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Leading with two eyes: leadership failures and possibilities in the management of a pulp mill’s wicked problem

Leading with two eyes: leadership failures and possibilities in the management of a pulp mill’s... The motivation for this paper comes from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation’s (TRC) Calls to Action, and in particular, the call for more meaningful consultation and respectful, consent-based relationships between businesses and Indigenous communities in Canada. To this end, this study empirically examines leadership in the context of a wicked problem faced by a pulp and paper mill and suggest an Indigenous epistemology as helpful to inform the leadership behaviours employed in this company.Design/methodology/approachFirstly, this study established that the problem faced by the company aligns with the characteristics of wicked problems, hence necessitating a collective leadership approach. This study then compiled a database from publicly available documents and inductively coded this data to identify themes that told us something about the leadership behaviours employed by the company as it attempted to resolve the problem at hand.FindingsThis study provides evidence that the company did not employ collective leadership when attempting to tame its wicked problem. It then shows that the context in which the firm operates lends itself well to the Mi’kmaw concept of Two-Eyed Seeing as a guiding principle that could have informed the company’s leadership and contributed to a long-overdue process of reconciliation. This study proposes several specific actions that plausibly could have helped produce such an outcome.Originality/valueThis paper helps fill a void in applications of the wicked problem construct to businesses. Further, this study suggests that the problem faced by this firm remained difficult to tame precisely because it failed to employ a collective leadership approach. The contribution to the leadership literature comes from introducing Two-Eyed Seeing and showing how it may help produce leadership that is inherently more collective in nature. Beyond its instrumental value, this approach may nurture more consent-based relationships between businesses and Indigenous communities in Canada, as called for by the TRC, hence contributing to reconciliation with a long-suffering neighbouring Indigenous community. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Leading with two eyes: leadership failures and possibilities in the management of a pulp mill’s wicked problem

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1746-5648
DOI
10.1108/qrom-01-2022-2278
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The motivation for this paper comes from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation’s (TRC) Calls to Action, and in particular, the call for more meaningful consultation and respectful, consent-based relationships between businesses and Indigenous communities in Canada. To this end, this study empirically examines leadership in the context of a wicked problem faced by a pulp and paper mill and suggest an Indigenous epistemology as helpful to inform the leadership behaviours employed in this company.Design/methodology/approachFirstly, this study established that the problem faced by the company aligns with the characteristics of wicked problems, hence necessitating a collective leadership approach. This study then compiled a database from publicly available documents and inductively coded this data to identify themes that told us something about the leadership behaviours employed by the company as it attempted to resolve the problem at hand.FindingsThis study provides evidence that the company did not employ collective leadership when attempting to tame its wicked problem. It then shows that the context in which the firm operates lends itself well to the Mi’kmaw concept of Two-Eyed Seeing as a guiding principle that could have informed the company’s leadership and contributed to a long-overdue process of reconciliation. This study proposes several specific actions that plausibly could have helped produce such an outcome.Originality/valueThis paper helps fill a void in applications of the wicked problem construct to businesses. Further, this study suggests that the problem faced by this firm remained difficult to tame precisely because it failed to employ a collective leadership approach. The contribution to the leadership literature comes from introducing Two-Eyed Seeing and showing how it may help produce leadership that is inherently more collective in nature. Beyond its instrumental value, this approach may nurture more consent-based relationships between businesses and Indigenous communities in Canada, as called for by the TRC, hence contributing to reconciliation with a long-suffering neighbouring Indigenous community.

Journal

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Keywords: Leadership; Wicked problems; Reconciliation; Two-Eyed Seeing

References