Appraise the Value of Leadership
OLB 7004, Assignment 6
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Rosa Cassell
18 February 2018
Organizational Disruption – Scenario One
This scenario analyzes organizational disruption in the United Methodist Church in the form of an ongoing and heated debate regarding issues of gender and sexual identity within the denomination. In particular, an article published in The Wichita Eagle by Katherine Burgess entitled, “Could LGBT debate split Methodists? Some say it’s already happening.”, and the information reported in that article provides the information utilized in this examination (Burgess, 2017).
In dealing with this issue, the leadership of the United Methodist Church has taken the approach of delaying any action in an effort to become better informed about not only the decision, but also the impact on the decision on existing church documents. Burgess reports that the denomination leadership of the United Methodist Church has voted to commission a study on the Book of Discipline, and delayed a vote unitl such a study was completed. Burgess (2017) reported that “In May 2016, General Conference delegates voted 428-405 to accept the recommendation of the Council of Bishops to delay a debate on homosexuality and let a commission instead study the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s governing document” (Burgess, 2017).
One leadership approach to this particular issue of organizational disruption is to encourage and facilitate “employee reflexivity” (Carmeli et al, 2013). Reflexivity is a process of individual self-reflection in an effort to think innovatively and creatively about unique situations in an effort to discover new and better solutions. Carmeli et al (2013) suggests that “organizations should invest considerable effort in facilitating employee reflexivity, such that people can engage in information-processing activities that have the potential to enhance the capacity for creative problem-solving”. Investing in such endeavors leadership “facilitates the development of employees’ creative problem-solving capacity by shaping a climate of psychological safety conducive to reflexivity process” (Carmeli et al, 2013).
In this situation, the denominational leadership of the United Methodist Church should seize the initiative in this disruption process not only to study the Book of Discipline, but to facilitate processes with and amongst those individuals most closely impacted by this disruptive issue. The end result may still be division, which is what Burgess reports that many in the church fear is an inevitable result, but there will be a process in which all those affected by the outcome have been given an opportunity to think through the process themselves.
Hardy, Ness, & Mecca (2017) discuss this process and the creativity and innovation that are created, released, and implemented as a result of the facilitating of such a reflexive process by leadership. They conclude that “curiosity contributes to creative performance” (Hardy, Ness, & Mecca, 2017). While the United Methodist Church is not looking to encourage performance in an objective, measurable standard (such as units produced on an assembly line in a given amount of time), they are, nonetheless, hoping to produce something in their effort to find a meaningful solution to this disruption.
This process could be accomplished by splitting districts up into smaller groups, with each group being assigned a facilitator by the denomination. This facilitator would then meet periodically at regular intervals with the group to encourage this process. There would be a series of “prompting” questions for discussion amongst the group at each meeting. The groups, with input from each individual within the group, would then produce a recommendation for the denomination which would, ideally, influence the final decision of the leadership body of the United Methodist Church.
This process of “collective leadership” would allow and encourage input from all participants, while still leaving a focal burden on the denominational leadership to address this disruption (Friedrich, Vessey, Chuelke, Ruark and Mumford, 2009).
Organizational Disruption – Scenario Two
This scenario analyzes organizational disruption in the not-for-profit organization of “Doctors Without Borders” in the form of sexual misconduct by employees. Earlier this month, it was reported that “twenty-four cases of sexual abuse or harassment” were uncovered within the ranks of the organization and that “nineteen people were fired as a result (McCambridge, 2018). The article used in this examination comes from an article published in the journal Nonprofit Quarterly entitled, “Doctors Without Borders Says It Fired 19 Staff for Sexual Misconduct in 2017” (McCambridge, 2018).
One suspicion of the author is that the numbers were reported in an effort to be completely transparent for the purpose of preventing any funding loss. She says that, “[Doctors Without Borders] takes this step as Britain’s development minister considers possible prosecutions and a potential withdrawal of funding from other aid organizations that do not learn from Oxfam’s missteps” (McCambridge, 2018). At this point, the concrete steps taken by the leadership of Doctors Without Borders are simply to communicate to the public by reporting internal numbers. The rationale behind this purposeful communication, as noted in one report, is “to promote transparency” (Associated Press, 2018).
Much like the issue of negative organizational disruption within the United Methodist Church, this is an issue which, if not addressed properly, could lead to a much more serious and disruptive situation. However, unlike the issue with the United Methodist Church, Doctors Without Borders has already taken concrete steps to address this issue of organizational disruption within their ranks by firing those employees caught up in the disruption.
The leadership of Doctors Without Borders needs to not only communicate these issues and fire such employees, but they also need to initiate movements within the organization to bring about change. This could be in the form of corporate briefings, one-on-one conversations by leaders with their employees, or numerous other methodologies. The primary problem with this solution, however, is that, according to Higgs (2010), nearly three-quarters of change initiatives fail.
To increase the likelihood of their change initiatives succeeding, Doctors Without Borders should go through a process of “collective inclusioning” (Lysek, 2016). “Collective inclusioning is what leaders do to include everyone in their mission and vision without being selective to a few individuals” (Lysek, 2016). This reinforcement of mission and vision by the leadership is not only non-selective, but it also builds upon the values and strengths of the organization. Mather & Hess (2013) note that, in implementing collective inclusioning, leaders “must seek a way to connect to core values, which will provide energy and renewal in their own work so that they can translate this into their work with others”. This inclusioning process also builds upon what assets already exist within the organization in an effort to build upon existing strength and minimize or eliminate the weaknesses. After all, “leadership is not simply about solving problems, but about recognizing and leveraging organizational assets” (McKnight & Block, 2011). This leveraging of organizational assets combined with building upon values and organizational mission and vision will help to create the need for change within the existing culture and ensure the greatest chance of creating lasting change. This exercising of “collective leadership” creates a “dynamic process in which a defined leader, or set of leaders, selectively utilizes the skills and expertise within a network as the need arises” (Friedrich, Griffith, & Mumford, 2016).
If Doctors Without Borders can implement a change initiative within their existing culture to address the disruptive issue of sexual misconduct by implementing collective leadership which builds upon their existing values, mission, and vision, then they will be much more likely to not only communicate and address such a disruptive issue, but also use their existing assets to overcome and build upon this disruption.
Associated Press. (2018, February 15). Doctors Without Borders issue statement on sexual misconduct. Retrieved February 18, 2018 from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/15/doctors-without-borders-issue- statement-on-sexual-misconduct.html
Burgess, K. (2017, April 24). Could LGBT debate split Methodists? Some say it’s already happening. Retrieved February 18, 2018 from http://www.kansas.com/living/religion/article146517079.html
Carmeli, A., Sheaffer, Z., Binyamin, G., Reiter-Palmon, R., & Shimoni, T. (2013). Transformational Leadership and Creative Problem-Solving: The Mediating Role of Psychological Safety and Reflexivity. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 48(2), 115-135. doi:10.1002/jocb.43
Friedrich, T. L., Griffith, J. A., & Mumford, M. D. (2016). Collective leadership behaviors: Evaluating the leader, team network, and problem situation characteristics that influence their use. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(2), 312-333. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2016.02.004
Friedrich, T. L., Vessey, W. B., Schuelke, M. J., Ruark, G. A., & Mumford, M. D. (2009). A Framework for Understanding Collective Leadership: The Selective Utilization of Leader and Team Expertise within Networks. The Leadership Quarterly, 20, 933-958. doi:10.21236/ada544438
Hardy, J. H., Ness, A. M., & Mecca, J. (2017). Outside the box: Epistemic curiosity as a predictor of creative problem solving and creative performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 230-237. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.08.004
Higgs, M. “Change and its Leadership: The Role of Positive Emotions” In A. Linley, S. Harrington, and N. Garcea (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work (pp. 67-80). New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Lysek, M. (2016). “Collective Inclusioning: A Grounded Theory of a Bottom-Up Approach to Innovation and Leading”. The Grounded Theory Review, 15(1), 26- 44. Accessed February 18, 2018.
Mather, P. C., & Hess, M. (2013). Promoting positive leadership. New Directions for Student Services, 2013(143), 31-40. doi:10.1002/ss.20057
McCambridge, R. (2018, February 15). Doctors Without Borders Says It Fired 19 Staff for Sexual Misconduct in 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2018 from https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2018/02/15/doctors-without-borders-says-fired-19- staff-sexual-misconduct-2017/
McKnight, J., and Block, P. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2011.
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