Clifford Lewis Discusses Organizational Leadership and Diversity Management

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING]In management studies, the concept of leadership

    • 00:21

      has got various approaches.There's a lot of literature, a lot of different perspectiveson how to approach leadership in organizations, how to study it,how to theorize about it.In the context of diverse organizations and diversitymanagement, we are approaching leadership as a social process,

    • 00:42

      rather than something that one person-- the leader-- doesonto another-- the follower.So essentially, leadership in organizationswould be a social process, where the leader triesto create meaning and followers feel part of the organizationand that their daily activities have meaning to them.

    • 01:12

      My research in leadership actuallystarted when I was doing my master's research.I never specifically intended on researching leadershipor diversity issues within leadership,but I had to do a master's to registeras an industrial psychologist in South Africa, where I'm from.And I met a professor-- Professor Stella Nkomo, who's

    • 01:35

      still at the University of Pretoria--and meeting her and having discussions with herabout what I could possibly research for my master'sdissertation, we decided on leadership, specificallygender and rights issues in South African organizations.And I really got interested in the topic,

    • 01:56

      and I decided to continue my research, put practicingas a psychologist, actually, to the side-- which is ironic,because that was the whole reason whyI was in the master's program in the first place--and then to continue with this research at a doctoral level.

    • 02:17

      Well, I'm still pretty much influenced-- very influenced--by the academic that supervised my master's research, ProfessorStella Nkomo.And it might seem like a cliche, but I'm definitely alsovery inspired by my coauthor, Ahul Tatli,that I wrote this chapter with.Then there are also people like Patricia Parker,

    • 02:40

      Alice Eagly-- they all approach gender specifically,as well as the case of race in the study of organizationand leadership from different perspectives,and I find those influences very important.For this chapter specifically, I did not onlyfocus on gender and rights, because we

    • 03:02

      spoke about diversity in a more general sense.Those authors are specifically influencingin my research outside of this chapter that we wrote.Some key debates that we includedin writing this chapter for this book

    • 03:24

      was how does theorizing about leadership in organizationsactually reinforce inequality?So when you're talking about diversity,the ideal situation would be that everyoneis equally represented, everyone has equal accessto opportunities, and especially in our casethat everyone can enter into leadership roles

    • 03:47

      and that organizational leadership promotesdiversity and fosters diversity in organizations.So theorizing about organizational leadershipin certain ways can inevitably reinforce these inequalitiesthat diversity management tries to eliminate.

    • 04:07

      For example, focusing on leadershipas an element of one person, i.e. the leader,is so loaded with masculine conceptions and ideasthat it, in a way, disadvantages women,and that's just one example.So in the chapter we had a broad stroke overview

    • 04:29

      of different ways of theorizing about leadership and how thisinterlinks with diversity and diversitymanagement and issues of equality in organizations.Another important debate or issuethat we address in our chapter isthe issue of what actually deserves attention.So I've mentioned gender and race,

    • 04:52

      but that is because that's my research focus.Other issues, such as social class,is also very much a diversity issue,because people from different social classesreceive different opportunities, different access,they have different networks, and it doesn't necessarily

    • 05:12

      always receive that tension that issues such as, say, gender,race disability, receive.But we use specific examples from researchthat was done in the UK to show howwhat leaders perceive as importantand as issues that need to be addressed

    • 05:34

      can also have an impact on diversity managementinterventions in organizations.The classical concepts within leadership,organizational leadership, is very mucha notion of leadership as an element of the leader.

    • 05:58

      But in recent-- and maybe not so recent--there's been a departure from that notion,and today there's quite a large body of knowledge on leadershipas a social process, and that's why we both decidedto define leadership in our chapter as a social process

    • 06:18

      rather than and act or a set of behaviors or personalitytraits, for example.Now, within this departure from leadershipas an element of the leader, there'sthis notion that we should engagein what has been called "prefix theorizing," where you wouldsay that, say, women lead in a certain kind of way

    • 06:42

      and we therefore need a separate theory calledfeminine leadership or women leadership, or for example,something like African leadership,because in Africa people lead differentlyor practice leadership differently than in other partsof the world.And this inevitably reinforces the notion

    • 07:04

      that some people are, say, inadequate to be leadersor should not be leaders, and reinforces inequality.So I think a focus on that and highlighting and illuminatingthese kinds of dynamics-- and tagginginto what I said earlier about the way

    • 07:24

      we theorize about leadership and how that can actually reinforceinequality and work against diversity managementinitiatives, I think that has been a huge step forward,and we mentioned this in our chapter,and I find it personally also quite fulfillingto work on this in my own.Research

    • 07:49

      Large challenges in diversity management and diversitymanagement interventions in organizationsis commitment and the follow-through and the buy-in.So there's no point in employing a diversity practitioneror having an HR manager or HR director thathas a wonderful diversity management

    • 08:10

      program and upliftment programs, and there's no commitmentand there's no follow-through.Now, there is support in research showingthat if leadership in organizationshave all committed to these kinds of interventions,these ways of thought, this kind of discourse,

    • 08:31

      then the chances of diversity interventions succeedingis much higher.So that's problematic, if you consider the makeupof organizational leadership.And you find this across the world-- not just in the UK,not just in South Africa, which are the two countries that weused for our case studies-- but you

    • 08:53

      you've got organizational leadership that is notat all representative of the demographic of the populationthat they operate within trying to sayto the employees in the organization,well, we must foster diversity, we must work together,we must embrace diversity, but they themselves don't do it.

    • 09:15

      So there's a credibility issue.So considering the amount of money and timethat goes into fostering diversity, and also,obviously, the social justice componentor argument into service management--So it's quite important that diversity managementis not just occurring with initiatives one ground

    • 09:40

      level where those initiatives take place,but that it goes through all the way to the top,and that organizational leadership can actuallycredibly commit to diversity in the organization as well.So in our chapter we focus on two different contexts, the UK

    • 10:04

      context and the South African context,just as a way of illustrating how leadership and diversitymanagement organizations intersect,just using it as an example that it's a global issue.So we've got one case study in the arts sector in the UK,

    • 10:24

      and then we've got a case study in South Africafrom the retail sector.So I can just maybe elaborate on one of them.In the retail case study, we've got an organizationthat has a massive amount investment into a leadershipdevelopment program.However, the leadership development program

    • 10:45

      is predicated on what I've mentioned earlier,this idea of leadership as an element of the leader.So it assumes that there's one ideal leader prototype.The leader looks and sounds a certain way,and therefore we develop our leaders in a certain way.So one size fits all for all kinds of participants

    • 11:06

      in this program.But in the case study, we use an example of a consultant talkingto participants in the program, and very different experiencescoming out from different participantsfrom different backgrounds, showingthat the way I think about leadership and in the way I

    • 11:28

      practice it in my organization, whichis a very diverse context-- diverse in terms of country,diverse in terms of population, whatever the case might be--has a definite impact on my outcomes,and in this case, the outcomes of your leadership developmentprogram, which you obviously want return on.

    • 11:49

      If you put money and time into it,you want good leaders to come out of it,and that wasn't always the case.So that's just one of the case studiesthat we used to illustrate these points in practice.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Clifford Lewis Discusses Organizational Leadership and Diversity Management

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Abstract

Doctoral student Clifford Lewis discusses his work in the area of organizational leadership and diversity management. Lewis talks about influential people in the discipline and the effects that organizational leadership and diversity management can have on a business.

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Clifford Lewis Discusses Organizational Leadership and Diversity Management

Doctoral student Clifford Lewis discusses his work in the area of organizational leadership and diversity management. Lewis talks about influential people in the discipline and the effects that organizational leadership and diversity management can have on a business.

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