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Leaderless Leadership in Radically Decentralised Organisations

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date24/05/2024
Host publicationRoutledge Critical Companion to Leadership Studies
EditorsDavid Knights, Helena Liu, Owain Smolović Jones, Suze Wilson
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages12
ISBN (print)9781032425153
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Our chapter contributes to understanding the phenomenon of leadership in radically decentralised organisations (RDOs). We argue that in RDOs leadership is not a person, but a collective system where responsibility and decision-making are decentralised to allow potentially all to take care of the processes of organising. Sustainable RDOs are able to abolish hierarchy by relying on patterns, structures and practices that sustain egalitarian ways of working. They have avoided the risk of oligarchisation by designing holistic systems with an egalitarian-inducing infrastructure and a bundle of co-occurring social practices. We first analyse the terminology that refers to various forms of RDOs and problematise how decentralised organising is talked into being. The findings are then summarised into the concept of community-led practices, where social practices function as formal and systematic collective leadership processes that support egalitarian ways of working.