stressed, will become stressed or will
experience a significant deterioration in water supply, according to a separate study by the
World Resources Institute incorporating the U.N. data.9

As water depletion accelerates, drought is undermining nature’s capacity to replenish this
essential resource, punishing the planet’s midsection—from eastern Australia and northern
China through the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. Sun Belt, the Great Plains
and northern Mexico.

In the United States, chronic alarms over depleted water resources in the Southwestern
states have spread to the Southeast. The water level in giant Lake Sidney Lanier outside
Atlanta has dropped about a dozen feet in this decade, causing an intense struggle among
Georgia and neighboring Alabama and Florida over rights to the lake’s diminished flows.10

And drought conditions worldwide are likely to worsen as the effects of climate change
are felt, many scientists warn.11 Climate change is expected to expand and intensify drought
in traditionally dry regions and disrupt water flows from the world’s mountain snowcaps and

Finally, a new threat to global water supplies has emerged: terrorism. “The chance that
terrorists will strike at water systems is real,” said Peter H. Gleick, president of the Pacific
Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security in Oakland, Calif.12 Modern
public water systems are designed to protect users from biological agents and toxins,
but deliberate contamination by terrorists could kill or sicken thousands, he said. Since the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks most major U.S. cities have sent the federal government
confidential reports on the vulnerability of local water supplies, and the Environmental
Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Sentinel Initiative is designing a water-contamination
warning system.13

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 267

Perhaps the grimmest long-range prediction on water availability was issued by the Met
Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in London. Using supercomputer
modeling, the center projected that if current trends continue, by this century’s end drought
will have spread across half the Earth’s land surface due to climate change, threatening
millions of lives. Moreover, “extreme drought”—which makes traditional agriculture
virtually impossible—will affect about a third of the planet, according to the group’s
November 2006 report.

“Even though (globally) total rainfall will increase as the climate warms, the proportion
of land in drought is projected to rise throughout the 21st century,” the report said.14

“There’s almost no aspect of life in the developing countries that these predictions don’t
undermine—the ability to grow food, the ability to have a safe sanitation system, the
availability of water,” said Andrew Simms, policy director of the liberal London-based New
Economics Foundation.15 The consequences will be most dire for the planet’s poorest
inhabitants, he added. “For hundreds of millions of people for whom getting through the day
is already a struggle, this is going to push them over the precipice.”

Access to safe, fresh water separates the well off—who can treat water as if it were air—
from the world’s poorest, who hoard it like gold. In the United States, the average consumer
uses nearly 160 gallons of water per day, summoned by the twist of a faucet. In much of
Africa, women often trudge for hours to and from wells, carrying the two to five gallons per
person used by the typical person in sub-Saharan Africa.16

But the lack of clean water is not only inconvenient. It can also be deadly. Each year
1.8 million children—5,000 per day—die from waterborne illnesses such as diarrhea,
according to the United Nations. “That’s equivalent to 12 full jumbo jets crashing every
day,” said U.N. water expert Brian Appleton. “If 12 full jumbo jets were crashing every day,
the world would want to do something about it—they would want to find out why it was

Policymakers are trying various ways to solve the global water challenge, including
contracting with private firms to operate urban water and sanitary systems, adopting new
conservation technologies, enacting multination pacts to manage regional watersheds and
increasing funds for water projects in the world’s poorest regions. Water experts advocate
“environmental flow” policies—the release of enough water from dams to sustain the
environment of rivers, wetlands and underground aquifers.18

And their efforts seem to be paying off—at least in some areas. Between 1990 and 2002,
more than 1 billion people in the developing world gained access to fresh water and basic
sanitation. But because of population growth, the total number of people still lacking safe
water remained more than a billion, and there was no change in the number lacking basic

In 2003, the U.N. General Assembly designated the period from 2005 to 2015 as the
International Decade for Action on “Water for Life.” And the U.N.’s new Millennium
Development Goals include a campaign to cut in half by 2015 the proportion of people
without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation—at a cost of more
than $10 billion per year.20 Currently, governments and international agencies like the U.N.
and World Bank provide only $4 billion a year in aid for water and sanitation projects.21




“We will see these issues play out silently: dry rivers, dead deltas, destocked
fisheries, depleted springs and wells,” wrote Margaret Carley-Carlson, chairwoman of
the Global Water Partnership in Stockholm, and M. S. Swaminathan, president of the
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs in Chennai, India.22 “We will also
see famine; increased and sometimes violent competition for water, especially within
states; more migration; and environmental devastation with fires, dust, and new plagues
and blights.”

Averting that future will require fundamental changes in governmental policies and
human practices governing the use, conservation, and value of water, experts agree.

As water experts and policymakers discuss how to conserve and protect future water
supplies, here are some of the questions they are debating:

Are We Running Out of Water?

Amid the growing alarm about water shortages, water expert Frank Rijsberman offers a
contrarian perspective. “The world is far from running out of water,” he says. “There is land
and human resources and water enough to grow food and provide drinking water for

The issue is how efficiently water is used, says Rijsberman, former director of the
International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Every year, about 110,000
cubic kilometers of rain falls on Earth’s surface, of which humans withdraw just over
3%—about 3,700 cubic kilometers—from rivers and groundwater to use in cities, industries
and farming. About 40,000 cubic kilometers flows into rivers and is absorbed into
groundwater, and the rest evaporates.

Much of the water used by humans is returned to watersheds as wastewater, farm runoff
or discharges from energy and industrial plants, with only a small fraction used for drinking
and cooking.24 Irrigation claims 70% of total water withdrawals, 22% is used by industry
and the rest goes for homes, personal and municipal uses.25

Water isn’t running out everywhere, said Canadian journalist Marq de Villiers, author of
Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource. “It’s only running out in places where it’s
needed most. It’s an allocation, supply, and management problem.”26

It’s also a demand problem: Over the past half century, millions of people have migrated
from colder, wetter, northern climates to warmer, drier, southern locales such as the
American Southwest or southern France, putting new pressure on those expanding “Sun
Belt” communities to build irrigation systems, tap into groundwater supplies, or rechannel
large amounts of river water.

Experts agree that the world should not be facing an overall water-scarcity crisis. But
water supplies in much of Africa, parts of China, southern Europe, northern Mexico and the
American Southwest and high plains aren’t meeting demand, and climate change may be
accelerating the problem, the experts say.27 The issues add up to what the World Commission
on Water calls the “gloomy arithmetic of water.”28

In addition, man has transformed most of the world’s great rivers. For example, the
Danube—Central Europe’s “lifeline”—has been dredged, deepened, straightened,

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 269

channelized, and obstructed by dams and fishing weirs. It is now “a manufactured
waterway,” says de Villiers, with more than a third of its volume withdrawn for human use,
compared to an average of about 10% for other rivers.29

Pollution is also reducing the world’s supply of potable water. In Asia, many rivers “are
dead or dying,” according to Rijsberman. The Musi River near India’s Hyderabad technology
center has become “a dwindling black wastewater stream,” he writes. “[Y]et the cows that
produce the curd and the dairy products for Hyderabad are bathing in that black and
stinking water.”30 In China, 265 billion gallons of raw sewage is dumped into the Yangtze
River every year.31

The depletion and despoiling of the world’s reservoirs, rivers and watersheds also
contribute to the problem. During the 20th century, more than half the wetlands in parts of
Australia, Europe, New Zealand and North America were destroyed by population growth
and development. The loss of wetlands increases water runoff, which exacerbates flooding,
reduces the replenishment of aquifers and leaves rivers and lakes more vulnerable to

Aquifers—the immense storehouses of water found beneath the Earth’s surface—are
the largest and fastest-growing source of irrigation water. Depleting those underground
rivers will have deleterious effects on the 40% of the planet’s agricultural output that
relies on irrigation from groundwater.33 Experts say some of that water—which dates
back to past ice ages—would take eons to refresh but is being consumed in less than a

“Large areas of China, South Asia and the Middle East are now maintaining irrigation
through unsustainable mining of groundwater or over-extraction from rivers,” said the U.N.
“Human Development Report 2006.”34 The problem is widespread in Mexico, India and
Russia, as well, although precise data are not available for many countries.35

In his seminal 1986 book Cadillac Desert, the late Marc Reisner warned about the long-
term effects of water policies in the Western United States, including the depletion of the
giant Ogallala Aquifer, which runs southward from South Dakota to Texas. It has two
distinctions, he wrote, “one of being the largest discrete aquifer in the world, the other of
being the fastest-disappearing aquifer in the world.”36

In the 1930s a farmer on the Great Plains could raise a few gallons per minute from the
Ogallala, using a windmill-driven pump. After the New Deal brought electricity to the region
and oil and gas discoveries provided plenty of cheap fuel, electric pumps raised 800 gallons
per minute.

“All of a sudden, irrigation became very energy and labor-efficient. You turn on the switch
and let it run,” says Robert M. Hirsch, associate director for water at the U.S. Geological
Survey. “There was an explosion of irrigated agriculture, particularly on the high plains, and
in California.”

In 1937, West Texas had 1,116 irrigation wells. Thirty years later it had 27,983. By 1977,
Texas was withdrawing 11 billion gallons of groundwater a day to grow corn, cotton and
other crops in what once had been part of the Great American Desert, Reisner wrote.37

Now, experts say the Ogallala—a resource that could have lasted hundreds of years—
will be virtually depleted within the lifetimes of today’s farmers.




Yet during the optimism and opportunism that characterized development of the modern
American West, worries about future water supplies evaporated. “What are you going to do
with all that water?” the late Felix Sparks, former head of the Colorado Water Conservation
Board, asked in the mid-1980s. “When we use it up, we’ll just have to get water from
somewhere else.” But today, “somewhere else” is not an answer, say authors Robin Clarke,
editor of climate publications for the United Nations and World Meteorological
Organization, and environmental author Jannet King. The co-authors of The Water Atlas
insist water must be considered a finite resource.38

Should Water Be Privatized?

In 2000, street fighting broke out between government forces and political activists, rural
cocoa farmers and residents of shantytowns on the hilly outskirts of Cochabamba—Bolivia’s
third-largest city. The dispute was over privatization of the city’s water supplies.

The year before, Cochabamba had turned its water and sanitation system over to Aguas
del Tunari, a coalition of multinational and Bolivian water and engineering corporations
whose biggest stakeholder was Bechtel Corp., based in San Francisco.39 This was the high-
water mark of a global, pro-market movement toward deregulation and privatization of
state-owned monopolies in water, electricity and other services.40 The World Bank and other
international lenders had been supporting privatization strategies in hopes that investments
and better management by private industry would help bring water and sanitation to more
than a billion poor people whose governments couldn’t or wouldn’t do the job.

But Cochabamba’s privatization included a costly dam and pipeline to import more water,
which required sharp rate increases starting at 35%. Some customers’ water bills doubled.
Farmers outside the city, who had enjoyed free water, suddenly had to pay. The city erupted
in protest, the water company’s officials fled and their contract was rescinded.41 The
government reclaimed the water operations, and Cochabamba became a rallying cry against
privatization and globalization for the political left.

Elsewhere, however, corporate involvement in water and sanitation system operations
has not ceased. Veolia Water, a subsidiary of the French firm Veolia Environment SA—the
world’s largest water-services firm—signed a $3.8 billion, 30-year contract in 2007 to
supply drinking water to 3 million residents of the Chinese river port city of Tianjin. Since
1997, Veolia has signed more than 20 water and sanitation contracts in China, and supplies
more than 110 million people in 57 countries worldwide.42

These projects, and smaller-scale versions in poorer nations, suggest that while the
inflamed debate over water privatization continues, threats of water scarcity and climate
change may help accelerate the search for private sector support. The percentage of the
world’s population served at some level by private firms has grown from 5% in 1999 to
11%—or 707 million people—in 2007, according to Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook, a
widely consulted summary of private-sector water projects.43

Opponents of privatization argue that safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are
essential human rights, obligating governments to provide them at affordable rates or free if

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 271

necessary. “If it’s a human need, it can be delivered by the private sector on a for-profit basis.
If it’s a human right, that’s different,” says Canadian anti-globalization activist Maude
Barlow, co-author of Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water. “You
can’t really charge for a human right; you can’t trade it or deny it to someone because they
don’t have money.”44

Bringing in private firms to run water and sewer operations does not make the services
more efficient or affordable, opponents also argue, but forces the poor to pay for corporate
profits, shareholder dividends and high executive salaries. “The efficiencies don’t happen,”
asserts Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, a Washington anti-
globalization group. “The companies simply lay off staff members until they don’t have
enough people to take care of the infrastructure. And they raise rates. We’ve seen this all
over the world.” Last year Hauter’s organization issued a study claiming privatized water
operations in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York charged more for water than
comparable publicly owned systems.45

Privatization advocates dispute Hauter’s claims, and facts to settle the issue are illusive.
A 2005 survey by the AEI-Brookings Center for Regulatory studies found “no systematic
empirical evidence comparing public and private water systems in the United States.”46

A study by the Inter-American Development Bank of water rates in Colombia said prices
charged by privatized systems were not significantly different from those charged by
public systems.47 And privatization appears to have improved water quality in urban areas
but not in rural communities, said the study. After privatization began, water bills for the
poor rose about 10% but declined for the wealthy, reflecting a scaling back in government
subsidies to poorer consumers. Similar shifts occurred in both privatized and non-
privatized cities.48

In central cities, water-rate subsidies tend to favor the wealthy and middle classes, who
are usually connected to municipal water systems, while the poor often are not, says
American journalist Diane Raines Ward, author of Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly, and the
Politics of Thirst. And by keeping water rates artificially low, utilities typically collect only
about a third of their actual costs, so they don’t raise enough money to expand pipelines to
unserved poor neighborhoods, she says.49

The rural poor or those living in urban slums often must haul water home from public
wells or buy it from independent merchants—delivered by truck or burro—at much higher
prices. In Cairo, Egypt, for instance, the poor pay 40 times the real cost of delivery; in
Karachi, Pakistan, the figure is 83 times; and in parts of Haiti, 100 times, Ward says.

In the years since Cochabamba galvanized the left against privatizing water, privatization
has declined in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa but increased in Europe and Asia,
according to the Water Yearbook.50 The average contract size also has diminished since the
1990s, it said, due to a trend away from mega-contracts with multinational water companies
in favor of “local and possibly less contentious contracts.”51

A U.N.-sponsored analysis cites Chile and parts of Colombia among the successful
examples of collaborative water and sanitation services. In Cartagena, Colombia’s fifth-
largest city, the local government retains control of the pipes and facilities and raises




investment capital, but a private firm runs the service. Today, nearly all the city’s residents
have water in their homes, up from only one-quarter in 1995.52 Chile’s water program offers
subsidies to the poorest households, guaranteeing an essential minimum of supply of up to
4,000 gallons per month. Deliveries are monitored to limit cheating, and every household
must have a water meter to verify usage.53

Experts say the political problems of water privatization cannot be managed without
effective government regulation and consumer involvement at all levels. Both elements were
missing in Cochabamba but are present in Chile, the U.N. report says.54

Will Water Scarcity Lead to Conflicts?

In 1995 Ismail Serageldin, a World Bank vice president, predicted that “the wars of the next
century will be over water.”55

The reality has been different thus far. “Water resources are rarely the sole source of
conflict, and indeed, water is frequently a source of cooperation,” writes Gleick, of the
Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security, in the new edition of
The World’s Water 2006–2007.56 The survey of reported conflicts over water in the past
50 years, compiled by Oregon State University researchers, found 37 cases of violence
between nations, all but seven in the Middle East.57

In 1964, Israel opened its massive National Water Carrier canal to carry water from the
Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River to its farms and cities. Syria retaliated to maintain its
access to the Jordan by starting two canals to divert Jordan flows for its uses. Skirmishes by
military units and raids by the newly established al-Fatah forces escalated until Israeli air
strikes halted the diversion projects. By then, Israel and the Arab League were on the road
to the Six-Day War of 1967.58

“The attacks by Syria, Egypt, and Jordan that eventually followed had many causes, but
water remained a priority for both sides,” says author Ward.59

Still, more than 200 water treaties have been negotiated peacefully over the past half-
century. The Partition of India in 1947, for instance, could have led to war between India and
newly created Pakistan over control of the mighty Indus River basin. Instead, the two nations
were brought together with World Bank support over a perilous decade of negotiations, signing
the Indus Water Treaty in 1960. Three rivers were given to Pakistan, and three to India, with a
stream of international financial support for dams and canals in both countries. Even when war
raged between the two nations in later years, they never attacked water infrastructure.60

“Most peoples and even nations are hesitant to deny life’s most basic necessity to
others,” Ward wrote. Two modern exceptions occurred during the Bosnian War (1992–1996),
when Serbs “lay waiting to shoot men, women and children arriving at riverbanks or taps
around Sarajevo carrying buckets or bottles,” and during Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq,
when he diverted the lower waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to destroy the homes
and livelihood of the Marsh Arabs.61

Except for such instances, cooperation over water resources is common today, even if
sometimes grudging and incomplete, says Undala Alam, a professor and specialist in water
diplomacy at Britain’s Cranfield University. “Turkey was releasing water for Syria and Iraq;

CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 273

the Nile countries are preparing projects jointly to develop the river; the Niger countries have
a shared vision for the basin’s development, and the Zambezi countries are working within
the Southern African Development Community,” she notes.62

But analysts warn that growing stress on water supplies, coupled with the impact of
climate change, will create combustible conditions in the coming years that will undermine
collaboration over water.

There is plenty of precedence for the concern, notes Gleick, who describes the history of
violence over fresh water as “long and distressing.”63 The latest volume of The World’s Water
lists 22 pages of historical water conflicts—beginning in about 1700 B.C. with the
Sumerians’ efforts to dam the Tigris River to block retreating rebels.

In the future, climate change is expected to extend and intensify drought in Earth’s driest
regions and disrupt normal water flows from mountain snowcaps in Europe, North America
and Central Asia. “Climate change has the potential to exacerbate tensions over water as
precipitation patterns change, declining by as much as 60% in some areas,” warned a recent
report by a panel of retired U.S. generals and admirals convened by CNA, a think tank with
longstanding ties to the military. “The potential for escalating tensions, economic disruption
and armed conflict is great,” said the report, “National Security and the Threat of Climate

On the simplest level, the report said, climate change “has the potential to create
sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale far beyond those we see today.”
Already, it said, Darfur, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon and Western
Sahara have all been hit hard by tensions that can be traced in part to environmental
causes.65 If the drought continues, the report said, more people will leave their homelands,
increasing migration pressures within Africa and into Europe.66

The impact will be especially acute in the Middle East, where about two-thirds of the
inhabitants depend on water sources outside their borders. Water remains a potential
flashpoint between the Israelis and Palestinians, who lack established rights to the Jordan
River and receive only about 10% of the water used by Israel’s West Bank settlers.67 “Only
Egypt, Iran, and Turkey have abundant fresh water resources,” the CNA report said.

The military advisers urged the United States to take a stronger national and
international role in stabilizing climate change and to create global partnerships to help
less-developed nations confront climate impacts.68

Currently, there is only a weak international foundation for water collaboration,
according to the U.N. Human Development report. While a 1997 U.N. convention lays out
principles for cooperation, only 14 nations have signed it, and it has no workable
enforcement mechanism. In 55 years, the International Court of Justice has decided only one
case involving international rivers.69

It is possible, however, that as the awareness of climate impacts on water supplies
deepens, so will the urgency for governments to respond. “Unlike the challenges that we are
used to dealing with, these will come upon us extremely slowly, but come they will, and they
will be grinding and inexorable,” said former Vice Adm. Richard H. Truly, a former astronaut
who headed the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and served as
a CNA consultant.70 “They will affect every nation, and all simultaneously.”





1. Charles C. Mann, “The Rise of Big Water,” Vanity Fair, May 2007; Reuters, “China Drought
Threatens Water Supply for Millions,” March 28, 2007.

2. Xinhua News Agency, “Drought Leaves Nearly 250,000 Short of Drinking Water in
Guangdong,” People’s Daily Online, December 13, 2007,

3. Jonathan Watts, “Dry, Polluted, Plagued by Rats: The Crisis in China’s Greatest Yangtze River,”
The Guardian (Britain), January 17, 2008,

4. Xinhua News Agency, “Climate Change Blamed as Drought Hits 100,000 at China’s Largest
Freshwater Lake,” People’s Daily Online, December 14, 2007,

5. Chris O’Brien, “Global Warming Hits China,”, January 6, 2008,

6. Peter H. Gleick, “Time to Rethink Large International Water Meetings,” The World’s Water
2006–2007 (Island Press) 182;

7. David Molden, “Summary,” in Water for Food, Water for Life: A Comprehensive Assessment of
Water Management in Agriculture, ed. David Molden, 10 (International Water Management Institute); .

8. See United Nations Development Programme, “Summary,” in Human Development Report
2006: Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis,” ed. United Nations Development
Programme, 26, .

9. Carmen Revenga and others, “Executive Summary,” in Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems:
Freshwater Systems, ed. World Resources Institute, 4, 26 (World Resources Institute, 2000),

10. Stacy Shelton, “Lake Lanier Hits Lowest Point Since Its Construction,” The Atlanta-Journal
Constitution, November 19, 2007,
lanierlowweb_1120.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab; for background, see Mary H. Cooper,
“Water Shortages,” CQ Researcher, August 1, 2003, 649–672.

11. M. Falkenmark and others, “On the Verge of a New Water Scarcity: A Call for Good Governance
and Human Ingenuity,” in Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) Policy Brief, 2007, 17; for
background, see Colin Woodard, “Curbing Climate Change,” CQ Global Researcher, February 2007,

12. “Water and Terrorism,” in The World’s Water 2006–2007, op. cit., 1.
13. Environmental Protection Agency, “Water Sentinel Initiative,”

pubs/water_sentinel_factsheet .
14. Met Office Hadley Centre, “Effects of Climate Change in Developing Countries,” November

2006, 2–3, ; Michael
McCarthy, “The Century of Drought,” The Independent (London), October 4, 2006, 1.

15. McCarthy, ibid., 1.
16. World Water Council.
17. Quoted in “Billions Without Clean Water,” March 14, 2000, BBC,


CHAPTER 10 Global Change Context 275

18. David Katz, “Going with the Flow,” The World’s Water 2006–2007, op. cit., 30–39.
19. Data Table 5, Access to Water Supply and Sanitation by Region, The World’s Water 2006–2007,

op. cit., 258.
20. “Synthesis of the 4th World Water Forum,” August 2006, 23–24, www.worldwaterforum4 ; for background on Millennium Development Goals, see and “U.N. Fact Sheet on Water and Sanitation,” 2006,

21. “Human Development Report 2006,” op. cit., 8,
22. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, “Issues in Science and Technology,” transcript, September 22,

23. Frank Rijsberman, Charlotte Fraiture, and David Molden, “Water Scarcity: The Food Factor,” in

Issues in Science and Technology, June 22, 2007.
24. Ibid.
25. Sharon P. Nappier, Robert S. Lawrence, and Kellogg J. Schwab, “Dangerous Waters,” Natural

History, November 2007, 48.
26. Marq de Villiers, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource (1999), 267.
27. “World Hit by Water Shortage,” Birmingham Post, August 21, 2006, 10, http://icbirmingham

28. “Water Resources Sector Strategy, Strategic Directions for World Bank Engagement,” World
Bank, 2004, 5,
000090341_20040601150257/Rendered/PDF/28114 .

29. de Villiers, op. cit., 176–177.
30. Frank R. Rijsberman, “1st Asia-Pacific Water Summit,” MaximsNews Network, October 8,

31. Diane Raines Ward, Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly and the Politics of Thirst (2002), 171.
32. Nappier et al., op. cit.
33. “Human Development Report,” op. cit., 176; see also Meena Palaniappan, Emily Lee, and

Andrea Samulon, “Environmental Justice and Water,” The World’s Water 2006–2007, op. cit., 125.
34. “Human Development Report,” ibid.
35. Palaniappan et al., op. cit.
36. Marc Reisner, Cadillac Desert, the American West and its Disappearing Water (1986), 10.
37. Ibid., 437.
38. Ibid., 10–11; see also Robin Clarke and Jannet King, The Water Atlas (2004).
39. “Approaches to Private Participation in Water Services,” World Bank, 2006, 213.
40. Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy

41. Juan Forero, “Multinational Is Ousted, but Local Ills Persist,” The New York Times, December

15, 2005, 1; see also Public Citizen, “Water Privatization Case Study: Cochabamba, Bolivia,” 1–2,; and Bechtel Corporation, “Cochabamba and the
Aquas del Tunari Consortium,” .

42. Xinhua News Agency, “European Environment Giant Veolia to Increase Investment in China to
$2.5 Billion by 2013,” November 1, 2007.




43. Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook 2007–2008, xii,
1976627452 .

44. Quoted in Jeff Fleischer, “Blue Gold: An Interview with Maude Barlow,” Mother Jones, January
14, 2005,

45. “Economic Failures of Private Water Systems,” Food and Water Watch, December 2007, .

46. Scott Wallsten and Katrina Kosec, “Public or Private Drinking Water?” AEI-Brookings Joint
Center for Regulatory Studies, March 2005, 2, 7,

47. Felipe Barrera-Osorio and Mauricio Olivera, “Does Society Win or Lose as a Result of
Privatization?” in Inter-American Development Bank, Research Network Working Paper #R-525, March
2007, 19.

48. Ibid., 21.
49. Ward, op. cit., 206–207.
50. Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook, op. cit., 3.
51. Ibid., 5.
52. Paul Constance, “The Day that Water Ran Uphill,” ed. IDB America, Inter-American

Development Bank, December 9, 2007,
53. “Human Development Report,” op. cit., 92.
54. Ibid., 179; Ward, op. cit., 210.
55. Malcolm Scully, “The Politics of Running Out of Water,” The Chronicle of Higher Education,

November 17, 2000.
56. Peter H. Gleick, “Environment and Security,” The World’s Water 2006–2007, op. cit., 189.
57. “Human Development Report,” op. cit., 221.
58. Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (2001), 303–304.
59. Ward, op. cit., 174.
60. Ibid., 85.
61. Ibid., 192.
62. Undala Alam, letter to the Financial Times, April 1, 2006, 6; see also www.transboundarywaters .
63. Gleick, “Environment and Security,” op. cit., 189.
64. CNA Corporation, Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), 3, http://securityandclimate
65. Ibid., 20.
66. Ibid., 22.
67. “Human Development Report,” op. cit., 216; Clarke and King, op. cit., 79.
68. Ibid., 47.
69. “Human Development Report,” op. cit., 218.
70. CNA, op. cit., 14.

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