Leadership Development in New Zealand: A Production of Leadership Perspective

The current lofty status of leadership as a solution to ongoing social and economic problems draws attention to the diverse network of actors and institutions required to elevate and maintain its position as a strategic and moral imperative. One powerful approach to this is to look at the way leadership is produced commercially by the leadership industries. As Guthey, Clark & Jackson (2009) suggests, the most appropriate model for understanding the leadership industries is through a Production of Culture lens (Peterson, 1974). This thesis therefore illuminates the ways in which leadership concepts and practices are created, distributed, evaluated, taught, and preserved via the leadership development industry in New Zealand.

Through a series of interviews with key producers and a focus group with consumers and intermediaries; this thesis seeks to understand how leadership has been produced in a New Zealand context. Findings contribute to the development of the production of leadership perspective by elevating the tension held by participants who simultaneously hold leadership as a commodity whilst trying to retain the significant symbolic characteristics they associate with it.

Co-supervised by Professor Brad Jackson (UoA) and Associate Professor Eric Guthey (CBS)

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Conceptualising Leadership in the Context of Mergers: Merging Cultural Leadership and Organisational Culture Theory

Despite compelling evidence that mergers fail to meet the expectations of both organisations and employees, merger activity continues to rise.  These failures are often attributed to a clash of organisational cultures, with the majority of corporations citing it as their top challenge.  On examining the literature, it becomes apparent that there is little in the way of pragmatic, theory-based advice for organisations regarding how to constructively integrate merging cultures.  Guided by this need, this dissertation seeks to conceptualise cultural leadership processes in the context of mergers.  To do this, it itself seeks to merge two related, yet surprisingly diverse, bodies of literature.  The first body of literature looks at what attention has been given to the intersection of leadership and culture.  The second  is an examination of the merger and organisational culture theories.  From this merger of fields, it suggests that to increase the effectiveness of cultural leadership, we require a more holistic understanding of the complexities of organisational culture.  Finally, it shows that despite these weaknesses, organisations have much to gain from more effective cultural leadership and that this is particularly salient in times of crisis, such as a merger.  The implications of this for organisations and future research are discussed.

Supervised by Professor Brad Jackson (UoA)

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