This event is part of the RCLA Speaker Series, The Vanguard of Leadership: New Directions in Theory and Practice.

As the information revolution and globalization are changing the way we live and work, leadership scholars are challenged to identify frameworks for leadership appropriate to a connected and interdependent world. One area of research that helps meet this need is complexity leadership. Borrowing concepts from complexity science, complexity leadership research advances beyond traditional mechanistic and hierarchical assumptions to consider leadership processes that are dynamic, distributed, and generative. In the context of organizations, complexity leadership theory identifies new types of leadership roles, including enabling leadership, generative leadership and adaptive leadership, and describes these roles as entangled with administrative functions in organization to address adaptive needs of the organization.

This presentation will provide an overview of the emerging field of complexity leadership and then focus on complexity concepts that provide new insight to leadership, including complexity dynamics of interdependence, heterogeneity, dynamic interaction, and adaptive tension.

Mary Uhl-Bien, PhD, is the Howard Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership and Co-Director of the Institute for Innovative Leadership at the University of Nebraska. Her work has been published in leading journals and books, and she has received awards from The Leadership Quarterly for her article on complexity leadership and from the Southern Management Association for her work on implicit followership theories.