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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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What are environments?

While the phrase is somewhat polemical, let's agree for exposition that environments include the contexts, settings, circumstances, and conditions within which the process of leadership and followership takes place. These contexts, as summarized in Figure 6.1, contain three major elements:

  • Institutional, including external and internal checks and balances
  • Environmental, including economic, social, and technological conditions
  • Cultural, including attitudes, experiences, and beliefs

Institutional contexts include the major bodies and organizations that define, influence, and prescribe broad societal practices and behaviors, such as government, legal, political, and societal institutions. These of course can range from highly efficient and useful to corrupt and inefficient. The environmental factors include elements like the economic and social conditions, pace of change, speed of innovation and technological improvements, organizational turbulence, and threats to the survival of the group or organization. Culture comprises the attitudes, experiences, beliefs, and values of a social organization, group, or nation. The elements of a culture can exist at multiple levels including divisions, organizations, nations, and regions and have multiple dimensions.4 For example, even though they are citizens of and live in the same nation, the beliefs, values, and attitudes of people in different U.S. states can vary immensely. In the 2008 election for the U.S. presidency, ...

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