The Changing Power of Explanations: FTSE Directors, Academics and their Sensemaking since 1988

Research Cluster

Speaker:Professor Annie Pye, Centre for Leadership Studies, University of Exeter
Date: Tuesday 22 January 2008
Time: 16:00
Location: Conference Room 2, Xfi

Further details

In this seminar, I shall reflect on the two extant ESRC-funded studies of board directors and top management teams running large/ complex FTSE companies (in 1987-89 and 1998-2000) which provide the foundation for my next project, due to run from 2008-2010. Across the last twenty years, academic explanations have evolved almost as much as practitioners’ and their changing practices have, moving from concepts such as management competencies and upper echelons theory, through corporate governance and shareholder value, to now strategy-as-practice and value-added behaviour. So where and how does the concept of leadership fit in this developing storyline? I conclude that while Western collective fascination with leadership will never be replaced by ‘sensemaking’ (Weick, 1995), to understand leadership as a sensemaking process helps us see much more clearly what is going on in the daily ‘doings’ of top business leaders and in so doing, understand the changing power of our explanations.