A global consortium of 15 leadership centres have come together to address this question. A focus on the purposes and responsibilities of leadership are in part a response to a cocktail of concerns regarding: market capitalism and the unintended consequences of globalisation; global societal challenges, examples include climate change, displaced people, famine, poverty, modern slavery; the purposeless nature of much work interwoven with typical amoral expectations of business; and the need for a greater eye on the sustainability of organisations. A big menu of challenges indeed.

Leadership is probably the most significant social influence mechanism for good or indeed for bad. If leadership can be aligned around exploring and addressing these systemically connected challenges then there could be scope for much change. Through the extensive network of the GCLC, projects are being explored through partnerships of academics, private and public sector leaders, NGO’s, policy makers, and community groups. We adopt a collaboratory approach where challenges are seen as wicked problems – problems cannot be addressed by old solutions. We need to work collaboratively to learn our way towards better outcomes. 

 

An example of a GCLC project

Lancaster University and Copenhagen Business School undertook a collaboratory project with the Danish Red Cross. Working with major partners of the Danish Red Cross (for example Maersk and ISS) we explored how refugees in Denmark can become socially integrated through economic activity. New initiatives were identified through understanding value generation between all the partners, including refugees, in the process of social integration. This is but the first step. Experiments are being tested in organisational contexts from which the results will be tabled at the next collaboratory workshop. 

Local need and global reach

The GCLC partners are presently in US, Canada, UK, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and China. New centres will be joining from SE Asia, South America, and other parts of Africa. It is intended that projects will be developed that embrace local contextual need and complexity, yet also generating insights and principles that can inform subsequent projects and begin to offer an evidence-base to assist policy making. 

As part of project activity the GCLC is establishing an extensive network of PhD students developing inter-disciplinary research being co-supervised globally by GCLC faculty.

If you are interested in participating or simply knowing more please contact Professor Steve Kempster:

s.kempster@lancaster.ac.uk