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Leadership in a new millennium: the challenge of the "risk society"

Berry, Anthony J. (2000) Leadership in a new millennium: the challenge of the "risk society". Leadership and organization development journal, 21 (1). pp. 5-12. ISSN 0143-7739

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Abstract

The “risk society” presents a considerable challenge to current understanding of the question of risk and the task of organisational leadership. Beck has proposed that we, in late modernity, are moving from an industrial society to a risk society, which requires a corresponding shift from modernism to reflexive modernism. A brief discussion of the risk compensation ideas of Adams will be used to bridge to some observation about how humans approach and understand risk in our society. Four stances towards risk are used as a basis for considering the modes of leadership associated with each of them. It is argued that this provides a starting point from which leadership theory may be extended from its mainly intra organisation perspective to include critical reflexiveness in an inter- and extra-organisational framing. This goes beyond social responsibility to include a critical attention to how a risk society requires leadership to be construed in institutional terms.

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