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Reflective Human Action

By Dorothy I. Mitstifer
Adapted from 
© 1998 A Leadership Journal: Women in Leadership--Sharing the Vision
(Vol. 2, No. 2) of the Leadership Institute of Columbia College, South Carolina.

This article details the theoretical framework of Reflective Human Action, a values-based comprehensive leadership theory. After the core features and principles are briefly described, the article shares application experiences and gives suggestions for pre-professional and professional development.

Leadership theory abounds in the current popular and scholarly literature. This deluge has an inspirational and chaotic effect on decisions regarding the adoption of a theory for leadership development. Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society faced this dilemma in 1994 when a theory was sought for the advancement of the family and consumer sciences/human sciences and for professional development of students and professionals. The intent was to examine the literature for a direction and a source of educational materials. This paper is the story of that search and the subsequent outcomes.

The renaissance of the values-based approach to leadership (promoted from such diverse arenas as religion, business, education, and organizational development) provided the inspiration. It’s surprising that some of the strongest support has come out of business; these leaders have helped the rest of us promote values again after experiencing a “value-free era.” The domination by such things as the theory of situational leadership and the emphases on personal traits and positional/functional leadership had the effect of maintaining formal hierarchical and paternalistic organizational structures. Once again we are able to discuss spirit and soul and heart in the same domain as leadership. Such staunch advocates as John Gardner (1989), Max DePree (1992), and Robert Greenleaf (1977) have “hung in there” over time to emphasize values.

What approach should we adopt? We experienced chaos; the new literature arrived on the scene so fast it was hard to keep up. A colleague and I searched and read and searched some more, and both of us built a considerable leadership library. “The search for a leadership perspective for the twenty-first century grew out of a conviction that all professionals have a responsibility to lead—to use their competencies in each community of practice, whether it be family, neighborhood, organization, institution, or government” (Mitstifer, 1995, p. 1). Order began to form; we determined that an appropriate perspective required the following criteria: “represent nonpositional leadership and imply a responsibility of all professionals for leadership, be intellectually and morally defensible, link theory and action, and link the how and why of action, the spiritual connection” (Mitstifer, 1995, p. 1). Gradually we narrowed our thinking and focus to Robert Terry’s work at the Reflective Leadership Center, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and his book, Authentic Leadership (1993), to Margaret Wheatley’s work described in Leadership and the New Science (1994), to Sally Helgesen’s work (1990, 1995) related to the web of inclusion as a group process and structure, to the work of Wilford Drath and Charles Palus (Center for Creative Leadership, 1994) who coined the concept of community of practice as a description of the context for leadership, and to Bolman and Deal (1991) who framed organizations according to structural, human resource, political, and symbolic features. Contributions to our focus were made by many other theorists: Peter Block (1987, 1993), Tom Chappell (1993), Jay Conger (1994), Stephen Covey (1991, 1994), John Kotter (1996), James Kouzes and Barry Posner (1987, 1995), Thomas Moore (1992), James O’Toole (1995), Peter Senge (1990), and others too numerous to mention.

Out of the work of these mentors, my colleagues and I developed a conceptual framework for Reflective Human Action. Our efforts appear to reflect Boyer’s definition of the “scholarship of integration” (1990). The name for this theory implies the conceptual framework. Reflection is

. . . the ability to think about what you are doing while you are doing it. This reflection-in-action implies competence and artistry as well as commitment to learning through reflection on practice. With thoughtful naming and framing, the dimensions of a situation become apparent. Inventing and testing, a kind of improvisation, then can determine the human action. Reflection ensures a search for meaning, an appreciation of uncertainty, and a responsible inquiry. In other words, reflective engagement matters. (Mitstifer, 1995, p. 2)

Leadership is conceptualized as a subset of human action.

It is an engagement with life and lifelong commitment to human fulfillment. Thus leadership is the action itself, the total engagement offered for the well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants. It is taking “responsibility for ourselves in concert with others, . . .[creating] a global commonwealth worthy of the best that we human beings have to offer”(Terry, 1993, p. 275). (Mitstifer, 1995, p. 2)

Another dimension of Reflective Human Action is the context for leadership.

Drath and Palus (1994) describe leadership as a shared human process, meaning-making in a community of practice. “Leadership is intimately connected to processes of group . . . and even [to] species-wide integration and togetherness and ultimately to communal survival, growth, and enhancement” (p. 13). (Mitstifer, 1995, p. 2)

Wheatley (1994, 1999) promulgated the primacy of relationships in human endeavors in her application of the new sciences to leadership and organizational development. As we connect to one another and to the environment, patterns and structures emerge. Organized patterns of behavior develop from simple connections. “Life always organizes as networks of relationships, spinning dense webs that can’t be disentangled. As we organize, we need to keep inquiring into the quality of our relationships” (Wheatley & Kellner-Rogers, 1996, p. 39). McCollom (1995) supports this same notion when he states that we pay too little attention to the effect of work environments on the human spirit. “Command and control” as a leadership style was more concerned with the task and the formal hierarchy than with the creativity and fulfillment of workers, with the welfare of the environment. Emphasis on relationships helps organizations adapt to environments that change rapidly and are increasingly complex. No longer can organizations thrive on “a vision that wastes talent and resources, breeds frustration and cynicism, and fosters an atmosphere of us-against-them” (Helgesen, 1995, p. 13).

All of these concepts directed us toward the definition of Reflective Human Action as an active, mind-engaging process of meaning-making in a community of practice. The core features of this approach include authenticity, ethical sensibility, and spirituality as well as the features of action: mission, meaning, existence, resources, structure, power, and fulfillment. The principles for practice within the community environment include: accept chaos, share information, develop relationships, and embrace vision. The relationship of the core features and principles are depicted in the Reflective Human Action Model (Figure 1). The next two sub-sections describe these in more depth.

Figure 1. Reflective Human Action Model

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Core Features of Reflective Human Action

Authenticity is the ability to be true to one’s own personality, spirit, and character. Its importance relates to its effect on action: to be authentic is to act, engage, be genuine and trustworthy, reflect, question, and correct how decisions are made.

Ethical Sensibilitymeans that leadership needs to be intellectually and morally defensible. Ethical action includes accountability for action, attention and caring, engagement, fairness, potential and possibility, and commitment over time.

Spirituality refers to depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance. Rather than emphasis on a special religion or faith, spirituality is at the core of human life. Bolman and Deal (1995, p. 6) describe it as that “human capacity that gives our lives passion and purpose.”

Features of Actionrefers to a set of elements implicit or explicit in every action. By knowing that every action has these features, a community of practice can discover what is really going on and frame the issue for the work of the group. From this perspective, issue framing is a critical task of leadership. If the leadership action does not improve the situation or solve the issue, it is likely that there is an error in framing. Mission is the direction of human action, the purpose, the expectation, the aim, the vision, the goal, the intention, and the objective. Mission answers the question: What is the ultimate purpose of this action? Meaning expresses significance and legitimacy and puts mission into context. Meaning answers the question: Why am I doing this action? Existence is history of this event, situation, or action. Resources are the critical assets needed to accomplish the mission. Structure refers to the plans and processes through which action will be accomplished. Power is the expenditure of energy—the decision, the passion, and the will to commit to action. Fulfillment (change) is the completed action.

Principles of Reflective Human Action

Accept chaos is acknowledgment of the messiness of life. But despite the situation, the new sciences demonstrate that there is an unerring ability to find order, to retain an essential identity. Wheatley & Kellner-Rogers (1996) state it well:

Life uses messes to get to well-ordered solutions. Life doesn’t seem to share our desires for efficiency or neatness. It uses redundancy, fuzziness, dense webs of relationships, and unending trials and errors to find what works.

Life is intent on finding what works, not what’s “right.” It is the ability to keep finding solutions that is important; any one solution is temporary. There are no permanently right answers. The capacity to keep changing, to find what works now, is what keeps any organism alive (p. 13).

Share informationas a principle is the substance, the invisible workings, of creation. Information is a resource that moves through the system, disturbs the peace, nourishes new life, engenders creativity, and encourages innovation.

[I]nformation is not an entity to condense, package, and pass along in memos. Rather it must be treated as a dynamic quality that nourishes change and creative ideas. Information, freely generated and exchanged, becomes the basic ingredient of the universe.” (Andrews, Mitstifer, Rehm, & Vaughn, 1995, p. II-13)

Develop relationships is a core notion, some would say the critical principle, of Reflective Human Action. “Reality is created as people and ideas and events meet and change in relationship to each other” (Andrews, et al, 1995, p. I-4). Wheatley (1994) states it simply: nothing exists outside of relationships. In new science language, there are bundles of potential moving throughout the organization, and nothing comes into existence until it is in relationship with some other energy field—a person, idea, or event.

Embrace visionas a principle is best explained from the perspective of field theory, which teaches us that space is occupied by unseen structures that have broad and significant impacts. Vision as an invisible force influences all activities and decisions and emerges from the good hearts and thinking of persons in a group. In order for vision to give clarity about purpose and direction it must be intentional and consistent.

A quote from Terry (1993) summarizes the ultimate goal of Reflective Human Action.

Leadership is not a means to another end. It is not instrumental. Leadership is the action itself. . . . Leadership is a gift to be unwrapped and treasured; leadership is choice, to be claimed; leadership is part of a web of interdependent actions, to be made functionally whole; leadership is participation, to be energized; leadership is adventure, to be embraced; leadership is creativity and innovation, to be playful. Leadership is total engagement offered for the well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants. (p. 273)

The core features and principles are engaged during meaning-making in a community of practice. The next section describes the Action Wheel, which assists the critical task of issue framing, and subsequent action.

Action Wheel

Reflective Human Action utilizes the conceptual framework of the Action Wheel (Terry, 1993) as a diagnostic and intervention tool in framing issues and understanding what is really going on. Terry’s research led him to study the features of action because he determined that leadership was not techniques, quick fixes, or heroics, but “a particular mode of engagement with life, requiring a lifelong commitment to growing toward human fulfillment” (p. 15). Terry and his colleagues developed a framework of patterns that order the seven features of action and generate insights about issues. This framework, the Action Wheel, described the developmental relationships among the features of action. Therefore, after accurately framing the issue, leadership can use the next developmental stage as the intervention for solving the leadership issue. Because leadership includes all elements of action, a group has to continue on through the developmental stages after the initial intervention. The Action Wheel is not a mechanistic tool; interaction, creativity, and playfulness will be required to identify the underlying issue and subsequent leadership actions. The Reflective Human Action model (Figure 1) depicts the action components at the outer edge with change (fulfillment) as the outermost circle. The beginning of the arrow identifies the framed issue and the target of the arrow indicates the initial intervention.

Thus far this paper has described the search for a leadership direction, the development of a theory, and the theoretical model. The next section describes approaches for pre-professional and professional leadership development.

Application of the Theory - Leadership Module

Kappa Omicron Nu has a history of developing educational modules to accompany program initiatives. The underlying assumption of the modules is that learning has to do with what happens in the unique world of the learner. This educational approach values active involvement and dialogue as the source of learning. After the theoretical framework was formed, authors were sought to create experiential activities to teach the significant concepts of the theory. A decision was made to organize the educational activities according to Terry’s (1993) classification of current leadership theories into seven schools of leadership: personal, team, positional/ functional, political, visionary, ethical, and authentic (which was adapted to reflective human action). Terry does not discredit the various leadership approaches but demonstrates, through his scholarly analysis, the theoretical development of leadership over time and the limitations of the various approaches.

The educational module with four theory chapters and three chapters of experiential activities was published in 1995, and the remaining chapters in two stages will be published during 1997 and 1998. In addition to the module as a source for understanding leadership on an individualized basis, it serves as a resource for development of coursework, training sessions, and workshops.

Application of the Theory - Workshops

The first workshop was conducted as a pilot in August 1995 at a national Kappa Omicron Nu meeting; two tracks, one for students and one for professionals, were offered in a two and one-half day format. Workshop activities included large group and small group activities, various media, role-playing, case studies, and evaluation exercises. Workshop facilitators included three authors and two professionals involved in previous Kappa Omicron Nu program development. These five individuals were involved also in reviewing and refining materials for publication, and they have continued to serve as the faculty for future training. This writer served as both a co-author and editor of the Module and workshop facilitator. Another national workshop with student and professional tracks will be conducted in 1997.

This team conducted the second national workshop for unit administrators of home economics/family and consumer sciences. In order to personalize experiential activities, participants were contacted in advance to identify significant issues for case studies. A third national workshop, entitled “Taking Charge of Change,” is currently being planned for professionals in our field. The workshop designs are similar in content and process; although they represent an introductory level, participants with prior experience could benefit because the group interactions differ and new insights evolve.

A comprehensive evaluation study is just now being developed to determine the impact of training over time and the benefit of Reflective Human Action to individuals and the organizations they represent. Evaluation processes were used during each of the training programs; among the activities were some to get immediate feedback so that confusion could be turned into clarity at a later session, others were to help participants clarify their own learning and make a further commitment, and still others were to guide refinement of future training programs.

The One-Minute Paper was an opportunity to pause during the workshop and at the end to take stock, communicate questions and insights, summarize, or agree/disagree. Representative of this process are the following excerpts from college students during the workshop:

Chaos is not necessarily a negative concept. It can be the impetus for constructive change. But, how much is too much? When does it interfere with the program?

This session made me reflect on the “Northridge earthquake” last year, and how through all the chaos of losing possessions, people, and composure, we were able to join together again. It is amazing what can be accomplished with so much utter chaos abounding.

In this session I learned about vision. I never really thought of the word applying to leadership until today. Vision is something you need in everyday life as well as leadership for it is expressive of purpose and direction, and everybody needs a vision—a direction.

This session would have been a lot better for me if we had more time to complete the activities.

Chaos is full of potential that can enable people to use their abilities in a positive manner. I had a negative connotation of the word, but from this seminar I envision that leadership that deals with chaos, instead of trying to predict its course, will find that it is a positive force.

This session geared me towards thinking about interactions (relationships) in an organization, and it will help me focus throughout the rest of the conference.

I’m anxious now to discuss how actual organizations can incorporate these concepts. This would help us see the effects more clearly.

In reference to the two scenarios, many felt that Scenario #1 lacked what Dr. Terry Deal emphasized as no pride or signature in their work. Scenario #4 was one that our whole group would much prefer to be involved with. [The two scenarios compared a top-down autocratic organization and one based on participative decision-making and shared leadership.]

This session was productive and amazing. People who had never met before felt comfortable sharing their ideas and encouraged ideas of others. I hope to take this back to my chapter and to other organizations I am involved in. When everyone is comfortable with each other, ideas flow freely and you come up with ideas never considered before.

The final activity of each workshop was a fun activity of skits, cinquains, and rhymes as well as an opportunity to summarize the experience. The following verse hints at the impact.

It was an energizing time for all

For leaders to heed the call.

Reflective human leadership action

We’ll form a brand new faction.

New concepts, new theories, new friends

New ways to help us all mend.

I know how to lead with soul

With head and heart, life won’t take its toll.

Cinquains are written by dyads in the following format: first line of one word to identify the topic, second line of two words to describe topic, third line of three words to give action about topic, and fourth line of four words to give my feelings about topic. Examples follow.

Mission—

Gives direction,

Moving toward purpose,

Provides security for all.

 

Authenticity—

True self,

Reflect the real,

Empower others to be.

Application of the Theory - Personal Stories

Personal stories of the usefulness of Reflective Human Action demonstrate its impact in working with groups and provide a source for case studies to be used in workshop activities. The following personal stories indicate the value of Reflective Human Action.

Because of the Action Wheel I have been able to diagnose a troubling issue. Our award committee has been frustrated because few applications have been received for the research grant program for integrative, cross-specialization research. Committee members question: How can we improve this situation? Why aren’t there more applications when the professional rhetoric encourages us to promote integration? What will help us get more applications? Because our track record is so poor, should the award be maintained? This issue seems to deal with existence. We know the mission and the meaning, we question the existence, and so the intervention should deal with resources. The award program needs more definition. A report dealing with potential topics of research within the targeted domain could serve as a resource for developing research questions and proposals. It seems clear, then, that the organization needs to obtain general agreement about specific needs within integrative research. Therefore, we are presently contemplating the development of a panel of experts to identify research needs or the sponsorship of a national conference to examine the integrative research needs of our profession or a combination of these approaches.

One of the most helpful new concepts for me deals with the principle, accept chaos. The application of this principle to organizations helps me to be patient for order to appear. My prior practice was to prevent messes, maintain control of process. On the one hand I had known for sometime that a challenge had to be significant enough to desire personal change, but on the other hand I had not applied that notion to organizational change. Now I can see that I need to help my colleagues accept that chaos is a necessary part of all change. This is hard to do because the culture is so committed to neat solutions and careful planning to make change happen smoothly. I like giving up efficiency as a goal; intuitively I understood that creativity suffers when such tight control reigns. Margaret Wheatley (1994) has been helpful to me in not only awareness but in acceptance and action. I need to be patient too with my colleagues who haven’t yet accepted this principle. Now that I feel more comfortable with messes I can also be less fearful of failure. Trial and error is a way to get to well-ordered solutions. And because there are no permanently right answers I can increase my own capacity for changing. This implies a certain “aliveness;” life is not a boring, stagnant existence. I need to welcome chaos to promote aliveness.

As president of my professional association I had just received a letter of resignation from the management company because the “shrinking budget and increasing needs have exacerbated the situation beyond our ability to continue to provide management.” I was also concerned because the Board complains, “We need more support to do our work.” “We can’t make do with what we have.” The issue appeared to be resources; thus the intervention should deal with structure. Structure evolves from information exchange, and the ability to be creative or to plan requires process structures. I decided that the Board should do a task analysis (assuming priorities were already set for the important ends of the organization) and then decide what processes and flexible structures are needed to accomplish the important task and which aspects (managerial, programmatic, structural, and human resources) need to be modified or eliminated. I felt good that the Action Wheel helped me to identify the critical issue that needed to faced when the Board held its next meeting. Although I intended to help the group identify the issue, I felt my advance thinking could help board members resolve this crisis.

I’m so glad to have had the benefit of Reflective Human Action (RHA) theory during my recent experience with change in higher education. My department was at the mercy of an autocratic president who made decisions without the benefit of input from others at lower levels of the hierarchical structure. I truly believe Helgesen’s (1995) view that thriving organizations do not waste talent and resources, breed frustration and cynicism, and foster an atmosphere of us-against-them. That’s why it was so hard to endure the exact opposite. In the midst of the trauma of orders, mixed messages, changed explanations, misquoted statements, questionable ethics, etc., it was hard to maintain my own personal integrity, let alone help my faculty deal with the situation. My own authenticity, ethical sensibility, and spirituality provided me with the strength to deal with the insensitivity, the political games, and the activities of the game plan that could have made me feel unsure of myself. I have spent a great deal of my life getting myself and my physical environment positioned so I could spend my time at work on building the relationships necessary to accomplish the shared goals of the faculty. My acceptance of chaos causes me to search for the order until I find it—I know it is there somewhere. In this search, productivity, relationships, etc. literally diminish until I stop and ask, “Where is all of this going?” I do know that change is the name of the game and that life is going to keep changing and using messes to find a solution that works. My reading and thinking about RHA provided me with the mental capacity to think about what was occurring, to frame the issue, and to respond with courage even though I knew that my decision was not going to be popular. Despite my intellectual awareness I know that messes aren’t comfortable for me; now I want to focus on welcoming messes to get to well-ordered solutions.

Summary

Capra (1991) is convincing in his declaration that to favor “self-assertion over integration, analysis over synthesis, rational knowledge over intuitive wisdom, science over religion, competition over cooperation, expansion over conservation, . . ..” (p. 8) leads to a crisis of social, ecological, moral, and spiritual dimensions. Reflective Human Action is an effort to integrate these dimensions into a holistic approach to leadership. Although not universal yet, a cultural transformation is underway—from a mechanistic worldview that described the universe as a mechanical system, the human as a machine, life as a competitive struggle, and the goals as unlimited material progress, to an “ecological worldview” (Capra, 1991) of fundamental interdependence of all life in its multiple manifestations and cycles of change and transformation. Researchers in various disciplines are developing this new vision of reality that ultimately transforms deep ecological awareness into spiritual awareness. Thus Reflective Human Action is on the cutting edge, expressive of this new cultural transformation. (Andrews, et al., 1995, p. I-21)

References

Andrews, F. E., Mitstifer, D. I., Rehm, M., & Vaughn, G. G. (1995). Leadership: Reflective Human Action. East Lansing, MI: Kappa Omicron Nu.

Block, P. (1987). The empowered manager. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self-interest. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1991). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1995). Leading with soul: An uncommon journey of spirit. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Capra, F. (1991). The Tao of physics: An exploration of the parallels between modern physics and eastern mysticism. Boston: Shambhala.

Chappell, T. (1993). The soul of business. New York: Bantam Books.

Conger, J. A. (1994). Spirit at work: Discovering the spirituality in leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Covey, S. R. (1991). Principle-centered leadership. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Covey, S. R. (1994). First things first. New York: Simon and Schuster.

DePree, M. (1992). Leadership jazz. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Drath, W. H., & Palus, C. J. (1994). Making common sense: Leadership as meaning-making in a community of practice. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Gardner, J. (1989). On leadership. New York: Free Press.

Greenleaf, R. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

Helgesen, S. (1990). Female advantage: Women’s ways of leadership New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Helgesen, S. (1995). The web of inclusion: A new architecture for building great organizations. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (1987, 1995). The leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

McCollum, J. (1995). Chaos, complexity, and servant leadership. In L. C. Spears (Ed.), Reflections on leadership. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Mitstifer, D. I. (Ed.). (1995). Leadership. Kappa Omicron Nu Dialogue, 5(3), 1-4.

Moore, T. (1992). Care of the soul: A guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life. New York: HarperCollins.

O’Toole, J. (1995). Leading change: The argument for values-based leadership. New York: Ballantine Books.

Senge, P.  M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Terry, R. W. (1993). Authentic leadership: Courage in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wheatley, M. J. (1994). Leadership and the new science: Learning about organization from an orderly universe. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Wheatley, M. J., & Kellner-Rogers, M. (1996). A simpler way. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

About the Author

Dr. Dorothy Mitstifer is Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society in the field of home economics/family and consumer sciences, Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of College Honor Societies, and editor of the journal, Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM, and the newsletter, Dialogue. In addition to her administrative duties she has authored or coauthored theoretical modules for program initiatives of Kappa Omicron Nu in the following areas: ethics, mentoring, diversity, and leadership. Her background in education involves specialization in individual and group dynamics, experiential education, inservice education, program design, and organizational development. The belief in an educative and preventive approach characterizes her work. A recent initiative is the introduction of the Campus Change Model as a means of teaching leadership concepts to college students through taking responsibility for changing the quality of life in the campus community.

 

Appendix I

Leadership Development Approaches

Kappa Omicron Nu developed an educational module with four chapters that explain the theory and three chapters of experiential activities. The activities, utilizing an experiential learning mode, teach the core features and principles of Reflective Human Action. In addition, the Margaret Wheatley video, Leadership and the New Science, introduces the principles in a dazzling display of images that explain the concepts in extraordinary clarity and depth. These resources are utilized in the following educational formats.

1)      Introduction to Reflective Human Action (3-4 hours)

a)      View Video, Leadership and the New Science

b)      Dialogue in small groups to explore principles of Reflective Human Action presented in the video. Focus on “develop relationships.”

c)      Explore core features of Reflective Human Action.

d)      Apply Reflective Human Action to individual and group leadership challenges.

2)      Reflective Human Action Workshop (1 day)

a)      View Video, Leadership and the New Science

b)      Dialogue in small groups to explore principles of Reflective Human Action presented in the video. Focus on “develop relationships.”

c)      Explore core features of Reflective Human Action. Focus on “authenticity.”

d)      Explore Action Wheel.

e)      Apply Reflective Human Action to individual and group leadership challenges utilizing the Action Wheel.

f)       Set personal development goals and develop action plan for accomplishing the goals.

3)      Reflective Human Action Course (1 or more credits as a single course or component of a course)

a)      View Video, Leadership and the New Science

b)      Dialogue in small groups to explore principles of Reflective Human Action presented in the video. Focus on each principle.

c)      Explore core features of Reflective Human Action. Focus on each feature.

d)      Explore Action Wheel.

e)      Apply Reflective Human Action to individual and group leadership challenges utilizing the Action Wheel.

f)       Apply Reflective Human Action to specialization and professional issues utilizing the Action Wheel.

g)      Conduct personal needs assessment and set personal development goals.

h)      Develop action plan for small groups for accomplishing the goals.

i)        Implement action plans.

Summary

Through Reflective Human Action all individuals have “the opportunity for creative engagement, for leading—even though some will choose not to. If is our earnest belief that all persons can empower themselves, then it is also our belief that all persons can choose to lead in some way, at some time” (Mitstifer, 1995, p. 1).

Capra (1991) is convincing in his declaration that to favor “self-assertion over integration, analysis over synthesis, rational knowledge over intuitive wisdom, science over religion, competition over cooperation, expansion over conservation, . . ..” (p. 8) leads to a crisis of social, ecological, moral, and spiritual dimensions. Reflective Human Action is an effort to integrate these dimensions into a holistic approach to leadership. Although not universal yet, a cultural transformation is underway—from a mechanistic worldview that described the universe as a mechanical system, the human as a machine, life as a competitive struggle, and the goals as unlimited material progress, to an “ecological worldview” (Capra, 1991) of fundamental interdependence of all life in its multiple manifestations and cycles of change and transformation. Researchers in various disciplines are developing this new vision of reality that ultimately transforms deep ecological awareness into spiritual awareness. Thus Reflective Human Action is on the cutting edge, expressive of this new cultural transformation. (Andrews, et al., 1995, p. I-21)

References

Andrews, F. E., Mitstifer, D. I., Rehm, M., & Vaughn, G. G. (1995). Leadership: Reflective Human Action. East Lansing, MI: Kappa Omicron Nu.

Block, P. (1987). The empowered manager. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self-interest. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1991). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1995). Leading with soul: An uncommon journey of spirit. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Capra, F. (1991). The Tao of physics: An exploration of the parallels between modern physics and eastern mysticism. Boston: Shambhala.

Chappell, T. (1993). The soul of business. New York: Bantam Books.

Conger, J. A. (1994). Spirit at work: Discovering the spirituality in leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Covey, S. R. (1991). Principle-centered leadership. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Covey, S. R. (1994). First things first. New York: Simon and Schuster.

DePree, M. (1992). Leadership jazz. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Drath, W. H., & Palus, C. J. (1994). Making common sense: Leadership as meaning-making in a community of practice. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Gardner, J. (1989). On leadership. New York: Free Press.

Greenleaf, R. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

Helgesen, S. (1990). Female advantage: Women’s ways of leadership New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Helgesen, S. (1995). The web of inclusion: A new architecture for building great organizations. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

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