The Leader-Investigator: Using Leadership Studies as a Model for Conscientization Through Adaptive Leadership, the Four Frames Approach, Giving Voice to Values, and the Competing Values Framework.

Author:Moen, Donald


If I only I did what I can do, I wouldn't do anything

--Jacques Derrida as cited in Giroux, 2013, para. 47

As neoliberalism, or serving the needs of the marketplace and corporations rather than those of the individual and democracy (Giroux, 2014), has grown in strength, many resisting it have turned to conscientization, which Freire (1968) defines as ".. .the deepening of the attitude of awareness characteristic of all emergence" (p. 109), expand ing the individual's understanding of his or her own role in oppression. While leadership through conscientization can be a model of resistance, structural leadership models to conscientization are lacking. Much has been made of the need for conscientization and its use in social movements, but outside of Freire's original work, not a lot of research has been done on institutional leadership implementation models through conscientization. The field of Leadership Studies provides models for leaders to become leader-investigators in the establishment of a democratic formative culture. This paper considers conscientization in the context of Adaptive Leadership, the Four Frames Approach, Giving Voice to Values Curriculum, and the Competing Values Framework.

The need for conscientization, and its use in leading social and political movements, has been well documented for some time. To consider just a few, Montero (2007) has described conscientization as the "theoretical and practical pillar" for the psychology of liberation (p. 524). Dantley (1990) describes the need for conscientization in resisting the structural functionalism and positivism of the Effective Schools movement. Chimedza and Peters (2000) present the need for a new educational praxis through conscientization by correlating the experience of race and disability. Villeval (2008) has discussed the need for conscientization in the international disability and gay rights movements. More recently, Darder (2017) has argued for narratives a living praxis in educational life. Bingham (2016) has discussed Freire's approaches in the context of spectatorship. Hesk (2017) argues for F reire's vision for social justice in community development. The literature has depth in techniques for conscientization for the individual, as well as models for leading and structuring social and political movements, throughout a variety of fields. What is not present is a systematic model of conscientization for use in Leadership Studies, not as a movement, but as an individual in a position of authority leading followers from the perspective of Leadership Studies.

Applying Leadership Studies models to Freire's work is not simply an interesting real world endeavor, but it is practical and relevant to neoliberals. The models discussed in this paper are systematic approaches focused on stages and aspects that individual leaders can implement into professional leadership planning. Moreover, these are models often taught to Business students. The central focus of conscientization is to overcome how "Reality which becomes oppressive results in the contradistinction of men as oppressors and oppressed" (Freire, 1968, p. 51). Focusing on Master of Business Administration (MBA) style models allows the leader-investigator common ground to create situationality, the spaces people affect and are affected by, with the neoliberal to enter into conscientization. Those who participate in conversations need to speak the same language.

Political action through critical theory is needed in the world to replace neoliberalism and create a democratic formative culture. Giroux (2013; 2014) has catalogued how neoliberalism represents corporate values, ideology and power and how it is deconstructing democratic institutions and their foundation of critical engagement, hope, and the resistance necessary for a democratic formative culture. The forces against neoliberalism cannot simply resist it; we must replace it. Stuart Hall (1988), through a Gramscian perspective in his discussion of the rise of Thatcherism, argued that any truly counter-hegemonic force needs to be formative, not just resisting or critical towards the status quo. Giroux (2013) has reminded us of Derrida's challenge to "think the impossible" (para. 47), and how Arendt (2002) reminds us that we are living in dark times. Giroux (2014) calls on educators to address social issues and resist education as a set of corporate strategies. A democratic formative culture will need a higher level of consciousness and humanization to be established which can be achieved through conscientization.

Freire and Conscientization

Paulo Freire (1968) contends that humanization is the true vocation of the individual. Dehumanization is the result of a hegemony of "an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed" (p. 44). The goal is not to replace one tyranny with another; rather, the goal of education is to restore humanity to both the oppressor and the oppressed. This is not taught by a revolutionary leader; it is "... the result of their [the oppressed's] own conscientizacao [conscientization]" (p. 67); in other words, ".the deepening of the attitude of awareness characteristic of all emergence" (p. 109).

To Freire (1968), people need a critical understanding of their reality, decoding themselves as subjects, a generative theme in the "human-world relationship" (p. 106). This means investigating praxis, people's thinking about reality and their action upon reality. By becoming more active in the exploration of one's life themes, termed thematics by Freire, critical awareness of reality is deepened. In determining what those thematics are, people take possession of their reality. Subjects concern themselves with links between themes, which are posed as problems inside their historical-cultural context. People exist inside a situation (situationality), as Freire puts it, ".rooted in temporal-spatial conditions which mark them and which they also mark" (p. 109). Through critical reflection upon the very condition of existence inside the context of a situation, the individual can make their situation less dense and see it as an "objective-problematic situation" (p. 109). By obtaining this critical perspective, the human being can intervene in reality.

Freire (1968) calls those who lead people through conscientization investigators, and encourages these investigators to go out into the world, not to present some specific truth as missionaries, but to help lead others through the process of conscientization. For example, Socrates can be seen as an investigator in trying to establish a common world, which Arendt (1990) argues is built on the concepts of knowing oneself and that it is better to be out of step with the world and know oneself, than to be in step with the world and be estranged from oneself. As Arendt puts is, "living together with others begins with living together with oneself" (p. 87). This newfound discovery requires one to engage others in their own realizations. In her discussion of Marx, Arendt (2002) argues for a praxis based on active life. She contends that politics is "... the only activity that was [is] inherently philosophical" (p. 318). Action is incumbent once one knows what to do. Freire's call toward self-actualization through conscientization is not simply to contemplate, but to affect change in the world through bringing others into a process leading to self-actualization.

Adaptive Leadership

In the context of educational leadership, Adaptive Leadership presents a model to lead others to self-actualization through conscientization. Heifetz, et al. (2009) argue the goal of Adaptive Leadership is to encourage people to change and learn new ways of living so they may do well and grow. To Northouse (2015), adaptive leaders are concerned ".with how people change and adjust to new circumstances" (p. 257).

To begin with the model of Adaptive Leadership (Table 1), Heifetz, et al. (2009) describe two basic challenges: technical challenges and adaptive challenges. Technical challenges are those for which the solution is already known. Adaptive challenges, like the name implies, require some sort of adaptation. The manager of a computer lab knows to call IT to fix the computer that is broken; whether it...

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