Emerald Article: Applying new science theories in leadership development activities Stephen A. Stumpf
To cite this document: Stephen A. Stumpf, (1995),"Applying new science theories in leadership development activities", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 14 Iss: 5 pp. 39 - 49 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02621719510081250 Downloaded on: 24-11-2012 Citations: This document has been cited by 3 other documents To copy this document: email@example.com This document has been downloaded 1305 times since 2005. *
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Applying new science theories in leadership development activities Stephen A. Stumpf
The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA
If one assumes that the breakthroughs in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences over the last four-score years have added new layers of meaning to our world, then it is worthwhile to ask “Do new science discoveries have implications for leadership in work organizations?” Certainly, the natural science discoveries of Newton and others in past centuries affected our views of organizations. The organizational form we call a bureaucracy reflects our knowledge of structural mechanics – a bureaucracy is intended to be a set of parts (people) with functions (roles) that follow accepted scientific principles (policies). This machine metaphor for organizations remains pervasive as we continue to try to determine, predict, measure, and evaluate all sorts of organizational phenomena (i.e. a Newtonian cause and effect view of organizational behaviour). Recently, Wheatley suggested several implications of new science theories that can be useful in understanding and improving how organizations are designed, perceived, and function. Unless these implications are developed and translated into the practices of leaders, the utility of new science discoveries will be minimal. A group of colleagues at New York University (NYU) unknowingly created a virtual organization in 1980 based on today’s new science premisses. True to the new science paradigms, we neither knew that we were a virtual organization nor that we shared new science premisses until we observed ourselves over time. Our name at founding, the NYU Management Simulation Projects Group, and the creation of the not-for-profit MSP Institute, Inc. several years later, reflects the content of what we are about – designing and using management simulations to help others learn how to be more effective in work organizations. The founding in 1993 of the Center for Leadership at The University of Tampa provided the opportunity to reflect on our activities. Writings on the applications of new science theories to the organizational sciences capture much of our evolution. Our leadership development approach and activities are consistent with new science implications for...