Thursday, October 31, 2013

Emotions and Innovative Leadership: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Michele Vincenti, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

The domain is Innovative Leadership, with emphasis on emotions and consciousness viewed through a phenomenological lens. In particular I am interested in understanding what people feel when they think of an innovative leader. The topic of innovative leadership is a very important domain to be studied because of its effect on the wellbeing of any organization.

Problem statement: I argue that emotions play an important role for followers in the way they see and evaluate their leaders; in addition, leaders need to understand the role of their and followers’ emotions in their relationship.

Approach: I used interpretative phenomenological research (IPA). IPA is a qualitative research approach committed to the examination of how people make sense of major life experiences. IPA provides a fascinating and very rich way of engaging with, and understanding other people’s worlds, which is the aim of this research.

Results: The major finding is that the innovative leader is a moral leader. The terms morality or ethics rarely emerged specifically in my interviews, but terms such as caring, trust, fairness and reciprocity, which are the cornerstone of morality, all emerged with high frequency. Informal leadership styles and leadership tools such as teaching and focus on details reinforce the understanding of an innovative leader.

Conclusions: The implications of my findings can be important to organizations that want to be perceived as innovative in their market. Leaders of such organizations can attend training to develop the leadership tools, leadership styles, and the cognitive themes identified in this research.

Keywords: innovative leadership, emotions, morality, AET theory, empowerment, leadership, leadership tool, leadership style, cognition, consciousness

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