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Leaders and participants can transform from many processes and ascribe a variety of interpretations to the meaning of a transformation, as in Kafka's Metamorphosis. In biology, we are all familiar with caterpillars turning into butterflies or tadpoles into frogs, those same frogs that, in folklore, shape shift into princes by enchantment. In folklore, additionally, once can be born a shape shifter and be transformed by natural forces, or shape shifters can be sorcerers of witches who have the ability to change at will (Yolen, 1986). In twenty-first-century reality television, for example, we see stars shape shift into dancers, "ugly ducklings" change into "swans," and common singers transform into idols. As we see evidence of allusions or illusions of transformation all around us, we hold that leadership for transformation is especially important. As Burns notes, "To transform something is to cause a metamorphosis in form or structure, a change in the very condition or nature of a thing, a change into another substance, a radical change in outward form or inner character" (Burns, 2003, p.24).
Jepson School of Leadership Studies
Barbour, JoAnn Danelo., and Gill Robinson. Hickman, eds. Leadership for Transformation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.