Thinking with Heidegger : an ethnography of the place of leadership

Sharp, R 2019, Thinking with Heidegger : an ethnography of the place of leadership , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis raises the issue of place within leadership studies. It argues that critical approaches to leadership have paid insufficient attention to the spatial turn in the humanities, overlooking an important angle of critique. It highlights the inevitability of spatial assumption in theorising leadership, arguing certain spatial assumptions prop up heroic leadership theories. Additionally, it shows how the differing concepts of the self in Critical Theory and poststructuralism raise the question: what exactly is being emancipated? These issues are addressed by entering the spatial turn through a reading of Heidegger to develop a robust ontology of place, the self, and a deeper understanding of how place emerges. Using some of his more recently translated and published work, the thesis shows how space and place are driving elements of his thinking. Place is defined as the meaningful presence of space and a framework for analysing space is developed. The thesis draws off Heidegger’s work to develop an organisational ethnography to explore how leaders guide others through space and become place-makers. This enables an applied reading of Heidegger’s corpus through an interpretive ethnography of an organisation, providing a place centred analysis of leadership. As a result, the research challenges assumptions about the space in which leadership occurs, and the ontological status of leadership, to then undermine heroic conceptions of leadership at a spatial level. It argues leadership can be understood as the process of guiding others through organisational space by becoming place-makers. The ethnography identifies eight modes of guiding and five key place creating themes. Consequently, the research contributes to leadership studies by highlighting the centrality of place in leadership and outlines how leaders might become more effective guides by developing their spatial awareness. It contributes to Critical Leadership Studies by providing a robust ontology of place to critique heroic approaches from, an understanding of the self as embedded in place but able to be emancipated, and a practical introduction to how leaders can become place-makers who help emancipate others by enabling authentic dwelling.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Chang, K (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Depositing User: R SHARP
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2022 15:00
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 02:30

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