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Equality, Diversity and Leadership: Different journeys, variegated landscapes


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Title: Equality, Diversity and Leadership: Different journeys, variegated landscapes

Equality, Diversity and Leadership Different
journeys, variegated landscapes
  • Helen Rodgers, Michael Frearson, Rick Holden,
    Jeff Gold
  • Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan
  • Learning and Skills Research Centre
  • Email h.rodgers_at_leedsmet.ac.uk

International Comparator contexts Work package
  • Exploring organisational practices and research
    on leadership and its development and diversity
    in the education, health and public
    administration services across several

Research Aim
  • To establish the current state of knowledge about
    effective leadership behaviours and their
    development in education, health, local
    government and public administration both today
    and in the coming decades.

Research Methodology
  • Central Question
  • What can research tell us about the contribution
    of diversity in the types and styles of leader,
    and how can we learn from different ways of
    practising leadership in terms of gender,
    ethnicity, disability and age?

Research sample
  • In total 104 contacts were made across the three
    sectors with varying response rates.
  • Out of this contact 36 case examples were drawn
    upon in detail for reporting purposes.

Key issues.
  • Archetypes and Stereotypes affect the way in
    leadership which is performed, accepted and
    taught to others in organisations.
  • Conscious and subconscious exclusionary practice
    in organisations persists
  • Ambiguity of terms - equality and diversity
    present key challenges to organisations

Equality AND Diversity?
  • An incongruity of terms
  • (Bentley and Clayton, 1998 Winstanley and
    Woodall, 2000)
  • Sound business sense
  • (Kandola and Fullerton, 1998)
  • Moral rightness
  • (Singh, 2002, Griffin, 2002)

  • The concept of diversity is complex and has
    different meanings for different people in
    different contexts. (Singh, 20023)
  • Diversity is not about removing our prejudices
    only about recognising them and questioning then
    before we act. (Cabinet Office Diversity
    Website, 2002)
  • The advance of technology and spread of markets
    globalisation is the new reality against which
    diversity is developing. (Schneider, 200127)

  • differences resulting from age, gender, race,
    ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation,
    capabilities and disabilities, socio-economic
  • George Jones (2005, p15)

Equality and Diversity? Challenges.
  • Fairness and Justice challenge
  • Recognising and responding to sameness and
    difference simultaneously.
  • Flexibility Challenge
  • Customising equality and diversity within
    idiosyncratic practice
  • Decision making challenge
  • Organisational demography affecting
    organisational outcomes.
  • George and Jones (2005)

Critiques of the equality through diversity
  • Emphasis on difference between individuals
    weakens the ties/links that people have through
    common experience that provides the impetus for
    action (Cockburn, 1989, 1991).
  • Diversity can also offer a haven of protection
    for employers by providing an alibi for
    avoiding the responsibility of addressing the
    unfairness experienced by employees (Overell,
  • justified exclusion (Webb, 1997).
  • Inequality, is seen as a private issue (EOC,

Leaders are key
  • In helping to tackle current under representation
    of diverse groups at senior levels.
  • (Singh, 2002)
  • In constructing clarity and parameters within
    which diversity will flourish
  • (Schneider, 2001)
  • In linking strategy with appropriate values to
    achieve organisational objectives
  • (Dass and Parker, 1998 Singh, 2002)

Developments in Leadership Ideas
Styles and behaviour
New Leadership
Contingent style
Landscapes of leadership
  • The leadership landscape is gendered as a result
    of the different journeys and routes followed by
    male and females throughout their employment.
  • (Applebaum, Audet and Miller, 2003)
  • Essentially, the plethora of variables involved
    in leading make claims for, and of effective
    leadership behaviour difficult to substantiate
    empirically yet the call for more effective
    leadership persists
  • (James, 2001)
  • The range of roles and skills required by leaders
    in public sector organisations is not only
    different but more demanding than in the private
    sector (Forde et al, 2001).

Research Observations
  • Many leadership development programmes are
    prescriptive, formal training programmes aimed at
    those already in senior positions.
  • Sustaining traditional stereotypes of what it is
    to be a leader.
  • Issues around opportunity and progression of
    diverse others into areas of leadership.
  • Few tackle issues of equality, diversity and
    diversity management head on. Those that do use
    the filter of cross cultural issues or one
    off sensitivity programmes.

Equality, Diversity and Leadership?
  • Women hold less than 10 of senior positions in
    FTSE 100, Police, Judiciary and Trade Unions.
  • (EOC, 2003)
  • Black staff in FE sector are concentrated in
    lower echelons.
  • (CBSFE, 2002)
  • Glass ceiling for gay, lesbian and bi-sexual
    staff in UK universities
  • (AUT, 2001)

Patterns emerging?
  • A complex mix of

Organisational ethos
Leadership Process
Structuring knowledge
Organisational Ethos
  • National College for School Leadership
  • Beyond Hero Leadership Participative and
    Collaborative approaches to leadership (Harris
    Mujis, 2002 Harris and Chapman, 2002 Lambert,
  • Leadership capacity resides with the whole school
    (King, 2002).
  • Australian Principals Associations Professional
    Development Council
  • Dare to Lead Programme.
  • The Kings Fund
  • Athena Programme

Leadership Process
  • Traditional Approaches
  • Australian Principals Centre
  • American Council of Education
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Alternative Approaches
  • National College for School Leadership

Structuring Knowledge
  • Establishing joint learning and shared
    understanding within and across organisations.
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities.
  • Kings Fund
  • Centre for Management and Policy Studies
  • Public Service Leaders Scheme - collaborative
    scheme across 4 areas of the public sector,
    (Cabinet Office, Police, IDeA and the NHS)
  • Diversity Programmes awareness and sensitivity
    training, emotional intelligence and managing
    bullying and harassment

Leadership (re)framed
  • Individual thinking cannot be understood
    independently of the context or practice in which
    it occurs. ……the interdependence between
    individuals and context provides for a
    distribution of understanding across a situation
    composed of others actors, artefacts, documents
    and tools.
  • Spillane et al (2001)
  • Emphasis is on leadership as interaction between
    these features rather than a single leader with
    abilities, skills, competencies or charisma.

The future?
  • Work Packages 2 and 3 are underway.
  • Fluidity and shift in cultural consciousness
    require us to reframe and explore associations of
    sameness and difference on a much wider basis
    than those presented and legislated for.
  • Two challenging issues for current leadership are
    - to create the space for fluidity and shift in
    negotiated employment relationships.
  • - to open up a variety of pathways and tracks in
    the development of human capacity.

I am not expected to make an awesome speech…They
are all motivated….(they) dont follow me. If I
wasnt there, they wouldnt scratch their heads
and go, What do we do now??….Having said that,
you can sometimes feel that they are not quite
ready. There are always days when the team is
flat….I think the skill is getting your message
across in the fewest possible words. Youve got
to cut the crap…. The real motivation is that I
am playing for these guys on the pitch.
Martin Johnson, England Rugby Captain, 5 October
Synergistic Leadership Theory
Organisation Structure Rotates Leadership. Uses
expertise of members not rank. Has consensually
derived goals. Values Members. Rewards
professional development. Relies on informal
communication. Disperses Power. Promotes
Community. Promotes nurturing and caring.
Promotes empowerment. Has many rules. Has
separate tasks and roles. Maintains a tall
hierarchy. Initiates few changes.
Leadership Behaviour Autocratic. Delegator.
Collaborator. Communicator. Task-oriented.
Risk-taker. Relational. Nurturer. Controller.
Stabiliser Intuitive.
External Forces Perceptions/Expectations of
Supervisor/Colleagues/Community. Local state and
national. Regulations. Resources. Location.
Culture of Community. Socio economic status.
Language/Ethnic Groups. Political/Special
Interest Group.
Beliefs, Attitudes, Values Importance of
professional growth. Openness to change/diversity
. Adherence to tradition. Collegial support.
Importance of character, ethics, integrity.
Importance of programs for at risk/gifted
students. Role of teachers/learners. Purpose of
school. Role of teachers/administrators.
Importance of employee well-being
Irby et al 2000
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