Leadership capability: An autopoietic perspective

Petia Sice, Kushwanth Koya, Safwat Mansi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


There is a large body of literature by the Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, referred to as Autopoietic Theory. This theory describes the dynamics of living systems; dealing with cognition as a biological phenomenon. The theory, however, has found far wider application than may be suggested from its biological roots, to generate implications for epistemology, i.e. enactive view of cognition, communication and social systems theory. This paper presents key insights and explores their implication to understanding leadership capability from the perspective of an enactive view of cognition. Autopoiesis suggests that the quality of human experience, is determined by the interplay between the internal dynamics (biological processes) and the environment (social and other) of an active situated human agent, and thus offers an alternative perspective to interpreting and developing leadership capability. What is required is to foster an environment where awareness is actively developed, fragmentation of experience is avoided and language is used to promote creativity. A mini case study of the hearing aid manufacturer, Oticon A/S, is used for illustration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
JournalHuman Systems Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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