Problems, leadership and language in use : A reflection on wicked issues

Murphy, Anne and Grint, Keith and Franco, Alberto (2015) Problems, leadership and language in use : A reflection on wicked issues. In: International Studying Leadership Conference (ISLC), 2015-12-13. (Unpublished)

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This paper presents a theoretical framework to further our understanding of leadership for Wicked Problems. We build upon the propositions developed by Grint (2005, 2010) and articulate a framework that highlights the central role of language in helping leaders tackle Wicked Problems. We provide a short overview of Grint’s propositions for leadership in Wicked Problems arguing that while there are a number of sophisticated theoretical approaches to analysing these kinds of phenomena there is little in the way of methods to facilitate their amelioration. This paper illustrates the potential utility in adopting a linguistic lens to further our understanding of leadership in wicked problem situations. As leadership is essentially a language-driven phenomenon (Fairhurst 2011; Fairhurst & Uhl Bien 2012), we then frame our analysis through this lens, and present a vignette drawn from our empirical work to illustrate the different elements of our conceptual framework. Our contribution is to show how leaders can raise their awareness of the interaction patterns they are engaged in and their role in that as leaders. We then offer a set of propositions to guide further research into, and to prompt reflective practice about, the use and role of language to support leadership in tackling Wicked Problems.

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Contribution to Conference (Paper)
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International Studying Leadership Conference (ISLC)
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22 Jan 2020 10:30
Last Modified:
08 Nov 2023 00:21