FROM GENERAL LEADERSHIP TO ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP

This chapter accomplishes two basic tasks: (a) it provides a summary of the general definition of leadership I develop in my book Following Reason: A Theory and Strategy for Rational Leadership (2019), with some additional comments relating to the present work; and (b) it reiterates how this general definition may be utilized in order to theorize more specific modes of leading, including rational and ecocentric modes. While the second task shall merely remind us of the study’s method outlined in the Introduction, the first task involves quite an extensive retracing of my general model, as we proceed with the assumption that readers may be unfamiliar with it, and given that the environmental model of leadership that I outline is predicated on the general one, then a sufficient grasp of the fundamental model is required in order to comprehend the specific eco-centered one.

The review begins by re-emphasizing the difficulty of the task of conceiving a general definition. I then summarize the “obvious”-yet-innovative way in which I pursue a definition by re-observing both mundane and historically significant instantiations of leadership. I then recall the outcome of applying this approach: acts of leading appear to involve efforts by leaders and followers to transform existing situations into sufficiently different situations or preserve situations from competing leadership seeking to change them. I foreground the ambiguity and problematic nature of the definition’s elements (“situation,” “sufficient change/maintenance,” etc.). I also briefly address the element of followership in my general formulation, and I explain that the specific question of ecocentric followership is bracketed in the present work because it exceeds the study’s limits. I end the section by explaining that I offer an elementary ecocentric ethic/ethos because the focus of the project is the outline of a theory of eco-centered leadership “rather than” a comprehensive ecocentric ethic/ethos. In the subsequent section, I rehearse how the general definition allows us to differentiate leading from managing, two phenomena that have often been fused or confused in leadership and management studies. By the end of the study, we might be able to conclude that what often passes for “environmental leadership” is actually human-centered-environmental management. In the final section of the chapter, I explain how the proposed general formulation of leading appears to open up the possibility of theorizing more specific forms of leading, including ecocentric leadership.

 
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