BLCC Research Symposium - Responsible and inclusive leadership: Paradoxes and possibilities

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Date: 06 June 2019
Venue: Room 7X201, Bristol Business School (X Block), Frenchay Campus
Venue Location:
Time: 14:00-17:00


In the face of environmental, social, political and economic change, organisations are coming under increasing pressure to demonstrate responsible and inclusive leadership that makes a lasting, positive impact to the lives of the communities they engage with. Whilst such principles are now well accepted in both policy and practice, the continuing prevalence of discrimination, inequality and unethical practice, combined with a loss of trust and a growing sense of disengagement and disillusionment across significant parts of the population, suggest that implementing such an approach is not so straightforward.

This event, organised by Bristol Leadership and Change Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Responsible Management at the University of Winchester, opens up a space for discussion and reflection around the paradoxes and possibilities of responsible and inclusive leadership, drawing on the latest theory and research in this field.

The event is designed for academics, students, consultants and practitioners interested in and/or responsible for the management of people and organisations. It may be particularly beneficial for those working with or towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and/or with the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), as well as those with a responsibility for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) and mobilising culture change.

This event will be hosted at Bristol Business School, UWE Bristol, and will be followed by a Distinguished Professorial Lecture by Professor Steve Kempster.

Symposium - session 1

The Responsible Management and Leadership Paradox: An interactive workshop

Dr Simon M Smith(Department of Responsible Management and Leadership, University of Winchester)

This interactive session is designed to explore and discuss the day-to-day realities faced with delivering responsible management and leadership. This will be presented as a number of paradoxical situations that we address within the world of business and will lead into a rich and diverse set of discussions around responsible management and leadership. There will be a short introduction to outline the conceptual paradox theory of 'Organisational Ambidexterity' applied to the responsible management and leadership context. No experience with this academic construct is needed. A number of situations are then provided to all participants, to instigate a discussion of how these situations are dealt with on the frontline. As well as increasing our understanding of these paradoxical realities, it is hoped that we will inspire how to tackle such situations through shared practice.

Symposium - session 2

Learning from lived experience: Opportunities and challenges for mobilising lasting change on leadership and inclusion in the NHS

Professor Richard Bolden, Professor Carol Jarvis and Stella Warren(Bristol Business School, UWE Bristol)

Recent years have seen increasing emphasis on the need for collective, compassionate and inclusive leadership in UK public services. The National Health Service (NHS) constitution in particular places a legal and moral requirement to address inequality in all that it does. Despite an espoused commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, however, and a series of associated policy and practice initiatives, inequality gaps continue to increase, compounded by successive neo-liberal policy agendas that have contributed to a growing financial deficit, constant political and systemic interventions, increasing fragmentation and conflicting accountabilities. A recent initiative from the NHS Leadership Academy – Building Leadership for Inclusion – intervenes at both an individual and systems level. Engaging meaningfully with 'lived experience', it aims to foster inclusive leadership and hasten the speed of change, a commitment reiterated in the NHS Long-Term Plan to “do more to develop and embed cultures of compassion, inclusion, and collaboration across the NHS” (NHS England, 2019: 89). Whilst a more abstract concept than 'equality' and 'diversity', 'inclusion', with its emphasis on perceptions and experience (rather than objectively measurable criteria) highlights the cultural-cognitive dimensions of change. In so doing, we suggest, it offers the potential to address systemic causes, rather than surface-level symptoms, and to support the complex, messy, emotional and politicised work of mobilising large-scale culture change. In this session, we will share findings from our action research and evaluation on this initiative, including enablers and barriers to change. We will also invite participants to reflect on their own lived experience of inclusive and non-inclusive leadership and the challenges of mobilising lasting change on this agenda.

Sign up for the BLCC Research Symposium on 6 June 2019

Symposium - session 3

Leading Change on Complex and Contested Issues: A living systems perspective

John Atkinson

With over 25 years' experience of supporting individuals, groups and organisations developing their capacity for systems leadership John will draw out key themes from sessions 1 and 2 and identify cross cutting insights and practical actions. Building on his work with Professor David Nabarro on applying a 'living systems leadership' approach to the development and implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this September's UN Climate Summit and extensive experience of supporting systems change in the NHS, wider public sector and commercial organisations, John will explore how a capacity for 'living systems leadership' can be developed through designing approaches to system change. This session will provide insights into initiating fundamental change whilst operating in a contested Political realm that shape the pragmatic adoption of living systems approaches.

Professorial Lecture Series with Steve Kempster

What are the Responsibilities of Business Leadership: Generating good dividends?

Professor Steve Kempster (University of Lancaster Management School)

Bristol Business School, 17:30-20:00

The talk will focus on Steve's new book (with Thomas Maak and Ken Parry) out in February 2019, which explores the role of leadership in making manifest societal purpose to everyday business activity - how business value and social impact can be aligned and realised. Too little attention in leadership is focused on the responsibilities and activities of those who lead. Steve will seek to answer the question 'leadership for what?' He will outline an answer through focusing on responsible leadership of purpose through an interdisciplinary perspective. Responsible leadership moves the axis of leadership from leader - followers to leader - stakeholders; away from looking at leadership as person-centric - the qualities, abilities, and effectiveness of the leader - to a focus on the purposes, responsibilities, and activities of leadership.

Read more about the Professorial Lecture

How to attend

Both events are free to attend, although registration is required in order to reserve a place.

Cost: Free, but pre-registration is required
Contact: Richard Bolden
Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83617

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