Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The last editorial in 2014
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 27, Issue 6.
The year has not been good for the planet: in fact, it had often been compared to 1914, a hundred years earlier, when a relatively stable balance of powers has suddenly and a little bit incidentally been disrupted by presumably distant, local and – at first sight – unimportant events. A political assassination in the Balkans turned out to be rather more important than a majority of the reading public thought at the time. What followed was a blind slaughter of millions, first on the battlefields, then in improvised hospitals for the victims of a Spanish flu, which might have been caused by a mutated virus, the very virus we are now beginning to understand and contain.
Simple analogies between 1914 and 2014 do not hold. True, local wars and political assassinations have also exploded in 2014, and armed conflicts were not limited to the Middle East or Africa. A former superpower, still clinging to a considerable nuclear arsenal, namely the Russian Federation, is a case in point with recent land grabs and open aggression. But there is a difference. We have many more organizations, which coordinate, regulate, manage and try to provide a complex platform for political, ideological and economic leadership. As I am writing the present editorial, the world's largest online trading network, Chinese Alibaba, goes to the stock exchange and Africa slowly but surely turns into the core area of the fast economic growth. Moreover, it may be possible to have a total command over media in a single country (Putin's war propaganda in Russian media), but chances for a monopoly of a communicative power on a global scale are not particularly high, as PR specialists had frequently found out.
In JOCM it is business as usual, which actually means unusual, and so the last, sixth issue of JOCM in 2014 opens with three papers on leadership, all of them with a separate focus and angle. Leadership has been in fashion as a focus of research programs and research grant policies for quite some time. The difference with classical views – which grew out of a theory of management developed in order to aggrandize a visionary and inspiring leader – is that contemporary researchers are interested in behavioral patterns and leader's skills in navigating complex networks of relations, decision-making contexts and public responsibilities. So what do we hear from the leadership studies front? First, three Serbian researchers Verica Milovan Babic (together with Sladjana Dragan Savovic and Violeta Miroslav Domanovic) write about “transformational” leadership, examining it from the point of a post-acquisition performance in the so-called transitional economies (a misnomer, since there are no non-transitional economies in a changing global economyscapes). The second paper, by Milton Jorge Correia Sousa and Dirk van Dierendonck, is devoted to “servant” leadership, and the authors investigate the leaders’ engagement in the processes of mergers under high uncertainty. Third, Carolin Abrell-Vogel and Jens Rowold focus on leader's commitment to change, labelling their methodological approach “multilevel.”
Leadership studies are complemented by four studies about troubles in managerial paradise. First David L. Schwartzkopf and Sean M. McDonald offer a new view on how to assist a public agency, which is undergoing a process of development and change. Since public organizations and the private-public mixes are becoming much more frequent in the organizational landscape than ever before, their remarks will certainly be of interest to the potential leaders of private-public alliances. Anika Blomberg tries to apply her critical analysis to ourselves, academic professionals. She writes about “organizational creativity diluted” and tries to understand discursive practices among academic researchers. A trio of authors, namely Danielle A. Tucker, Jane Hendy and James Barlow, write about the most obvious trouble in an organizational paradise, namely about the clash of a simultaneous re-design of a work practice and a transition toward a new infrastructure. After all, most of us are familiar with the increasingly frequent migrations of our ICT systems toward, say, clouds, other data bases, and other distant gods of our information and communication universes.
The last batch of papers includes a group of our Chinese colleagues, namely Yin Shoujun, Lu Fangmei, Yang Yong and Jing Runtian, who investigate an organizational culture evolution from what they call an “imprinting” perspective, and two French researchers, Christophe Assens and Philippe Acord, who write on the spontaneity of social networks and pose a rather daring question – is it possible to re-enchant the network study? Finally, Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt and Ina Louw write about programs designed to facilitate coaching and emergence of academic leaders and meant to encourage their development – all within our own academic organizations.
Let me wish you a very merry Christmas 2014, even if you are not a Christian nor do you celebrate a birth of a certain child in ancient Judea, and of course let me also wish you an even happier 2015, no matter what your idea of happiness includes.
Slawomir Jan Magala