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Not so simple: The threats to leadership sustainability

Bottery, Mike


Mike Bottery


This article begins by examining the possible meanings of ‘sustainability’, and argues that most meanings are prescriptive rather than descriptive in nature: they tend, either overtly or covertly, to recommend the particular end-states that writers desire. The article then looks at the threats to leadership sustainability, suggesting that a lack of sustainability is not only caused by excessive volume of work and lack of preparation for the role, but also by how different stakeholders view the role. Greater sustainability, it is proposed, comes from recognizing the ‘wicked’ rather than the ‘tame’ nature of the role, and of the need to apply solutions which reflect the ‘wicked’ nature of many leadership challenges. Finally, links are made between leadership sustainability and the sustainability of larger social, economic and environmental systems, suggesting that they have many similar causes and many similar remedies.


Bottery, M. (2016). Not so simple: The threats to leadership sustainability. Management in Education, 30(3), 97-101.

Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2016
Publication Date Jul 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 30, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Management in education
Print ISSN 0892-0206
Electronic ISSN 1741-9883
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 3
Pages 97-101
Keywords Leadership, Sustainability, Complexity, Tame solutions, Wickedity
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article published in: Management in education, 2016, v.30 issue 3.


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