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Communicative Leadership: Fostering co-worker agency in two Swedish business organizations
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Media and Communication Science. (DEMICOM)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4271-4231
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Media and Communication Science. (DEMICOM)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6645-2980
University of Colorado, Boulder.
2016 (English)In: Corporate Communications. An International Journal, ISSN 1356-3289, E-ISSN 1758-6046, Vol. 21, no 2, 213-229 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to enhance the knowledge of how leadership concepts are embraced by leadership actors and perceived to influence relationships between leaders and co-workers. Specifically, the authors aim to investigate how leaders and co-workers discursively construct the concept of “communicative leadership” and its practices and perceive that communicative leadership influences relationships, work processes, and agency.Design/methodology/approach– The authors analyzed interviews with leaders and co-workers in two Swedish business organizations about their understandings and experiences of leadership.Findings– Communicative processes that enhance co-worker agency, defined as a capacity to act; include: facilitating autonomy, sharing responsibility, and mutual participation. Relational and discursive leadership processes such as responsiveness and dialogue were seen to enhance mutual participation in both organizations. Broader Swedish cultural macro discourses shaped the leader/co-worker relationship, making agency a relational accomplishment rather than an individual phenomenon.Research limitations/implications– This study relies on data from individual and focus group interviews, rather than direct observation of leadership processes.Practical implications– Findings suggest that organizations would benefit from making explicit their goals and expectations for communicative leadership in their respective social and cultural contexts.Originality/value– The authors provide new theoretical and empirical knowledge of leaders’ and co-workers’ discursive construction of a leadership concept; leadership communication research in the Swedish context; empirical research on communicative leadership as an empowering form of leadership communication; and how leadership communication discourse on a micro level is connected to organizational and macro-social cultural levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 21, no 2, 213-229 p.
Keyword [en]
Communication, Leadership, Discourse, Co-worker agency, Communicative leadership, Discursive leadership
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-26776DOI: 10.1108/CCIJ-05-2015-0025ISI: 000381979500005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84961999704Local ID: DEMICOMOAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-26776DiVA: diva2:890096
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 2010-0226
Available from: 2015-12-30 Created: 2015-12-30 Last updated: 2016-12-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Communicative leadership: (Re)Contextualizing a Swedish concept in theory and within organizational settings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Communicative leadership: (Re)Contextualizing a Swedish concept in theory and within organizational settings
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to theorize about the concept of communicative leadership as well as explore the construction of the concept in three Swedish national and multinational organizations. ‘Communicative leadership’ is a concept often used in Swedish organizations and, in practice, refers to leaders’ communication competence related to others, and specifically toward her or his employees. It generally assumes that communicative leaders are better communicators than other leaders. Organizations using the concept accordingly evaluate and develop leaders’ communication competence. The thesis consists of five studies; one grounded in qualitative and quantitative literature on leadership and leadership communication and the other four using interviews with leaders and employees as datasets. The first article extends our understanding of communicative leadership with four communication behaviors to be applied toward developing leaders and defining communicative leadership with focus on leaders’ communicative behavior towards others. The results from the other four articles further contribute to our understanding of communicative leadership and they were obtained applying a constructionist and discursive framework in order to analyze the connections of contexts to the discourses of communicative leadership and highlight the socially constructed nature of communicative leadership. The results emphasize that different contexts found locally have consequences for the relation between leaders and employees, constitutively affecting local discourses and context. In addition to defining and conceptualizing the notion, this thesis thus also clarifies the roles of leaders and employees in leadership practices, highlights how micro- and macro-contexts interplay and what elements interact with them, mutually influencing consequences for perceptions and constructions of leadership locally. Furthermore, the empirical studies demonstrate that communicative leadership discourses do not just reveal contexts and how they are constituted and perceived; leaders’ and employees’ discourses can also reveal which changes organizational members desire to implement.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandlings syfte är såväl att teoretisera begreppet kommunikativt ledarskap som att utforska begreppets konstruktion och användning i tre svenska nationella och multinationella organisationer. ‘Kommunikativt ledarskap’ är ett begrepp som ofta används i svenska organisationer. Det syftar i praktiken på ledares kommunikationskompetens i förhållanden med andra, och specifikt mot medarbetare. Generellt förutsätter begreppet att kommunikativa ledare är bättre på att kommunicera än andra ledare. Organisationer som använder begreppet utvärderar och utvecklar ledarnas kommunikativa kompetens i enlighet därmed. Avhandlingen består av fem studier; en grundad på den kvalitativa och kvantitativa litteraturen om ledarskap och kommunikation och de andra fyra använder intervjuer med ledare och anställda som empiriskt material. Avhandlingens första artikel utvidgar vår förståelse av kommunikativt ledarskap med fyra kommunikationsbeteenden som kan användas för ledarutveckling och genom att definiera kommunikativt ledarskap med fokus på ledares kommunikativa beteende. Resultaten från de resterande fyra artiklarna bidrar till vår förståelse av kommunikativt ledarskap i praktiken. Här tillämpades ett konstruktionistiskt och diskursivt ramverk för att analysera ledares och medarbetares syn på och användning av kommunikativt ledarskap och belysa hur kommunikativt ledarskap är socialt konstruerat i de undersökta organisationerna. Resultaten betonar att olika lokalt existerande sammanhang har konsekvenser för relationen mellan ledare och anställda, en relation som konstitueras och formas i lokala diskurser och sammanhang. Förutom att definiera och teoretisera begreppet, förtydligar denna avhandling ledares och anställdas roller i ledarskapsutövningen, belyser hur mikro- och makro-sammanhang samspelar, och ömsesidigt påverkar konsekvenserna för uppfattningar och konstruktioner av ledarskap på det lokala planet. Dessutom demonstrerar de empiriska studierna att ledares och medarbetares diskurser om kommunikativt ledarskap inte bara avslöjar hur det inrättas och uppfattas i olika sammanhang; utan även kan avslöja vilka förändringar en organisations medlemmar önskar tillämpa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mittuniversitet Sundsvall, 2016. 176 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 235
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-26932 (URN)DEMICOM (Local ID)978-91-88025-47-0 (ISBN)DEMICOM (Archive number)DEMICOM (OAI)
Public defence
2016-01-29, M102, Sundsvall, 11:00
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 3 (kommande), 4 (inskickat) och 5 (inskickat).

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 3 forthcoming), 4 (submitted) and 5 (submitted)

Available from: 2016-01-28 Created: 2016-01-26 Last updated: 2016-02-09Bibliographically approved

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