Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Edited by Stephen P. Banks

A timely discussion of dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes. This book explores the vital but largely unrecognized connections between leadership and dissent. From interdisciplinary perspectives the author demonstrates dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes and examines how dissent is implicated in problems plaguing theory development in leadership studies. By way of conclusion new proposals for legitimating dissent as a unique instrument for advancing social development and avoiding failures of leadership are presented.

Chapter 4: Dissent and the Generational Divide

Stephanie Hamel and Ruth Guzley

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership

Extract

Stephanie Hamel and Ruth Guzley Your generations’ collective mind-set cannot help but influence you – whether you agree with it or spend a lifetime battling against it. (Strauss and Howe, 1991: 9) INTRODUCTION Leading and dissenting differ across generations. As Greenberg-Walt and Robertson (2001) quip, ‘Younger generations always strive to develop their own identities and to make their mark’ (p. 148). We know this intuitively and anecdotally, but we need to understand generational differences in a deeper and more disciplined way if we are to promote effectiveness and minimize failures among future leaders. We wonder what today’s youth will be able to accomplish on a global scale, given the monumental challenges they face, for both themselves and the generations that will follow. Pragmatists among us seek to understand those of the newest generation who one day will emerge as leaders. We want to know, can they lead through these challenges? Can they advocate effectively on our behalf and their own? Will they be willing to speak out against injustices? Will they embrace the central tenets of democracy and engage differences through deliberation and dissent? Or will they pave a new way we cannot yet comprehend? We devote this chapter to exploring a fundamental ingredient of democracy – dissent – and learning whether the new generation will seek to embrace, suppress or redefine dissent as they become leaders in our communities, workplaces and global scene. As professors we interact daily with the newest generation – known variously as...

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