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Book part

Amanda Sinclair

While physical reactions and experiences are pervasive in the experiences of leaders and followers, most writing and theorising about leadership fails to register…

Abstract

While physical reactions and experiences are pervasive in the experiences of leaders and followers, most writing and theorising about leadership fails to register physicality’s significance. Consequently, this chapter relies primarily on a creative narrative, ‘The Interview’, to make visible the physicality in leadership. ‘The Interview’ records the experiences of three leaders in ConstructCo as they prepare for and reflect on the interview for a new CEO. Though fictional, the narrative interweaves real experiences from the lives of leaders with whom I have worked. The narrative form and allowing characters to speak give licence to the physical to appear and take its proper place as a crucial dimension of the leadership experience. The second half of the chapter explores the implications of the physical in leadership, beginning by mapping some of the dimensions of physicality experienced by the three characters in the narrative. The following discussion argues that those of us who research, teach and work with leaders should be open to seeing the way conventional norms mask the physical. I explore what new means and approaches are needed in research and writing to bring physicality into development work with leaders. This chapter, including the narrative and subsequent discussion, argues that being aware of physical selves, with the humanness, vulnerability and connection with others that physicality brings, offers new possibilities to our ways of being in leadership.

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The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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Book part

Wendelin Küpers

Based on a critique of reductive understandings of physicality, this chapter explores the significance of embodied materiality, the artefactual physical, the role of the…

Abstract

Based on a critique of reductive understandings of physicality, this chapter explores the significance of embodied materiality, the artefactual physical, the role of the living body and embodiment in relation to ‘intra and inter’ practices of leadership from a phenomenological perspective. Using a phenomenological and cross-disciplinary approach, issues of an embodied physicality in leadership are systematically explored and implications discussed beyond physicalist empiricism and meta-physical idealism. Furthermore, the chosen phenomenological approach reveals problematising limitations of naturalist and constructionist approaches.

Following Merleau-Ponty an extended understanding of physicality as well as the significance of the co-constitutive role of embodiment, inter-corporeality and intra-action in and of leadership practices in organisational life-worlds are identified and discussed. Insights into the role of corporeal materio-socio phenomena and expressions of meaningful practices of leading and following are rendered. The chapter concludes by noting limitations and implications of embodied physicality and physical inter-becoming of ‘bodiment’ for a more integral and sustainable conception of leader-and followership in organisations. Through its specific post-dualistic approach the chapter provides an innovative perspective on the interrelations between living, material, bodily and embodied dimensions of physicality in leadership.

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The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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Book part

Donatella De Paoli, Arja Ropo and Erika Sauer

This chapter is about physicality in virtual space, where one generally does not expect to find any physicality according to research and literature. Here, working in…

Abstract

This chapter is about physicality in virtual space, where one generally does not expect to find any physicality according to research and literature. Here, working in virtual space includes interactions and cooperation through the mail, internet, Skype and video-conferencing. The authors use their own experience of collaborating and leading in a virtual project team. Their own personal accounts, impressions and insights reveal a story of organizational cooperation where physicality matters for developing relations and leadership in virtual space. The piece reveals how an aesthetic consciousness of self and others intensifies in virtual communication, especially in relation to the senses of seeing and listening. For instance, the authors describe perception of the self is possible on SKYPE in a way that is not possible in face-to-face meetings (allowing one to realize if one is not dressed ‘properly’). They argue it is important to identify the physical ‘digital self’ and realize the challenges of being fit to operate across time zones, having personal and public boundaries blurred, as well as the heightened sensitivity to imagine what is left out in a virtual relationship. The examples illustrate what kind of sensuous cues become central in virtual communication. The chapter brings forth the need to sensitize to the physicality and to develop skills to perceive and act on it.

Details

The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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Book part

Donna Ladkin and Steven S. Taylor

Although within the leadership literature there is a body of research concerning the physical attributes of leaders, close examination reveals that much of it offers a…

Abstract

Although within the leadership literature there is a body of research concerning the physical attributes of leaders, close examination reveals that much of it offers a rather surface level of analysis. A number of studies, for example, attempt to correlate leaders’ height with their success, and attempts have been made to identify a relationship between leaders’ performance and their attractiveness. In this book, a range of scholars from differing perspectives delve below the apparent level of physicality to highlight its paradoxically ‘invisible’ aspects including: the impact of gesture, the way in which the physical is intrinsically interwoven with the social and the contradictory nature of bodily taboos. The book shows how each of these aspects plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of leadership relationships.

This chapter introduces three tussles we and our authors have faced in navigating this territory. Firstly, we have worked hard to find forms of writing which ‘point towards’ the experience of physicality. Realising that written language can never ‘be’ that experience (just as Magritte demonstrates with his painting, ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ that the reproduction of the pipe is not the pipe itself) we have encouraged authors to contribute first-person accounts, in-depth case studies focused on individuals and even activities which involve the reader in order to evoke a sense of the physical. Secondly, we have endeavoured to distinguish the ‘inside-out’ phenomenon of ‘embodiment’ from the ‘outside-in’ occurrence of ‘physicality’. Finally, our authors have worked to reveal the mutual entanglement of social and material worlds, such that paradoxically, the physical reveals itself to be ‘in flow’ and continually in a process of ‘becoming’. After describing how we have sought to resolve these challenges, a taster from each chapter is offered. The chapter concludes by reasserting the importance of recognising the physical nature of the connection at the heart of human relationships experienced as leadership.

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The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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Article

Yi Wu, Tingru Cui, Na Liu, Yimeng Deng and Junpeng Guo

Drawn from the social playfulness literature and the elaboration likelihood model, the purpose of this paper is to propose and test a research model to examine users…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawn from the social playfulness literature and the elaboration likelihood model, the purpose of this paper is to propose and test a research model to examine users’ continuous participation in SNS game applications.

Design/methodology/approach

A field survey with 133 subjects was conducted to test the research model.

Findings

Two identified design features, symbolic physicality and inherent sociability, are found to influence users’ perceived curiosity and perceived enjoyment toward playing SNS game applications. Perceived enjoyment is significantly associated with perceived curiosity and predicts users’ continuous participation of SNS game applications. The authors also observed a gender difference of social playfulness design on perceived curiosity.

Research limitations/implications

Use intention was used as a proxy for actual use behavior, since objective data on continuance behavior was not available. Additionally, the contributions of this study may be constrained by one single sample.

Practical implications

The findings of the study suggest practical guidelines for designing game applications in SNS through socialization design and symbolic physicality. Further, based on the findings of gender differences, a personalization game design strategy is provided.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the post-adoption IS literature and sheds light on the interesting area of social media participation. Additionally, this study enriches the online gaming research by demonstrating gender differences.

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Article

K. Prakash Vel, Ajay Dayal and Dayne Eastaugh

Retailers, irrespective of their scale of operation, face the tough challenge of standing out from their competition; a major driver to ensure success and progress in the…

Abstract

Purpose

Retailers, irrespective of their scale of operation, face the tough challenge of standing out from their competition; a major driver to ensure success and progress in the retail industry is differentiation. This paper is a case study based description of how a retail house in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, used retail physicality and identity change as sources of innovation and differentiation and revived its retail operation.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review on retailing, retail physicality and identity change is presented to illustrate the challenges faced by retailers and the current trends in retailing. Primary research was conducted by way of in‐depth interviews with Better Life, a retail house of the Al‐Gurg group of companies, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to understand the retail strategies employed by Better Life.

Findings

Retailers are constantly looking for sources of innovation and differentiation to differentiate themselves from others. This paper shows the role played by retail physicality and identity change as sources of innovation and differentiation and how a retailer has applied them to repositioning its retail identity in the market and revived its operations.

Practical implications

Traditional retail strategies may not provide the necessary competitive advantage needed for survival and progress in competitive markets. Understanding customers, calculated targeting, and focussed positioning using various dimensions are important aspects to be planned by retailers. Among the relevant positioning strategies available, retail physicality and identity change are two prime strategies and drivers, and are hence a source of retail innovation in competitive markets.

Originality/value

The paper provides retailers with a unique perspective to analyse sources of retail innovation taking retail physicality and identity change as innovation strategies. If the strategies are implemented properly they can serve as competitive advantages for retail sustenance and success.

Details

Business Strategy Series, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-5637

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Book part

Mary Phillips

The sexual and erotic dimensions inherent in leadership’s physicality impact on power dynamics within organizations but have been rendered largely invisible by current…

Abstract

The sexual and erotic dimensions inherent in leadership’s physicality impact on power dynamics within organizations but have been rendered largely invisible by current scholarship. In organizational practice, leadership is a masculine activity ideally carried out by male bodies, such that women’s leadership is still perceived as problematic. This suggests that the field is fearful of allowing sexual bodies to pollute what should be a functional, cognitive and instrumental activity. This chapter therefore draws on Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection to explain how and why the sexual body is positioned as the unspoken other of leadership. To do this, I explore the representation of two very contrasting leaders, Jean Luc Picard and the Borg Queen, in the popular film Star Trek: First Contact. The film illuminates how leadership ideally resides in a virile, mastered and distant male body. The sexual female body is represented as disgusting, dangerous, and a source of contamination and so must be cast out and destroyed. Finally, I ask whether the representation of the Borg Queen is useful as a transgressive means to undermine the abjection of the female leader’s body. However, I conclude that to counter abjection, scholars of leadership need instead to build discursive and material practices that revalue the feminine and respect the alterity of self and others.

Details

The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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Book part

Ralph Bathurst and Anne Messervy

Bill Clinton is exemplary of a new conception of leadership appropriate for the 21st century. In spite of his sexual proclivities (for which he received harsh criticism…

Abstract

Bill Clinton is exemplary of a new conception of leadership appropriate for the 21st century. In spite of his sexual proclivities (for which he received harsh criticism and impeachment proceedings) Clinton’s physicality signals an end of a Gnostic view of leadership that separates the knowing head from the rest of the body. We propose that 20th century manifestations of leadership are no longer appropriate for this age, and we illustrate this idea with the ‘reality’ television series Undercover Boss. Further, by exploring artist Peter Robinson’s installation The End of the Twentieth Century we claim that Clinton’s call for inclusivity, a ‘both–and’ approach that characterizes his late- and post-Presidential rhetoric, opens possibilities for alternative constructs that place the body at the heart of leadership. Our exploration of Clinton’s physicality is through his speech to the APEC business leaders in 1999, his commentary on the movie documentary The Hunting of the President and his speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In each of these he reaches out to his audiences through physical and verbal gestures. He pleads for tolerance and understanding so that people may find commonalities among their flaws and differences. Through enacting the physical ‘doing’ of leadership in these instances, Bill Clinton offers an exemplar of re-locating leadership within its physical context.

Details

The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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Article

Karen V. Fernandez and Michael B. Beverland

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the material nature of legacy technology makes its users passionately prefer it over its digital alternatives.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the material nature of legacy technology makes its users passionately prefer it over its digital alternatives.

Design/methodology/approach

This ethnographic study uses data from 26 in-depth interviews with vinyl collectors, augmented with longitudinal participant–observation of vinyl collecting and music store events.

Findings

The findings reveal how the physicality of vinyl facilitates the passionate relationships (with music, the vinyl as performative object and other people) that make vinyl so significant in vinyl users’ lives.

Research limitations/implications

As this study examines a single research context (vinyl) from the perspective of participants from three developed, Anglophone nations, its key theoretical contributions should be examined in other technological contexts and other cultures.

Practical implications

The findings imply that miniturisation and automation have lower limits for some products, material attributes should be added to digitised products and that legacy technology products could be usually be reframed as tools of authentic self-expression.

Originality/value

This study explains what can happen beyond the top of the “S” curve in the Technology Acceptance Model, furthering our understanding of consumers’ reactions to the proliferation of digital technology in their lives.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 53 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Abstract

Details

The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-289-0

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