🔖 PRESENTATION

Paper (parallel)

📆  DATE

Thursday 10 Sep 2020

⏰  MELBOURNE TIME

7.00 – 9.00 pm

⏰  LOCAL TIME

UTC code

Dr Vega Zagier

Dr Vega Zagier

Consultant, UK

Vega works as an organisational and role consultant, and a consultancy/coaching practice supervisor. Her special interests are developing leadership at all levels of an organisation through enabling people to challenge the self-limiting assumptions that can get in the way of learning and innovation, and building collaboration between teams and organisations. She is an associate of Tavistock Consulting and of OPUS (Organisation for Promoting Understanding of Society), and teaches on the Tavistock/University of Essex masters and doctoral programmes in Consulting and Leading. From 2005–2014 she was a Senior Organisational Analyst at the Grubb Institute of Behavioural Studies where she co-directed the masters Organisation Analysis: Freedom to Make a Difference.

⏰  DURATION

120 minutes

Values, hard choices, and leadership in an anxious world

The first part of this paper focuses on organisational values. In both the public and corporate sectors, values statements abound. These statements are easy to dismiss as mere rhetoric or ‘spin’. However, often there is a genuine commitment from ‘the top’ of the organisation to develop a values statement that is meaningful and ‘lived’ in practice, and there are many instances where considerable effort is put into a participatory process for achieving this. Both the process and the results of such efforts are highly variable. Some produce statements too anodyne to have any traction; others become prescripts for required behaviours, one more performance target to be met. But sometimes the values become the foundation on which everything from policies and executive decisions to front-line practice is built. A number of case-studies to explore what makes the difference suggest that a significant element may be whether the starting point is internal (what kind of organisation do we want to be?) or external (what kind of organisation does the world need for us to be?).

In the second part of the paper, the focus shifts to leadership, particularly the leadership challenge of helping people to face ‘hard choices’ or dilemmas without regressing to splitting to avoid these. Drawing on concepts such as ‘negative capability’, ‘wicked problems’, and ‘perverse social structures’, and on the Grubb Institute’s ‘Transforming Experience Framework’, this section explores how values might serve as organising principles in situations of great anxiety. In the concluding part of the paper, we move from the organisational to the societal arena, looking at the national values of different countries to consider the gap between these espoused values and the choices that leaders and led make.

References:
French, R., Simpson, P. and Harvey, C. (2009) Negative capability: A contribution to the understanding of creative leadership. In: Sievers, B., Brunning, H., De Gooijer, J. and Gould, L.,(eds.) (Psychoanalytic Studies of Organizations: Contributions from the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations. Karnac Books.
Grint, K. (2005) ‘Problems, problems, problems: the social construction of ‘leadership’’, Human Relations 58(11):1467-1494.
Hampden-Turner, C. (1990) Charting the Corporate Mind: From Dilemma to Strategy. Basil Blackwell.
Heifetz, R. (1994) Leadership Without Easy Answers. Bellknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Henderson, E. (2014) ‘Inspirational leadership: Hitler and Gandhi’ in Brunning, H. (ed.) Psychoanalytic Essays on Power and Vulnerability. Karnace Books.
Hoggett, P. (2010) ‘Perverse social structures’, Journal of Psycho-Social Studies, 4.1: 57-64.
Long, S. (2016) Transforming Experience in Organisations. Karnac Books.
Sullivan, W., Sullivan, R., Buffton, B. (2001) ‘Aligning individual and organisational values to support change’. J of Change Management 2,3: 247-254.

 

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Session schedule

5 MINS

Introduction by Dr Wendy Harding

30 MINS

Paper presentation

15 MINS

Small group discussion; impressions of the paper and developing questions for the presenter

15 MINS

Discussion forum with the presenter; moderated for the speaker to elaborate their ideas

15 MINS

Small group activity or discussion ‘What does this paper tell us about working into the future?’

15 MINS

Discussion forum with the presenter; themes from the discussions

25 MINS

Whole Symposium across the papers reflections on the sessions

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Parallel Paper Presentations

The following are presenting at this time

Dr Nuala Dent

DR NUALA DENT

Social defenses in the time of coronavirus

Richard Morgan-Jones

MR RICHARD MORGAN-JONES

Work Force Health: Consulting and Research

Kirstin Schneider

MS KIRSTIN SCHNEIDER

The Hidden Intangible Revolution: Emerging implications of intangible-rich economies on organisations and business ecosystems

Jon Stokes

MR JON STOKES

Leadership for the 4th Industrial Revolution: from Ego to Eco

Vega Zagier

DR VEGA ZAGEIR

Values, hard choices, and leadership in an anxious world

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