This chapter studies today’s work-life by exploring the relatively new phenomenon of coworking, where independent workers join a shared workspace. In order to understand coworking as both physical spaces and movement, the chapter links three research streams: office space research, leadership research and sociological research on ‘flexible capitalism’ and new ways of working. Independent members of a coworking spaces do not work for the one and same company, and because of changes in work-life from fixed employment and linear careers to temporary work contracts and projectification, traditional work communities are partly dispersing. Yet, it is argued, modern capitalism at the same time arouses a need for community. The chapter will discuss coworking from the perspective of local community and plural leadership.
Although we know that to err is human, leadership theories typically neglect human incompleteness and vulnerabilities. Seen realistically, vulnerability is always part of leading, yet leaders are discussed mainly in heroic terms. Failing leaders – who may have been celebrated prior to their organization’s fall – are suddenly not perceived as ‘real’ leaders anymore. The chapter asks, ‘Why are leadership language and definitions of leadership silent about human weaknesses, humility and incompleteness?’ It contrasts the model of a self-interested and purely rational agent, Homo economicus, upon which much conventional leadership theorising is based, with a Heideggerian human image. In Heidegger’s analysis, human knowledge is insecure and it is human to live in a state of doubt, wonder and anxiety. Drawing from literature about humble leadership, as well as live case studies of the tomato haulage company Morning Star and the Chinese manufacturing firm Haier, the chapter argues that expectations of leaders and most leadership theories are based on a misguided human image. The chapter calls for rethinking what is considered leadership and what is not, and developing more adequate leadership theories which encompass more of the totality of what it is to be human.