An ecological perspective on leadership theory, research, and practice
Current theories of leadership are based mainly on the industrial paradigm emphasizing the preeminence of positional leaders and the machine-like qualities of organizations. Evolutionary and attributional biases tend to reinforce the industrial paradigm. The authors propose an ecological theory of leadership that makes 4 important assertions: (a) Effective leadership processes involve temporary resolutions of a tension between the traditional industrial approach and the neglected ecological approach; (b) specific leaders are less important than they appear because the ecological context is more important than what leaders decide to do; (c) organizations are more adaptive when there is a diversity of genuine input into decision-making processes; and (d) leadership itself is an emergent process arising from the human interactions that make up the organization.
Wielkiewicz, R. M., & Stelzner, S. P. (2005). An ecological perspective on leadership theory, research, and practice. Review of General Psychology, 9(4), 326-341. doi: 10.1037/1089-26188.8.131.526