Towards a Leadership Theory Based on Philosophical Predispositions

By Ipek Bozkurt, Jose J. Padilla, Behnido Calida, Morgan Henrie and Andres A. Sousa-Poza.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A large number of leadership theories focus on understanding the concept of leadership from an ontological perspective by focusing on the leader, the leader/follower relationship, or the concept of leadership itself. Others focus on axiological premises, referring to the moral values of the leader/manager under which he or she leads and makes decisions. However, one may argue that they tend to be too focused on finding intricacies that they forgo a comprehensive perspective. This paper focuses on the nature of the leader by considering his/her worldviews as driven by four philosophical dimensions: epistemological, ontological, teleological, and axiological. It is argued that these dimensions need to be considered simultaneously in order to present a holistic perspective of the nature of leaders. The proper balance of these dimensions are also contingent on the situation faced by the leader/manager at a given moment, which may make his or her leadership style appropriate or inappropriate given a situation. This appropriateness is also addressed in the paper and the concepts of wicked problems and complex situations are presented to establish a context. These arguments lead to the formulation of five propositions that provide an understanding on the underlying foundations of leaders.

Keywords: Leadership, Theory, Manager, Ontological, Epistemological, Teleological, Axiological, Complex Situations

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.85-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.209MB).

Ipek Bozkurt

Ph.D. Candidate, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Ipek Bozkurt is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at Old Dominion University. She is currently a Graduate Research Assistant. Her research is oriented towards acquiring an understanding on different personality types; specifically looking at how different individuals with different philosophical predispositions deal with complex problems through a modeling and simulation paradigm. Prior to her Ph.D. degree, she received a Master of Engineering Management (M.E.M.) degree from ODU, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Hacettepe University, Turkey.

Jose J. Padilla

PhD Candidate, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Jose J. Padilla is a doctoral student in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Old Dominion University. He serves as a graduate research assistant for the National Centers for System of Systems Engineering (NCSOSE). His research is oriented to gain insight within complex organizational problems and how they can be defined and formalized, how these problems can be understood using knowledge management and cognitive models of understanding, and how individual predispositions affect these processes towards decision making within a modeling and simulation approach.

Behnido Calida

PhD Candidate, Engineering Management and System Engineering, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Behnido Calida is pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Management. He is also currently a Graduate Research Assistant in Old Dominion University’s National Centers for System of Systems Engineering (NCSoSE) doing research in concepts, methodologies and applications pertaining to traditional systems, Systems of Systems, complex systems engineering.Prior to his graduate studies, he’s had 8 years industry experience. His work experiences include diverse key roles related to technology-process transfer, business development, product engineering, R&D in automotive electronics, front-end semiconductor manufacturing, and basic/advanced research/production environments. He received his B.S. degree in Applied Physics from the National Institute of Physics in the University of the Philippines and completed his Master’s in Engineering Management (M.E.M.) degree from Old Dominion University’s Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering last 2008.

Morgan Henrie

Assistant Professor of Logistics, Alaska Center for Supply Chain Integration, College of Business and Public Policy, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Morgan Henrie, PhD, PMP, received his Ph.D. from Old Dominion University in 2005. His dissertation is on multi-national project team communications, titled Multi-National Project Team Communications and Cultural Influences He is a certified Project Management Professional, holds a Master of Science Degree in Project Management and undergraduate degrees in Electronic Engineering and Technology Management. Dr. Henrie is the President of MH Consulting which provides project management and business management consultation, nationally and internationally, to the oil and gas, as well as the telecommunication industry.

Andres A. Sousa-Poza

Associate Professor/Senior Research Scientist, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, National Centers for System of Systems Engineering (NCSOSE), Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Andres A. Sousa-Poza, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Old Dominion University in The Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and a Senior Research Scientist at the National Centers for System of Systems Engineering (NCSOSE). He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Engineering Management and a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to entering academia, he worked in the manufacture of food processing facilities, and in the production of dry food products. He has international projects and management experience in Western and Eastern Europe, Southern Africa and the United States of America. Dr. Sousa-Poza’s research interests include engineering and management in global environments, organizational analysis and design, and technical and sociotechnical systems.


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