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Complex Adaptive Leadership


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Table of Contents

Contents: Preface to the First and Second Editions. Part I The Context: A journey of discovery; The world wide context - a flow towards polyarchy; The organisational context - evolve or die; Finita la comedia - stop playing charades; A quick breather between Parts I and II. Part II Chaos and Complexity: Order in chaos, simplicity in complexity - the deeper paradox; Getting to grips with chaos and complexity; Getting chaos and complexity to work; A quick breather between Parts II and III. Part III The Leadership Angle: What is leadership anyway?; What about the followers?; Complex adaptive leadership in action; A final breather between Parts III and IV. Part IV Looking Forward and Other Interests: Beyond this book - the choices you have... Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Nick Obolensky has enjoyed a successful career in a number of roles, in the military, third sector, academia and in business, including those of Associate Director of a FTSE 100 firm, MBA Professor of the Year more than once, and CEO and Chairman of entrepreneurial start-ups. He is a Chartered Management Consultant and was an Executive Strategy Consultant at Ernst and Young, where he also led the Research Associate Practice. He has been a Fellow at the London Business School and was a Founder Fellow at The Centre for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK, Professor of Leadership at Nyenrode University in the Netherlands and a Visiting Professor at INSEAD in France. His work has been published by Kogan Page in several languages around the world as well as under the auspices of the University of Exeter Centre for Leadership Studies and the RSA.


Reviews of previous edition: 'Drawing upon a wide range of wisdom and ideas, from Lao Tzu to Lorenz and modern chaos theory, Obolensky brilliantly argues the case for organisations and their leaders to adapt to the complex, uncertain world of today and tomorrow. He also proffers excellent practical advice on how to do so.' Philip Sadler CBE, Vice-president, Ashridge Business School, Senior Fellow, Tomorrow's Company 'A true tour de force, in a class of its own from being well-grounded both in the science and in practical experiences.' Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and other books 'Chaos and order: the perpetual tension that drives and binds any organisation. What should leadership do - conserve order or inspire creativity and change? In this wonderfully clear, thorough and provocative book Obolensky describes leadership as a fusion of anarchy and oligarchy, and shows how things really get done - through polyarchy. This book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in understanding what is happening to authority, initiative and influence in contemporary organizations; leaders who value conceptual clarity about their predicament will find it invaluable.' Professor Jonathan Gosling, Centre for Leadership Studies, Exeter University, UK 'This book provides a novel, provocative and useful approach to leadership, which I have seen put to good use by Professor Obolensky with senior executives in London Business School's Centre for Management Development. Today, leaders have to be able to work in a complex and fast-changing environment, and to do this effectively means challenging a lot of the traditional assumptions about the nature of leadership. This book does a terrific job of introducing some new thinking about leadership, while also keeping the reader's feet firmly on the ground. You will enjoy the mind-stretching concepts, the witty anecdotes, and the practical advice Professor Obolensky offers up in this book.' Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic & International Management, London Business School 'So much of the research into leadership is old wine in new bottles. Obolensky's work, without doubt, represents ground-breaking thinking and offers significant new perspectives.' Mike Williams, author of Mastering Leadership '...a startlingly worthwhile read for a business manager keen to develop a practical understanding of different strategies with which to engage subordinates...a clever integration of ideas about leadership as well as a practical guide...an entertaining, highly readable, well set out and informative book.' Integral Leadership Review 'This would be an ideal text for a masters- or doctoral-level class on leadership and complexity...Obolensky's (2010) work is a marvelous resource that...also includes detailed and extensive footnotes, meticulous graphs, and practical questionnaires...which can be used by leaders to diagnose their organizations.Obolensky's research on chaos and complexity combined with leadership practice is thorough, detailed, and more than a little persuasive...his arguments are supported by sound research and a strong familiarity with organization dynamics...he manages to bring his research into practical organizational application...I would recommend [this] book to those graduate-level students of leadership who are seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which macro and micro currents of chaos and complexity are inviting continued organizational evolution and adaptive leadership. This book will also be a strong support to researchers and scholars.' Leadership and Organization Development Journal Vol 32, Issue 3

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