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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Susanne Braun

Braun, S., Schyns, B. & Peus, C. (2016). Conclusion: Leadership lessons from compelling contexts. In Leadership lessons from compelling contexts. Peus, C., Braun, S. & Schyns, B. Bingley, UK: Emerald. 8: 465-479.

Author(s) from Durham


In this final chapter, we summarize the core challenges to leadership in complex organizational systems as well as the lessons that we believe leaders can learn from the contributions presented in this book. Building on Complexity Leadership Theory (Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2009), we argue that high levels of complexity characterize the contexts described, and that they are unusual because they deviate from the setting of standard business organizations. Since these contexts are not often discussed in the general leadership literature, there seems to be a largely unused potential in terms of leadership learning. Specifically, in order to better contextualize leadership, scholars and practitioners need to take organizational complexity into account. With reference to the underlying structure of the book, core challenges to leadership are proposed, clustering around four main foci: sports and competition, high risk, creativity and innovation, care and community. Subsequently, we derive six lessons for leadership: adaptability, perseverance, handling paradox, leading with values, inventing the future, and sharing responsibility. We thereby hope to stimulate fruitful discussions that put leadership into context and capitalize on complexity theory as an innovative approach to leadership research and practice.