Features of Highly Adaptable Senior Leadership Teams

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When this research was proposed, approved by the Supervisory Committee, and then vetted in the Candidacy Examination, there was no COVID-19 pandemic. After CFREB ethics clearance, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. So, a study of executive level senior leadership teams of a provincewide healthcare system was not only important and unique, but it also meant researching a system that was in various states of hope, concern, complexity, and chaos—in real time. As exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, in today’s dynamic environments, leaders need to be nimble, comfortable with uncertainty, and ready to change (Kowch, 2013b; Pulakos et al., 2000). Indeed, the call for leaders to enable organizations, and people, for adaptability—the “ability to move quickly toward new opportunities” (Birkinshaw & Gibson, 2004, p. 47), to help manage complex competing tensions, and avoid complacency, has hardly been more pressing. Using complexity leadership theory as a framework (Lichtenstein et al., 2006; Uhl-Bien & Arena, 2018; Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2009; Uhl-Bien et al., 2007), this qualitative descriptive multi-case research examined multiple complex features that shaped the adaptive capacity of executive level senior leadership teams within a provincewide healthcare organization. This research used a pilot and successfully tested the research design. Using in-depth, one-on-one, semi-structured interviews of twelve executive level senior leaders, thorough document review, and the close monitoring of current events and news stories relevant to healthcare issues, this research investigated how the senior leadership teams enabled or constrained their adaptive capacity (Kowch, 2013a). Findings provide evidence that in context, the senior leadership teams took a path constraining their adaptive capacity (Philip & Sengupta, 2020). Some essentials of systems thinking, and dynamic system action were also found missing in this research indicating opportunities for future similar executive level senior leadership team research. Findings reveal: (a) a lack of informal networks, (b) misalignment between the leaders, and (c) little to no experimentation within the senior leadership teams. These findings answer the research questions and reveal how the senior leadership teams enabled or constrained their adaptability.
case study, complex adaptive systems, complexity leadership theory, complexity theory, dyads, leadership, leadership development, managers, network, professional development, score, senior leadership teams, systems, systems thinking, teams, the Ministry
Fossey, R. (2022). Features of highly adaptable senior leadership teams (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.