Insights on the evolutions of leadership in organisations
Published on 05/5/2023
Published on 05/5/2023
On April 12-14, 2023, NEOMA hosted a Mini-Conference on Leadership and Positive Change in Organisations, in Reims, France. Organised by the School’s Future of Leadership Sub-area (Future of Work Area of Excellence), the discussions focused on topics such as abusive supervision, inconsistent leadership, leader identity, leader personality, and influence of leaders on well-being, for example.
The conference of international scope, Leadership and Positive Change in Organisations on NEOMA Reims campus, gathered around forty researchers from Europe, UK, Israel, Brazil, etc.
Keynote speakers Barbara Wisse, Professor of Organisational Psychology (University of Groningen) and Michael Bashshur, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources (Singapore Management University), and eight invited guests of recognised expertise presented their work to the participants, who also had the opportunity to incubate and discuss new research ideas.
Urszula Lagowska and Birgit Schyns, NEOMA professors in the People and Organisations department, and respectively member and coordinator of the Sub-area Future of Leadership, who organised the conference, answered our questions.
The conference topic was broad in order to accommodate a variety of projects in an early stage of development but also to emphasise the need for better leadership in the organisations. Given such societal challenges as increased political and economic uncertainty, new forms of work, and ethical ambiguities, leaders have an important role to play in shaping people’s opinions and helping them thrive in difficult circumstances.
This was very well reflected in the keynote speeches. Specifically, Prof Barbara Wisse discussed the dark sides of leader’s personality and the factors that either buffer or enhance the effect of negative leadership in organisations. On the other hand, the speech by Prof Michael Bashshur focused on the role of followers in influencing leaders showing that they also bear responsibility for what is happening inside of organisations.
The conference confirmed the importance of already established theories regarding leadership, such as servant leadership, leader identity construction, job resource and demands theory etc. It also showed that there is still a need to explore potentially damaging forms of leadership, such as abusive supervision and authoritarian leadership, in order to understand better their impact on followers and to shed light on how they manifest themselves in the new forms of work.
At the same time, the attendees have also discussed new concepts and theories during the event. For instance, an idea that leader’s behaviour can be inconsistent in the eyes of the follower or the notion that followers experience barriers that make it difficult for them to cut the ties with an abusive leader. Furthermore, the attendees could also see how to employ a lens of progressive social values to explore the context of toxic organisational culture and its relationship to leadership.
Notably, the projects presented at the conference employed a variety of research methods. The participants were able to see projects based on case studies, interviews, experiments, experience sampling and diary studies.
A small conference format helped the participants to interact and engage in meaningful exchanges with leadership experts. The attendees were able to obtain feedback and advice regarding future development of their research projects. Moreover, the participants had a chance to brainstorm new ideas during the incubator session, which is likely to result in a series of new collaborations.
NEOMA Future of Leadership Sub-area will keep track of the projects presented at this year’s event and aims to make the conference an annual event.More information on the conference and speakers