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Co-Charismatic Leadership

Critical Perspectives on Spirituality, Ethics and Leadership


Simon Robinson and Jonathan Smith

Current theories of leadership, spirituality and ethics are inadequate for the global, rapidly changing and complex environment in which leaders work today. Emerging from this book’s critical analysis comes a new theory of leadership: co-charismatic leadership. This does not mean leadership focused in ‘charisma’, or the special qualities or charm of an individual. Charisma originates from the Greek word for gift or grace. Rather it emphasises the relational nature of charisma, as both shared throughout the community and dependent upon mutual relationships within the community. The charismata are in effect virtues, to be practised in the community by all members, hence the ‘co’ in the title.
The authors argue for a leadership that enables virtues, informed by the ongoing narrative of and dialogue in the community, to be practised in the community and beyond. These virtues enable the practice of responsibility, and taking that responsibility for ideas, values and practice is itself central to leadership. Through the practice of responsibility everybody in the organisation becomes a leader in some way. The task of the authorised leader is to enable all this.
This book will appeal to both practitioner and academic audiences alike as it provides an engaging mix of theory and practical application which tests and applies the concepts explored in a range of practical case studies.
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Chapter Six: Spirituality and management



Spirituality and management

To this point we have focused on spirituality and leadership. In this chapter we explore management and spirituality, and how this relates to leadership and governance. We begin with a critical examination of recent attempts to focus management in value and significant meaning, in particular with the Harvard Business School Manager’s Oath. We note similar rituals that attempt to give an account of spiritual and moral meaning through ritual, not least in the profession of engineering. This raises questions about the identity of management and we begin to examine the differences between management and leadership. In particular we examine the views of MacIntyre and Bauman, that management focuses not on core values but instrumentality and institutional sustainability. We are argue against this polarisation, and suggest that management is both based in value and that its represents one amongst several narratives in any organisation, noting a case from Higher Education. We then look more closely at management as a profession, with both positive and negative aspects and the need for leadership to maintain the dialogue between the different narratives holistically. We end with an examination of governance and how this holds in tension the different narratives.

Manager’s Oath

PREAMBLE: As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can build alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise...

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