Distributed Leadership in the E-Learning Organization

Susan Smith Nash, E-Learning Queen, Sept 28, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I think Susan Smith Nash's exploration of the subject of leadership and organization in today's item (and yesterday's) is useful, but it seems to me that business writers still haven't grasped what post-industrial organization looks like. Yesterday, for example, Nash writes that the "vision encourages individuals to release their individual goals and objectives and to substitute a collective one." And today, she writes of "a clearly articulated vision which is equally shared among all members." How many people, I wonder, actually support their organization's vision statement (much less know what it is)? What are the chances that everyone does? Almost nil - and that's just it: management by subsumption of individual aspirations under organizational objectives is a non-starter. 'Distributed' doesn't mean everybody thinking or doing or in some way being the same - it means individuals acting autonomously in a network entering into exchanges of mutual value.
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