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Date / Heure
Date(s) - 15 septembre 2016
12 h 15 min - 14 h 00 min


Barbara Simpson
Professor of Leadership and Organisational Dynamics
Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow

Salle/room: CPA du Québec


Leadership-as-practice (L-a-P) is a relative newcomer to the leadership literature, having first surfaced less than a decade ago as a response to the already flourishing field of strategy-as-practice. The central focus of L-a-P is not the exceptional individual as in more conventional leadership theory, but rather the ordinary doings of ordinary people as they co-establish directions for their work together. It offers a creative, inherently social, and profoundly democratic alternative to the leader-centric orientations that still dominate the leadership field. In doing so, it invites re-scoping, re-theorizing, and re-languaging of leadership while also calling for more sophisticated methodologies to connect with the complex movements of ongoing social practice. In this seminar, I explore the performative implications of leadership talk for both theory and empirical research in L-a-P. My argument is informed by the process philosophy of the American Pragmatists, especially Charles Sanders Peirce, George Herbert Mead and John Dewey, and also by John Austin’s linguistic pragmatics. I draw on verbatim data from the regular weekly meetings of a senior management team to illustrate the performative dynamics of leadership talk.


Barbara Simpson is Professor of Leadership and Organisational Dynamics at Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow. Her PhD in Management, which was awarded by the University of Auckland in 1998, marked a sea change from her earlier career as a physics-trained geothermal scientist. Nevertheless, traces of this past experience remain evident in her work today, which brings the principles of action, flow, and movement to bear on the processes of creativity, innovation, leadership and change. She has pursued these interests in diverse organizational settings including hi-tech businesses, professional firms, public utilities, arts companies, SMEs and micro-enterprises. Her work has appeared in journals including Organization Studies, Human Relations, Organization, R&D Management, and Journal of Management Inquiry, and she has co-edited ‘The emergence of novelty in organizations’, a book published by Oxford University Press.