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.

Chapter 9: Cities lead

Erika Sauer

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


In this chapter I argue that places exert leadership, because space influences action. Concentrating on two megacities, New York and Jakarta, I study how the cities lead the people. City residents are driven not only by their own personal needs and daily routines, but, for example, by the city’s grid, traffic arteries and public transport. Research on aesthetic leadership and space explores the symbolic meanings and inherent power issues reflected in spaces and places. The relationship between leadership and space is twofold: physical places form and shape leadership constructions, while simultaneously leadership produces social, experienced spaces.

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