An ethnographic account of leadership, power and change

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Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Citation only.

Gordon, R. (2011). An ethnographic account of leadership, power and change. Journal of management science, 2, 1-15.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 150311, 150310

© Copyright ICBM, 2011




The paper provides a genealogical account of a police organization’s attempt to implement what senior officers in its behavioural change division described as a dispersed leadership (Bryman, 1996; Gordon, 2002) strategy. I describe the organization and provide a detailed account of the dynamics that emerge as groups and individuals who historically held positions of power found themselves reporting to one of many designated leaders. The account depicts how the organization’s dispersion of leadership, while on the surface represents a new and successful endeavour, is rendered problematic by the organization’s historical constitution of power.

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This document has been peer reviewed.