Category Archives: Leadership

A process between interdependent people within a specific context and space as they function together across time.

Leadership Process

Leadership of the 20th century originates in a set of values, practices, and beliefs that are becoming less and less relevant to the new generation of workers and consumers (Rost & Barker, 2000; Hetzler & Speth, 2008). From a construct that was once focused on individual power and influence over others, leadership has been reconstructed as a process of interactions between interdependent individuals towards the achievement of goals (Rost & Barker, 2000). Leadership of the 21st century is informed by organizational systems theory, institutional theory, social complexity, and emergence to ground all individual activity over time within a system of interdependent elements bound by a common environment (Rost & Barker, 2000, Thoroughgood, Sawyer, Padilla, Lunsford, 2018; Aula & Siira, 2010; Vilas-Boas, Davel, Bispo, 2018), i.e. the organization. To understand the leadership process, it is helpful for owners, executives, and managers to understand their company as a recursive system of social complexity (Houchin & Maclean, 2005).

Gelfand, Leslie, Keller, & de Dreu (2012) found empirical evidence that supports the existence of three distinct conflict-cultures at the organization-level: collaborative, dominating, and avoidant. These three cultures positively related with the conflict management style of the manager. Collaborative conflict-cultures were seen with managers who cooperate with others to understand shared interests. Dominating conflict-cultures were seen with competitive leaders who use power to coerce others into supporting their position. Avoidant conflict-cultures were seen with leaders who sought to avoid any difficult conversation or situation altogether. They found a negative correlation between collaborative conflict-cultures and individual-level burnout, dominant conflict-cultures and organization-level cohesion, and avoidant conflict-cultures and group-level creativity. Subsequent analysis shows that job satisfaction ratings are impacted by these same conflict-cultures (Choi, 2019) that emerge from individual-level communicative interactions bound within an organization-level context.

From leadership process and communicative constitution perspectives, these findings uncover a need to have stable and structured conflict communication and resolution processes in place that follow a particular conflict-management ideal. If the goal is a collaborative conflict-culture, then leaders must be trained on cooperative conflict-communication and interest-based negotiation (Gelfand, Leslie, Keller, and De Dreu, 2012; Fisher, Ury, & Patton, 2011), and the company must be integrated along an organization-level conflict management system of collaboration that is obvious, available, and comfortable to use for every employee (Hetzler & Speth, 2008). Such a system is known as an Integrative Conflict Management System (ICMS), that actively and consistently works to guide the engagement and resolution of conflict throughout the organizational system at the earliest possible stage with or without formal or legal involvement (Spidr, 2001).

The emergence of culture can theoretically be influenced by a leadership process that involves owners, executives, and managers who not only understand how they and the organization are perceived by their followers, but also how they themselves perceive the organization and their followers. They must also actively engage themselves and others in a spontaneous arena to negotiate congruence of meaning between and within the levels of their company. It is also important for upper-management to understand the circumstances created by the way the work impacts the employees in order to anticipate and/or recognize areas of conflict before they get out of hand.

Company Culture

Benjamin Schneider (1987), argues that humans are not separate from their organizational settings. The two are interdependent, and through a process of attraction, selection, and attrition, individual-level behavior is homogenized around similar people sharing similar experiences of organization-level function and communication. Those that do not feel good about working at the coffee shop, or can’t perform to standards, eventually seek other employment, voluntarily or not. This makes it simply appear as though the organization dictates behavior, and the individual’s follow suit. However, it is more a situation where those that remain support the organization-level to the point that they hold each other accountable under organization-level expectations; if individuals who do not fit well remain with the organization, coherent organization-level functions could become chaotic or disappear altogether due to the incongruences formed by conflicted individuals who must function together in a small space.

Take a coffee shop that was founded by passionate people who built an amazing specialty coffee roaster that grew quickly by providing a unique and great place for guests to socialize and work over high-quality coffee. If the original discourse that guided the emergence of such a great place are not maintained as these original people move on, then those that replace them may become less passionate about coffee. The coffee shop may slowly lose quality of coffee and professionalism if it does not have a stable structure or a system to train new-hires to that structure. Without these, upper-management may not be able to guide the selection process, the professional baristas who are initially attracted to the company might get selected out because the company itself is not a professional environment. Through this attrition of the professionals, all that’s left is part-time, minimum wage workers who do not care about increasing their levels of professionalism and skill, and the whole organization will likely stagnate.

To increase the benefit of the selection and attrition process, it is imperative that coffee shop owners and managers hire for fit rather than for need (Newton, 2017). This isn’t just about hiring for fit with the job demands either, it is important that new hires be screened to ensure they fit in with the company culture as well (Green, 2017). Being that culture will inform the appropriate behavior of everyone working for the coffee shop, individual incongruence with organizational culture can increase workplace conflict and undermine teamwork through a lack of shared meaning and social integration (Salas, et al., 2015). Research from organizational change management suggests that the best way to maintain organizational stability during times of change, such as an increase in new-hires or modification of routines, is to maintain the existing organization-level discourse to constrain the inevitable meaning reconstruction in a congruent way with the existing organizational meaning (McClellan, 2014). Hiring for job and culture fit will also decrease emotional labor by increasing authenticity and positive meaning of work for all the stakeholders. For baristas and managers alike, one of the most important structures to systematically maintain is how individual, group, and organizational conflicts are engaged, managed, and resolved.



Green, S. (2017). Culture Hacker. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

McClellan, J. G. (2014). Announcing change: Discourse, Uncertainty, and Organizational Control. Journal of Change
Management, 14
(2). 192-209.

Newton, T. (2017, July 19). How to keep your best baristas from quitting. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved from

Salas, E., Shuffler, M. L., Thayer, A. L., Bedwell, W. L., Lazzara, E. H. (2015). Understanding and improving teamwork in
organizations: A scientifically based practical guide. Human Resource Management, 54(4). 599-622.

Schneider, B. (1987). The People Make the Place. Personnel Psychology, 40(3), 437–453.


Read ‘Misattribution’

“There’s not much the county can do to ward off coyotes,” says county chairman Tim Lee. He goes on to explain that officials can’t do anything to contain these animals.
Wildlife biologist Brent Womack adds, “You’re going to find them from swamps to wetlands, from urban areas to suburban.”

“Confusion between behaviors of coyotes and dogs can lead to the wild animals getting the blame for actions of their domestic counterparts.”
Womack concludes that coyotes may be chased off by throwing rocks, making loud noises, or creating other such novel deterrents.

Coyote Warning: “You Just Have To Be Mindful They’re Here.” Marietta Daily Journal. 24 July, 2013.