Leadership in Spaces and Places

Leadership in Spaces and Places

Edited by Arja Ropo, Perttu Salovaara, Erika Sauer and Donatella De Paoli

By combining new research on leadership and workspaces, Leadership in Spaces and Places argues for a radical reconceptualization of leadership. They argue leadership is not only about leaders themselves, but is also affected by the built environment. With contributions from both scholars and practitioners alike, the authors discuss leadership in six different contexts: • workspaces in change • open-office spaces • virtual workspaces • service spaces • cultural spaces • institutional spaces.

Why does space need to be taken seriously in leadership and organization studies and practice?

Arja Ropo, Donatella De Paoli, Perttu Salovaara and Erika Sauer

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Work is currently undergoing a major transformation in terms of where and how it is carried out. Traditional cell offices and fixed workspaces are not the only possibility. People work increasingly from their homes, trains, planes, airports, cafeterias and coworking spaces. In addition, virtual working is becoming the norm rather than the exception. At the same time, companies make efforts to plan and design workspaces to foster communication, collaboration and creativity. How do these different workspaces shape leadership and organizing, which traditionally call for individual leader presence and material boundaries? How do the practices of leading and organizing change in different spatial arrangements? As work transcends the office and is increasingly digitalized, globalized, dynamic and flexible, we must question where and how leadership happens and what leadership looks like when we think in terms of a spatially informed phenomenon. We have invited management and organization scholars to address some of these challenges. The following chapters try to answer the questions: What are the new changing workspaces? How is the virtual workspace used and what challenges for leadership does it pose? How do coworking and collaborative communities change the understanding of leadership, work and space? How do the different workspaces shape leadership roles and processes? What kind of symbolic roles do the workspace solutions imply? How does office space design convey corporate and leadership values in a cross-cultural setting? How do places and spaces influence employee wellbeing? What are the consequences of the spatial changes for leadership and organization?

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