Collective Leadership: is it the key to resolving public leadership challenges?

Tackling those ‘wicked issues’ that face society requires a multi agency approach.  Explore the challenges ….


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The differing problem contexts often require differing leadership styles. Different types of problems – critical, wicked and tame – have been identified [1].  Critical problems are ones where it is most likely that there is only a single solution available and there is a need for immediate action.  The leadership style would be that of commander.  Tame or technical problems are those that have defined solutions which can usually be implemented through management.  Wicked problems are more complex and it is less likely that solutions previously employed can be used to solve them.  There may be little consensus about the definition of the problem leading to a high degree of uncertainty as to the best approach to be adopted.  Heifetz (1994) describes these as adaptive challenges which need to be addressed through adaptive leadership.

[1]  Grint 2005


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