Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leadership Vocabulary Overview: Why Offer a Leadership Vocabulary?

One of my longest standing critiques of leadership literature derives from my experience that there are many words within the leadership development, organizational development, and social movement literature that, when applied in the framework of social justice work, take on different meaning because they are used for different ends. The difference of leadership "for what end or purpose" often reveals theoretical, moral, economic, political, and social conflict between how words and concepts are applied in the field. Throughout my professional career and work as a scholar, I have consistently felt uncomfortable that context and end purpose are not more readily referenced, or are often ignored altogether when applying words and concepts originating in different fields (e.g., education, business, or public service). As such, I have developed a commitment to raising awareness about the distinctions that "break the chain of inference—from conjunction to categorization to commonality--[as] the norm" (Lakoff, 1987, p. 5). The vocabulary that I offer in this blog is based on my intentional work of breaking apart the chain of inferences and reveals my insights, biases, and shortcomings about how I interpret, develop, and apply the concepts that each word or phrase embodies.

The vocabulary that I will offer regularly in this blog relate directly to expanding the understanding of Life-Affirming Leadership practices as they relate to individuals working for social justice. I believe that these definitions have applicability to a broader audience interested in leadership from various perspectives and with diverse settings of application. Through sharing the concepts my work will be better understood from the context in which I apply these ideas providing utility for those interested in the subject.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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