Featured Member Publications

ILA members publish on the topic of leadership from a variety of perspectives. We are pleased to feature a selection of these publications on our website.

Creating Organizational Value through Dialogical Leadership: Boiling Rice in Still Water

Book_JacketBy Rens van Loon

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Chapter 3 - Dialogical Leadership

This chapter holds the 'heart of the vision'. It explains how Dialogical Self Theory relates to leadership and what it means for organizations today. It discusses the link between leaders and followers and the idea of reciprocal exchange. Inspired by the theory and practice of the Dialogical Self, I introduced the term Dialogical Leader in 2003,1 where the concept of Dialogical Self was applied to leadership for the first time. The idea of Dialogical Leadership developed as we were confronted in our practice with leaders that did not flexibly adjust to roles they have to fulfill in the workplace, although they showed these capabilities in other domains of their life. The concept of Dialogical Leadership enables leaders to reflect on and act in the different roles they have to fulfill by starting an internal dialogue between I-positions (as roles they play in life in general). The concept is internationally coined in 2015 in the article Dialogical Leadership. Dialogue as Condition Zero'. 2 At Tilburg University (the Netherlands) I did my inaugural speech as professor of Dialogical Leadership in 2015 on October 9th, titled: Dialogical Leadership. Across Boundaries.

Starting from a definition of leadership as a relational process (Sect. 3.1), the myth of the leader-follower dichotomy is questioned (Sect. 3.2). After having defined Dialogical Leadership (Sect. 3.3) the approach is applied to practice. Before going to Part II—the Practice—a personal reflection is given (Sect. 3.4) and questions for the reader (Sect. 3.5).

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Author_PhotoRens van Loon is a professor of Dialogical Leadership at School of Humanities, Tilburg University, and a director of Leadership at Deloitte Netherlands. He is specialized in leadership, organizational change, and transformation. He has been a consultant for more than 25 years developing global leadership programs. Rens' work extends the concepts of Dialogical Self Theory to the leadership of organizations, drawing on social constructionism and leadership frameworks. Rens is a board member of the International Leadership Association (ILA), active in the International Society for Dialogical Science (ISDS), and the Dialogical Self Academy (DSA). He is the author of numerous books and articles.

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