"I have a dream": Two Leadership Perspectives on a Civil Rights Icon

Year: 2018

Author: English, Fenwick

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Traditional leadership studies have been challenged by alternative perspectives that call into question basic assumptions regarding the concept of leadership as problematic and unable to proide the conceptual clarity and scientific rigor to make significant inroads in improving educational administration (Eacott, 2015; 2018; Evers, 2012; Lakomski and Evers, 2017).This presentation will examine the life of the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (Sokol, 2018) from the dominant leadership perspective and then from a different vantage point of the emerging relational view of leadership (Alvesson and Sveningsson, 2012).The purpose of the comparisons of the two perspectives is to ask which perspective explains more about the phenomenon of leadership, provides for new or novel interpretations of it, and promotes the basis for a more accurate and expanded understanding of its complexity within context and culture. Using a real case history of a civil rights icon who won international recognition for what is often considered a monolithic accomplishment, King will then be examined as a "relational subject" which "refers to individual and collective social subjects in that they are 'relationally constituted', that is, inasmuch as they generate emergent properties and powers through their social relations" (Donati and Archer, 2015,p. 58). Three levels of analysis will be viewed: micro as between individuals; meso as between social associations and organizations, and macro, the citizen/state relationship.ReferencesAlvesson, M. and Sveningsson, S. (2012). Unpacking and re-packing leadership: Context, relations, constructions and politics. In M. Uhl-Bien and S.M. Ospina (Eds.) Advancing Relational leadership Research: A Dialogue Among Perspectives (pp. 203-225). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publications.Donati, S. (2015) and Archer, M.S. (2015). The Relational Subject. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Eacott, S. (2015). Educational Leadership Relationally: A Theory and Methodology for Educational Leadership, Managemtn and Administration. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Eacott, S. (2018). Beyond Leadership: A Relational Approach to Organizational Theory in Education. Singapore: Springer.Evers, C.W. (2012). Organizational contexts for lifelong learning: Individual and collective learning configurations. In D.N. Aspin, J.D. Chapman, K.R. Evans and R.I. Bagnall (Eds.) Second International Handbook for Lifelong Learning (pp.61-76). Dordrecht: Springer.Lakomski, G. and Evers, C.W. (2017). Challenging leadership: The Issues. In G. Lakomski, S. Eacott and C.W. Evers (Eds.) Questioning Leadership: New Directions for Educational Organizations (pp. 3-16). London: Routledge.Sokol, J. (2018). The Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Basic Books.