The architecture of managerial leadership: Stimulation and channeling of organizational emergence

James G.(Jerry) Hunt, Richard N. Osborn, Kimberly B. Boal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This conceptual manuscript emphasizes the indirect influence of senior managers who occupy positions between the strategic apex of the organization and its middle management. It combines a traditional organization behavior/theory perspective with that of a complex adaptive theory approach to examine why and how leaders should and can stimulate "emergence" and channel "emergence." In technical terms, we emphasize the level VI managerial leadership (ala Elliott Jaques) level just below the level VII strategic apex. We argue that these managerial leaders should use the complexity theory "order for free" notions to traverse the narrow path between order and disorder to simultaneously improve the fitness of the organization and benefit its members. We emphasize alterations in the character of the system, its processes, its procedures and its informal structure to help the organization stimulate bottom up order for free activities and also combine these initiatives into viable adaptations. Thus, it emphasizes the architecture established by these leaders. A number of propositions are also provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-516
Number of pages14
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Complex adaptive theory (CAS)
  • Edge of chaos
  • Emergence
  • Jaques' organization theory approach
  • Network development
  • Order for free: Patterning of attention
  • Tags


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