Title: Power relations and complex organisational development

Authors: Pieter S.J. Avenant; Kurt A. April; B.K.G. Peters

Addresses: Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Breakwater Campus, Portswood Road, Greenpoint, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa ' Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Breakwater Campus, Portswood Road, Greenpoint, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa ' Ashridge Business School, Brownlow Walk, Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted, Hertforshire, HP4 1NS, England, UK

Abstract: Human interaction is so important because, in the workplace, you always have to work with other people. As a leader, the way in which you and others relate to each other, authentically and inauthentically and use personal- and collective power within those relationships can create positive, enabling workplace environments, or be places of exclusion and negative engagement. Our research was a qualitative study, informed by complexity theory, of the construct of power relations, investigating the lived experiences of leaders within the complexity of the emerging economy of South Africa. It also further explored the challenges of such an approach in terms of the implementation and openness of people within organisations to engage with power relations, and not just to treat it unconsciously. Key features of our research were unpacking the relevance for leaders, as well as the impact of social dynamics, concepts of power, leader attributes, personal traits and organisational features on power relations.

Keywords: leadership; organisational complexity; empowerment; power relations; organisational development; complexity theory; emerging economies; South Africa; social dynamics; power concepts; leader attributes; personality traits.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCLM.2016.080320

International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, 2016 Vol.3 No.3, pp.218 - 243

Received: 04 Apr 2016
Accepted: 24 Apr 2016

Published online: 10 Nov 2016 *

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