Presentation on theme: "Landscape of leadership: Narrating leadership through space and place Arja Ropo University of Tampere Finland."— Presentation transcript:
Landscape of leadership: Narrating leadership through space and place Arja Ropo University of Tampere Finland
Focus of the study and research questions Leadership narratives that people talk into being when describing the landscape of their organization How is leadership narrated by using spatial expressions? How does space construct and perform leadership?
Research on place and space in organizations: three streams Traditional, objective approach: physical environment from architectural and managerial perspective (Elsbach & Pratt, 2007) Subjectively oriented research on social space (Lefebvre, 1991; Hatch, 1997; Martin, 2002) Critical, post-stucturalist approach focusing on power and politics that space forms (Foucault, 1977; Dale & Burrell, 2008)
Shift of interest From an objective, managerial, and architectural approach, such as this is how it is planned and determined to work Toward understanding the symbolic meaning of physical spaces to social interaction, such as this is how it affects people, how people use and interpret it
Mutually constitutive relationship The shift problematizes the current classification of physical and social space drawing on Cartesian dualism. I assume that the physical structures precede and enable, shape and are shaped by social structures. This may bring forth new understandings of the relations of work, space, and leadership.
Relationship of leadership and space Leadership has been studied in various empirical settings and contxts, but space as such has not been conceptually treated. The same physical conditions produce different reactions (Elsbach & Pratt, 2007) Different spaces carry different leadership constructions. Leadership seen as felt experience rather than as cognitive influence between the manager and the subordinates
Two notions of leadership Leadership as a socially constructed phenomenon (Berger & Luckman, 1967) and as management of meaning (Smircich & Morgan, 1982) Leadership as an aesthetic, bodily phenomenon, as a sensing activity: Leadership occurs and is constructed not only in the intellectual minds, but also in and through the sensing and experiencing bodies (e.g., Hansen, Ropo, & Sauer, 2007; Ladkin, 2008; Ladkin & Taylor, 2010; Ropo & Parviainen, 2001; Sinclair, 2005)
The aesthetic orientation to leadership and space explores felt experiences, symbolic meanings and inherent power issues which spaces and places reflect and produce. Relationship between leadership and space is twofold: physical places form and shape leadership constructions and acted upon leadership produces social, experienced spaces. Physical places allow, enable, encourage, and constraint or hinder various leadership constructions and acted upon leadership practice.
Methodology and data Aesthetic epistemology legitimizes sense-based data, such as emotions, bodily sensations, intuitions,and mental representations (Strati, 2007) Narrative analysis Photographs on organizational spaces, written and oral descriptions of organisation members on how they feel the physical space as a place to work, interact, and as a place for leadership University department as a pilot study focus
Narrating leadership in a university department Shiny floors in a steel building Dynamic, modern, effective Sterile, clean, pure Two floors, symbolic hierarchies
Face book of some, but not of all
Where is leadership lurking? Can you see it, feel it, smell it? Behind the close doors In the hallways In faculty meetings In the coffee room In the department heads office
Aquarium – coffee room surrounded by windows The furniture, colors, and the overall style resemble the clinical atmosphere of the building Young researchers gather in the coffee room regularly The department chair never visits the upper level coffee room uninvited
There are rooms and there are ROOMS
People have different attachment to the their office space
Some preliminary observations of leadership and space Leadership is simultaneously hidden and overt Space performs leadership in a paradoxical way Space presents different affordances to leadership