Liberating Leadership: How the Initiative-Freeing Radical Organizational Form Has Been Successfully Adopted
California Management Review, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2009
28 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2011
Date Written: August 1, 2009
Despite great business results of initiative-freeing organizational forms in a number of companies since the late 1950s, most attempts to imitate them have failed. To find out how initiative-freeing forms can be successfully adopted, this research focused on the leadership style that supports such forms’ emergence. For this purpose, initiative-freeing forms have been narrowed to their radical variant - F-form, in which employees have complete freedom and responsibility to take actions that they decide are best. Next, potential F-Form companies were located in the U.S. and Europe and eighteen of them were directly studied along with their leaders who were instrumental in building these companies’ organizational forms. The key aspects of leadership style - which we call liberating - that were revealed as supporting the F-form adoption are: using the needs for intrinsic equality, growth and self-direction as design criteria, sharing a world-class vision, and becoming a culture-keeper. In addition, several prominent leadership traits were revealed, namely: the values of freedom and responsibility, creativity, and wisdom. Liberating leadership supports the adoption of F-form that combines the common good - great economic performance - with the personal good of employees - often called happiness.
Keywords: F-form, organizational forms, leadership, innovation
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