Leadership Development: A Complexity Approach, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Leadership Development

A Complexity Approach, 1st Edition

By Kevin Flinn


192 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Drawing on the complexity sciences and personal narrative accounts of experience from practitioners based in the UK, Germany, Denmark and North America, this book examines conventional leadership development methodologies with a view to identifying what is useful and what is not. It proffers an alternative perspective on leadership and organisation for business schools, consultancies and corporate training functions to adopt in their development of leaders.

Leadership Development: A Complexity Approach is essential reading for advanced students and researchers of leadership development, leadership studies, human resource management and organisational development. It will also be of interest to management educators and practising managers whose experience of, or aspirations for, working life are not represented in mainstream academic texts and popular management literature.


Kevin Flinn’s book on Leadership Development is an important antidote to the usual literature on leadership and leadership development. Instead of simply reinforcing largely mythical accounts of some idealised story about what leadership should be, Flinn’s book insightfully reflects on the actual experience of leading and proposes useful approaches to developing that experience.

- Ralph Stacey, Professor of Management, Hertfordshire Business School, UK

In this gem of a book, you will find no best practices and no short cuts but a spirited writer reflecting upon his extensive practice of leadership development. If you are sceptical of prescriptions, but want to be introduced to tools and techniques for reflexivity, this book is for you. In addition, you will get a comprehensive overview of current management literature. I can highly recommend it.

- Henry Larsen, Professor of Participatory Innovation, University of Southern Denmark

Kevin Flinn’s book is a welcomed addition to the still very small number of books written on the topic of Complexity and Management. Kevin builds on the tremendously important work of Ralph Stacey and his colleagues and adds his own story creating an important contribution to the study of management both in theory and in practice.

- Esko Kilpi, Founder, Esko Kilpi Company, Finland

A timely insight into the theory and practice of leadership and leadership development in a world characterised by complexity and uncertainty. In this book Kevin Flinn provides a refreshingly frank take on the limitations of traditional approaches and a thorough and illuminating exploration of an alternative, rooted in the insights of over a decade’s experience working with students and practicing managers to understand how things really get done in groups and organisations.

- Richard Bolden, Director of Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, University of the West of England, UK

Table of Contents

Preface and Introduction

Chapter 1 - Leadership, management and entrepreneurship

Chapter 2 - Rethinking leadership

Chapter 3 - Rethinking leadership development

Chapter 4 - Coaching, psychometrics and 360 degree feedback

Chapter 5 - Forum theatre

Chapter 6 - Experiential exercises

Chapter 7 - Action Learning Sets

Chapter 8 - Reflections

About the Author

Kevin Flinn is Head of Leadership and Organisational Development at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, a Visiting Lecturer at Hertfordshire Business School, an Associate with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and an Associate Member of the Institute of Group Analysis

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Development