Author

Wendy Pierce

Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Leadership Studies

Abstract

Forward-looking leadership carries much more responsibility than in the past. Many organizations today are under fire to change with the times-and why not? We cannot afford to live within the fabulous fifties mindset that thrived under fantastical structures of bosses, middlemen, and elaborate pecking orders. The New York minute has quickly become the pacesetter for many of our industry leaders. Everything happens in a millisecond: email. faxes, and virtual offices have become the norm for American and international business endeavors. Today's competitive environment demands intense improvement in productivity, quality, and response time. In order to keep pace with instant gratification demands, organizations have responded by flattening hierarchy structures. Communication patterns have evolved into two-way pathways that extend into all levels in the chain-of-command. Establishing a leadership paradigm that best suits the needs of a given structure of an organization takes time, patience, and a " ... commitment to leadership." 1 The successful businesses of the future are those that utilize the entire workforce. 2 It is indeed a challenge for the American organization to succeed under today's demanding conditions.

As a student of leadership, it is a relatively common practice to notice, study, and observe leadership styles. However, when a student of leadership finds oneself in a position of leadership for the first time, it is a different perspective altogether. The impetus of this study was four years of learning about 'someone else's leadership theories." Recalling internship experiences, I combined leadership theory with leadership practice to develop a theory that I felt was one that could prove to be an exciting and useful process for the modem organization. Instead of developing what I all but promised to be a leadership paradigm to revolutionize the corporate world, I learned something of much greater importance within the realm of leadership study. It is this: Leadership is centered around many different theories and processes because no one law can account for the many different individual needs of corporate America. Perhaps reciprocal leadership will not go down in leadership texts as "a theory to end an leadership theories." Instead, this study represents a leadership process that reflects many different principles that in many different combinations can effect practical leadership for many different people in many different situations. Further analysis will provide greater insight to the practicality of Reciprocal Leadership, however, until then, the Reciprocal Leadership presented in this project provides a workable model with which organizations can begin to build a flattened, interactional, and dynamic corporate environment.

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