Exploring Synergic Power and Network-Based Leadership in a Community Organizing Context
Armstead, Theresa Leola
This study weaves together strands of knowledge from a range of disciplines including anthropology and physics to explore power and leadership from a paradigm of synergy. Due to a desire to develop a phenomenological understanding of synergic power, both synergic power and network-based leadership are explored in an organization in Northern Colorado that uses community organizing to develop leaders and exercise power for social change. Nine semi-structured interviews, observational data, organizational documents, and census data were collected and analyzed to address five research questions: do people in organizations use synergic power and are they aware of it, how do they conceptualize power, how do they conceptualize leadership, what is the structure and function of leadership, and what can we learn about synergic power and network-based leadership from this type of organization. Overall the data provides support for the presence and use of synergic power and network-based leadership in the organization. The data also shows that organizational members understood power and leadership to be relational phenomena which is indicative of a synergy paradigm. The results of this study have implications for leadership, practice, social action, and social change.