“Rethinking Corporate Leadership as Corporate Authorship”

Tim Coburn

The Systems Centre: Learning and Leadership in the Graduate School of Education and the Faculty of Engineering, brings together educational, corporate and community leaders with researchers, to engage in inter-disciplinary research and development, drawing on systems thinking and complexity theory as tools for understanding and re-designing learning systems and the leadership they need.

New public management, with its focus on ‘value neutral’ instrumental approaches for improving effectiveness and efficiency is of limited use when applied to organisations as complex adaptive systems. Employee or student engagement, a complex social construct, calls for richer forms of rationality. It flourishes within an architecture for learning and leadership which is resilient, allows for emergence and facilitates self-renewal – for individuals, teams and the organisation. Identity, story, personal learning power and interpersonal trust provide a frame for the co-construction of knowledge, performance and competence. They also support new forms of leadership and the generation of the collective intelligence necessary for organisations to adapt and learn.   The Systems Centre: Learning and Leadership is hosting a series of expert-led open seminars on these themes. The seminars will also provide a foretaste of our new MSc programme in Systems Learning and Leadership, which opens in October 2011 (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/education/students/masters/sll )

Out second seminar is being led by Tim Coburn, Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, and a corporate learning specialist who, for over 20 years, has held senior and global roles in learning and development with large corporate organizations including the BBC, Motorola, Rolls-Royce and Kenya Airways.

‘Effective leadership is one of the most sought after goals shared by professional people in both education and at work across public, private and third sector organisations. So, what is leadership? In this talk, I’ll be offering a personal perspective informed as it is by my own professional journey as a leadership development practitioner during 20 years with some of the finest organisations in the world – The BBC, Motorola and Rolls-Royce. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned from my own enquiry in which I sought both theoretical rigour and practical value. And, from my early attraction to the leadership ideas of courage, humility and service, I’ll explain how, through philosophical, cultural and technological revelation, I arrived at the idea of leadership as authorship. In so doing, I hope to engage you in developing your own idea of leadership, how you practice it and how you encourage others to consider it for the world in which we live.’


The seminar will take place at 4.30 pm on Thursday 1st June, in Room 410, at the Graduate School of Education.

The seminar will be preceded at 2.15pm by an Introduction to the Masters in Systems Learning and Leadership which will take place in Room 401.

For more information and to book a place, please contact Sue.Woodhead@bris.ac.uk

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