The reluctant creative leader

This week I’m on editing duty.  I have a literature review that is over 13,500 words that really needs to be done under 11,000.  Kill your darlings time.

But mentally I’m already moving forward onto my first data chapters.  I’m thinking out loud her on whether I take an issues based approach or a data analysis approach.  The latter is more a case of

  1. Presentation of data
  2. Compare and contrast case studies
  3. Discussion of results.

And while this feels well structured it also feels like a quantitative approach.

Given my research is about the social construction of leadership identity and how that is reflected in the narratives of my subjects it makes more sense to me to take an issues based approach, where I use my data to tell a story.

I’m planning on discussing with with my supervisor Friday and as of next Monday we start writing.  This is the big month.  Once I get this first data chapter locked down I feel that a) I’m be ready to present stage two and b) I’ll be really on my way toward the finish line.  Of course the fact I need three issues to discuss, not one, is weighing on me.  I don’t really feel as strongly about the other emerging themes as I do about the reluctant leader.

So what is the reluctant creative leader?

In this first issue chapter I want to explore the answers my 9 emerging leaders gave to the question “Are you a leader?”  Those who’ve read this blog for a while know that almost none of the nine answered the question straight out, only one said an unequivocal yes. The rest said versions of “yes, but…” or “not yet” or “no”.

My exploration of this issue then will relate these narratives back to four questions:

  1. How are they demonstrating reluctance?
  2. What leadership theories are they alluding to in their narratives? i.e. what does their answer tell me about what they think leadership is.
  3. How does their answer relate to development they’ve undertaken? Is there a relationship between participation in leadership development, either through interventions or communities of practice and a willingness to be seen as a leader?
  4. How do their answers relate to identity theories? Is this just a ‘stage’ they are going through in line with leader identity theory? Are they critically rejecting constructed notions of leadership? Is this a case of comparison to exemplars or others?

I think there’s enough in there to create a fairly weighty chapter.  What I think I need to be considering though are the claims and conclusions in line with Martin Hammersley’s framework discussed here.

Without giving the game away, and having not yet written anything, I’m thinking about the the reluctant creative leader is one that rejects the notion of leadership based on the socially constructed definition they see reflected in their organisational experience and media representations. But reluctance extends to only the wearing of the label, not the doing of leadership, and in doing so they are constructing their own versions of what a leader is.

I’m excited about this though, I’ve been building up the data chapters in my head as some sort of insurmountable task, the moment I really prove that I’m not up to this.  But by using a systematic approach I think I can argue something worthwhile.

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One thought on “The reluctant creative leader

  1. Pingback: Research statement de ja vu | PhD 2017

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