Lederuddannelser i et kompleksitetsteoretisk perspektiv

Edvard Terje Christian Apneseth & Ruth Gøjsen Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Managers tend to seek tools and techniques to handle challenging situations in their leadership praxis. This demand is fulfilled by business schools, consultancies and leadership development departments, all offering a range of management tools that promise a successful outcome if used correctly. In Tools and techniques of leadership and management: meeting the challenge of complexity (2012), Ralph Stacey challenges the demand for more tools on the basis that in general the tools are context free and are not able to match the complexity of the specific situations in which they are applied. That leaves us with a question of how to handle leadership development, if we consider Stacey’s critique. The research question of this master thesis is: Which constraints and possibilities of the phenomenon leadership development are shown from three cases, in the view of Stacey’s Complex Responsive Processes of Relating (CRP)? Through document analysis and interviews we found 7 central themes (The good leader, Theory and tools, Language, Time, Effect, Transfer and The ultimate leadership development course), which we juxtaposed with CRP in order to find the answer to our research question. We found that the transfer of knowledge from the leadership development programs to the leaders’ own praxis is difficult; time pressure is a burden for all the interviewees, both in regard to preparation for the course and for the following transfer of knowledge. Only one of the course providers takes this into account when designing the course. Furthermore the courses tend to provide the leaders with a theoretical language that can constrain the transfer of knowledge because of the level of abstraction from the leader’s own context. From Stacey’s viewpoint we see possibilities for leadership development to move closer to the leader’s own context, specifically by allowing an expert leader to mentor the leader in everyday situations. The point of this would be to develop the leader’s ability to lead and make decisions based on experience as well as the ability to recognize patterns of interaction in the organization. In short, to develop what Stacey refers to as practical judgement.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages288