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Shared Equity Leadership: A New Model for Making Inclusion and Equity Part of Organizational Culture

Natsumi Ueda (University of Southern California, USA)
Adrianna Kezar (University of Southern California, USA)
Elizabeth Holcombe (University of Southern California, USA)

Inclusive Leadership: Equity and Belonging in Our Communities

ISBN: 978-1-83797-441-2, eISBN: 978-1-83797-438-2

Publication date: 16 October 2023


This chapter describes a new leadership model called shared equity leadership (SEL). The goal of SEL is to create culture change that embeds shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the core of an organization. SEL emerged from a qualitative multiple-case study of leaders who were committed to establishing an equitable organization at eight colleges and universities that had seen success in their equity efforts. We reviewed over 1,000 pages of documents and interviewed 126 leaders, including cabinet-level executives, mid-level leaders, and group-level leaders. While we identified this model on college campuses, it has relevance for any organizational context. SEL entails three elements: (1) a personal journey toward critical consciousness in which leaders solidify their commitment to equity, (2) a set of values that center equity and guide the work, and (3) a set of practices that leaders enact collectively to change inequitable structures. Distinct from traditional leadership models, SEL encompasses both personal and organizational processes of leadership and emphasizes collaborative, relational, personal, and emotional aspects of leadership. This change starts with transforming awareness and behaviors of individuals, who engage in personal journeys toward critical consciousness and develop an urgent sense of responsibility for creating change. Organizations can facilitate their personal journeys and begin structuring SEL by forming a diverse team and socializing them into SEL expectations. With a concerted effort of leaders committed to SEL values and practices, an organization can be transformed so that equity is everyone’s work.



Ueda, N., Kezar, A. and Holcombe, E. (2023), "Shared Equity Leadership: A New Model for Making Inclusion and Equity Part of Organizational Culture", Barnes, J., Stevens, M.J., Ekelund, B.Z. and Perham-Lippman, K. (Ed.) Inclusive Leadership: Equity and Belonging in Our Communities (Building Leadership Bridges, Vol. 9), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-13.



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