LILA ~ Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Leadership of emergence: How to generate new order?

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Lichtenstein shared four phases that occur when we create the conditions of emergence, each with leadership behaviors:


Dis-equilibrium organizing: pushing the system into a new pattern of action, outside of its norm. The leaders recognizes that it demands new energy from those involved.


Amplifying action: In which leaders encourage experiments and new ideas. This causes stress and intensity in members.  I wonder: Is the stress at multiple levels – cognitive, identity, process, etc.? How might we connect ideas from Michael Hogg and social identity theory to help navigate the uncertainty.


Recombination and self-organization: Leaders support the rearrangement of resources and components in order to generate new capacity.


Stabilizing feedback and resilience: leaders formalize and integrate new processes.


I wonder: at what level are these phases experienced by members? Are they objective or subjective? How unified or coherent are they experienced at various levels.    


I think: what strikes me is that this process is happening a different levels of analysis – macro (systems), meso (groups), micro (individuals). And the evidence of emergence and the tools may be different at the different levels. A leader must understand how emergence is occurring simultaneously at various levels and acting to support at all levels.

Harvard Graduate School of Education