Leading organisational culture: issues of power and equity

Lumby, Jacky (2012) Leading organisational culture: issues of power and equity. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 40, (6)


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The literature on educational leadership and management has referred to culture since at least the 1970s. Despite the concept’s mention in over a third of articles written in this journal, there has been little in-depth engagement with how leaders might influence it and the ethical issues involved. The article argues that leadership must engage with culture as a key mediator of power within organisations. Four levels of cultural activity are suggested; the cultural context created by global phenomena, the cultures of local communities, the organisational culture and the sub- and counter-cultures within the organisation. The article considers a bifurcation in the skills assumed necessary to respond to, on one hand, multi- or intra- culture and on the other, organisational culture. The article suggests that the degree of perceived difference from norms dictates leaders' orientation to and engagement with culture, with cultural competence generally promoted only in relation to multicultural issues. It concludes that leaders are currently ill-served by encouragement to focus on aligning the organisation’s members to a single, strong culture and that the persistent surface engagement with culture may perpetuate inequalities. The need to move leaders to engage more deeply with the power and complexity of culture is indicated

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1741-1432 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Leadership, power, culture, diversity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Southampton Education School > Leadership, School Improvement and Effectiveness (LSIE)
ePrint ID: 341484
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2012 15:37
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:32
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/341484

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