ERIC Number: ED375492
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Making Common Sense. Leadership As Meaning-Making in a Community of Practice.
Drath, Wilfred H.; Palus, Charles J.
Leadership has traditionally been viewed as a process of social influence. This paper presents an alternative perspective, which views leadership as a social meaning-making process that occurs in groups of people who are engaged in some activity together. It uses the constructivist perspective to describe how people construct their own personal experiences, as well as how people construct their experiences together. Instead of referring to leadership as a social-influence process in which individuals induce others to engage in an activity or work, the paper regards leadership as a meaning-making process in a community of practice. In communities of practice, the leadership process begins to develop when individual members develop psychologically, when new forms of practice are created, and when organizational structures change. Young supervisors and managers may need to learn the individual skills of leadership, and later learn the community-oriented meaning-making capacities, such as: (1) the capacity to understand oneself as both an individual and as a socially embedded being; (2) the capacity to understand systems in general as mutually related, interacting, and continually changing; (3) the capacity to take the perspective of another; and (4) the capacity to engage in dialogue. (LMI)
Descriptors: Administrator Effectiveness, Administrator Role, Leadership, Leadership Styles, Management Development, Organizational Communication, Social Theories
Center for Creative Leadership, P.O. Box 26300, One Leadership Place, Greensboro, NC 27438-6300.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC.