Speaking Truth to Power: The perils of (scientific) leadership in the green economy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter offers a case study on the perils that await those who would shape our understanding of two scientific facts:

The earth’s climate is changing;

The climate change which has been recorded and which we are now experiencing is anthropogenic in nature.

Contemporary understanding of the problems of management and the processes of leadership has been shaped by analyses which suggest that ‘leaders’ are ‘world builders’; architects of ‘moral economies’ who must build upon the skills of the storyteller in order to secure their strategic aspirations. This narrative account of leadership, while broadly persuasive, remains, however, truncated and potentially misleading because, too often, it reduces the social dynamic processes of storytelling to the simple transfer of information within contexts which are assumed to be pluralistic; politically benign. Challenging this we offer an alternative account designed to reveal, so that we might pursue the political agendas that mark our organised existence.

To this end we offer a case study of the crisis which developed following the disclosure of information from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 2009. Placing the events of this leak within a historical context, we will argue that this controversy is but the latest in a long line of manufactured scandals, albeit with new and troubling refinements. These ‘refinements’, we will suggest, prompt and demand a new appreciation of the perils of scientific leadership in the green economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Leadership for a Green World
EditorsAndrew Taylor
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781003190820
ISBN (Print)9781032041834, 9781032041841
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2022

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