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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Complexity has become an important lens through which to view and understand the causes and potencies of individual action and interaction in organizations as well as their meaning for leadership research and practice. This review of key complexity ideas and their theoretical implications for leadership describes emerging theories in the field, highlights the growing empirical support for these approaches, and sets an agenda for future research. The thesis averred is this: just as complexity has become an overarching theoretical paradigm in the natural sciences, it is providing the basis for a paradigm shift in the social sciences, particularly in leadership and organizational studies. Complex systems leadership theory describes the process whereby the rules governing local interactions are changed in response to and anticipation of changing circumstances. In shifting the focus from the individual to the organizing process itself, the complexity leadership perspective has important implications for both research and practice.

Keywords: Complexity leadership, complex systems leadership theory, human interaction dynamics, generative leadership, adaptive leadership, unifying leadership, adaptation, innovation, chaos theory

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