Leadership in Spaces and Places
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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.
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Chapter 11: Leadership and space in 3D: distance, dissent and disembodiment in the case of a new academic building

Karen Dale and Gibson Burrell


We demonstrate, through a single case that neither architectural spaces nor leadership are ‘monolithic’, the form predominantly associated with dictatorial leadership – hard, impervious, unyielding and dominant, reflecting a single figure in a landscape. The case of a new academic building presents the lived and embodied experience of one author as researcher and subject, thus providing an ‘insider’ account that can be compared to the rhetoric produced by architects, consultants and senior management. The architect’s account, given on an architectural tour of ‘his’ building, is supplemented by documents and experiential accounts from colleagues. For those professionally concerned with quasi-participative control systems, the twin thrusts of ‘managerialism’ and ‘leaderism’ are very evident in the case, with the typical academic’s experience of formal leadership being one of distance, dissent and disembodiment.

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