Feature Article: En Route to Effective Workplace Leadership: An Integral Novice’s Exploration

Tom A. Morris

If you analyse the way people use the word ‘spiritual’ [leadership] – both scholars and lay people alike – you will find at least 4 major meanings given to that word …My point is simply that all 4 of those are valid meanings of the word ‘spiritual’, but people usually mush them all together in their discussions, and the result is…well more mush.

(Wilber, 2007, p. 100 and 102).

This essay uses an ‘Integral Map’ [Wilber 2001, 2006 and 2007] to explore the meaning of workplace leadership. The intent is to demonstrate that an Integral Map is a powerful framework within which a comprehensive understanding of workplace leadership can be developed in the interests of personal, interpersonal and organisational effectiveness.


This essay arose out of the chance meeting of my 20-year itch as a senior manager in the public sector and Ken Wilber’s Integral Vision: A Theory of Everything (Wilber, 2001). As I struggled in the shadows of personal job satisfaction, interesting performance management conversations and difficult to effect structures and job descriptions, Wilber’s vision cast new light on a familiar landscape.

Wilber’s Integral Map led me to see the co-emergent nature of my shadowy observations. For example, my job description is replete with ‘leadership’ as my key responsibility, yet my personal experience was of something that seemed at best to be ‘management’, and to an increasing (and worrying) extent looked like ‘administration’. Reading Wilber I realised that what I, ‘we’ and the organisation meant by ‘leadership’ was not clear, and the result was usually…‘mush’.

As Wilber suggests in relation to ‘spirituality’ (see quote at the start of this essay) there are at least four different views of the meaning of the word leadership and by implication, the related concepts of management and administration. This essay cites four scholarly views of leadership, by way of an illustration of the differences that exist. These examples are illustrative only, derived from my own anecdotal experience of the literature. The reader’s acceptance of the lack of a more scholarly review of the literature is requested under the rubric of the exploratory nature of this essay and my novice status.


Back in 1977 (before I was promoted into a ‘management’ role) Peter Drucker identified what he called the five basic operations of management.

  1. In the first place managers set objectives. The manager determines what the objectives should be and makes them effective by communicating them to the people whose performance is needed to attain them.
  2. Second, a manger organizes. He or she selects people to manage and do the jobs and establishes the organisational structure.
  3. Next, a manager motivates and communicates. He or she makes a team out of people who are responsible for various jobs—through constant communication to and from subordinates, superiors and colleagues. This is the manager’s integration function.
  4. The fourth basic element in the work of the manager is measurement. The manager establishes targets—the measurement of the factors that are important to the performance of the organization and communicates the meaning measurement and findings to subordinates, superiors and colleagues.
  5. Finally, a manager develops people, including him or herself. (Drucker, 1977, p.20-21.)

It is of interest that Drucker’s characterisation of management can be seen to embrace the core aspects of contemporary definitions of ‘leadership’.

For a popular take on leadership, I turned to Steven R. Covey’s definition of leadership as framed in his recent international best seller, The 8th Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness (2004).

“Simply put—at its most elemental and practical level—leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” (2004, p.98.)

All of the key elements of Covey’s definition of leadership are represented in Drucker’s five operations of management: communicating, motivating and developing people, including self. (I have underlined these core ‘leadership’ notions in the quote above.)

Leadership as a Subset of Management

Drucker’s ‘operations of management’ schema may be seen to give rise to our first identified definition of leadership. Leadership as a subset of management, (Drucker, 1977) thereby suggesting that management is a level above leadership because it includes leadership.

Leadership as Superior to Management

Carter–Scott, in his (1994) publication “The difference between management and leadership” presents a dichotomised view of leadership. He argues that management and leadership are fundamentally different, such that leadership is superior to management.

The manager administers; the leader innovates.
The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
The manager maintains; the leader develops.
The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
The manager has a short-range view; the leader a long-range perspective.
The manager asks how and why; the leader asks what and why.
The manager has his eye on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon.
The manager initiates; the leader originates.
The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his own person.
Managers do things right; leaders do the right thing.
(Carter-Scott, 1994; cited in Covey, 2004. p.360.)

In Carter-Scott’s characterisation of leadership a key focus is on what might be called the ‘maverick’ qualities of individual leadership: leaders as originals, with an eye on the horizon, challenging the status quo, being their own person, and doing the right thing (1994, above). Covey’s book contains numerous other examples that suggest that leaders operate at a higher level (than managers and administrators) with more influence, longer term thinking, and the skills to deal with conflict and uncertainty (Covey, 2004, p.352-364).

Leadership as a Superior Adaptation to Change

A third view of leadership may be seen to distinguish leadership from management as a difference in role and functions: such that leadership is a superior adaptation to the pace of change and the challenges of global market places. Harvard Professor, John Kotter (1990), has argued that there has been a shift in the role of executives and senior managers from a concern with managing ongoing operational tasks to leading change. Management is characterised by Kotter as the planning, organising and problem solving functions that produce a degree of predictability and order; while leadership is portrayed as establishing direction and aligning and motivating people to produce change (1990, p.6).

Leadership and Management as Types

Drucker (1998), writing twenty years after the (1977) text referred to above, suggests a fourth view of leadership. This is a view in which management and leadership are seen to be part and parcel of the same job.

“[As] for separating management from leadership, that is a nonsense – as nonsense as separating management from entrepreneurship. Those are part and parcel of the same job. They are different to be sure, but only as different as the right hand is from the left or the nose is from the mouth. They both belong to the same body.”
(Drucker, 1998; Cited in Covey, 2004, p.362.)

This essay seeks to demonstrate that each of these four views is legitimate (as long as they are not all mushed together) and furthermore, that an Integral Map provides a framework within which these differences can be reconciled.


I have chosen to use the term ‘Integral Map’ throughout this essay, largely in deference to the en route nature of this exploration of workplace leadership. The basis of the Integral Map is the provision of a framework for considering all dimensions (quadrants and perspectives), all levels, all lines, states, and types in exploring any idea, event or action. As Wilber states: “these are the five basic elements that need to be included in any truly integral or comprehensive approach” (2006, p.27).

An important product of this exploration is the opportunity to suggest that an integrally-informed understanding of leadership (and the related concepts of management and administration) has implications for job descriptions and organisational structure (a third person dimension of workplaces); performance management conversations (a second person dimension of workplaces); and first person job satisfaction.

Finally, this ‘Integral’ understanding of leadership, management and administration is seen to provide a framework for a useful discussion of the contemporary workplace agendas of flatter management structures, risk management, and continuous improvement.

All Quadrants – the Foundation Element

The foundation element of an Integral Map is the ‘all quadrants’ framework. The essence of this framework is the observation that any event can be observed from the point of view of the first person; second person; or third person. The existence of these three orientations to events is reflected in the structure of all major languages.

“You can look at any event from the point of view of the “I” (or how I personally see and feel about the event); from the point of view of the “we” (how not just I but others see the event); and as an “it” or the objective facts of the event.” (Wilber, 2007,p.19)

The quadrant framework is arrived at by recognizing on the one hand the interior-exterior perspective; and on the other the individual-collective perspective (Figure 1). When these dimensions are combined, four quadrants can be identified. By convention, the upper-left quadrant identifies the first person, “I” or interior-individual, intentional dimension. The lower-left quadrant identifies the second person, “we” or inter-subjective, cultural dimension. The third person, individual aspect of the upper-right quadrant (the exterior- individual) specifies the “it” of the behavioural dimension. While the third person, collective aspect of the lower-right (the exterior-collective), specifies the “its” of the social dimension.

Figure 1. The Four Quadrant Framework: The four domains or quadrants of the Integral Map arise from the meeting of the interior and the exterior of the individual and the collective. These domains find expression in the first, second and third person pronouns ‘I’, ‘we’ and ‘it’. [The author has added ‘performance measures’ and ‘organisational structure’ to Wilber’s diagram to reflect this essay’s focus on leadership.]

figure 1

Figure 1. The Four Quadrant Framework

An Integral Map suggests that any phenomena can be looked at from the outside view of the quadrant. If, however, the phenomenon in question can be viewed from the inside perspective of sentient beings (such as leadership can) then Integral Methodological Pluralism suggests that a comprehensive consideration of the four domains involves both the outside and inside perspectives of each of the quadrants. That is, sentient beings can view and act on the world through the inside perspective of each of the quadrants (Wilber, 2007, p.35-40).

This gives rise to eight fundamental perspectives that also involve eight fundamental methodologies. “You can not only take a view you can act from it” (Wilber, 2007, p.35). It will be seen that Integral Methodological Pluralism has direct relevance to a discussion of workplace leadership, particularly to a comprehensive understanding of performance management.

Figure 2. The Eight Perspectives of the Four Quadrant Framework: Integral Methodological Pluralism suggests that consideration of phenomena that can be viewed from the inside perspective of sentient beings creates eight perspectives or basic methodologies: the inside and outside of the quadrants.

figure 2

The following section explores the collective-third person and individual-third person domains, along with the implications for performance management of the inside and outside perspectives on these two quadrants.

Third Person
A third person orientation to the meaning of workplace leadership seeks to understand leadership through its exterior dimensions: the collective (lower-right) and the individual (upper-right). The collective-exterior is observed in the workplace as the ‘organisational structure’ (including organised meetings), while the individual-exterior is observed as performance measurement (targets, policy, and quality standards).

Collective – Third Person
Through the collective, third person, dimension (of the lower-right quadrant) the focus is on the way the workplace organisational structure provides for the systematic social definition of leadership responsibility.

When leadership is viewed through the outside third person perspective, system theory provides us with an understanding of the nested hierarchies, networks and matrices with which we can observe the organisational structure (a system perspective on organisational structure is traditionally included in job descriptions as a ‘tree diagram’).

This systems theory perspective is, however, only a partial view of the nature of the organisational structure. As Wilber explains, when this system theory perspective is taken as the only correct view, it “badly misperceives the nature of social systems and their internal communication networks” (2007, p. 175).

The contribution of Integral Methodological Pluralism to the current discussion is that it explicitly recognises that leadership can also be viewed from the inside perspective.

A view of organisational structure from the inside (Wilber refers to this as a social antipoetic perspective) extends consideration to the internal connections and networks of communication. From this perspective, performance management would need to include an assessment of how well workplace leaders understand the internal connections and networks of communication; as well as their understanding of the structure from the outside perspective of systems theory.

Mant suggests that in the final analysis, it is the leader’s intellectual ability to make connections that is the central determinant of success (Mant, 1999, p.37). From the perspective of the leader’s responsibility for establishing, monitoring and reviewing organisational structures the focus is on the leader’s intellectual ability to observe and understand the connections and to provide for a structure that connects individuals and teams.

Individual – Third Person
Through the individual, third person dimension (of the upper-right quadrant) the focus is explicitly on the performance measures to which leadership is held accountable.

When leadership is viewed through the outside perspective of the third person- ‘it’ (of the upper-right quadrant) leadership arises as accountability for performance against (implicit or explicit) targets and standards. Through this perspective, the focus is on an empirical evaluation of how well the leader and the leader’s team perform in relation to any number of performance targets and standards.

Again, Integral Methodological Pluralism may be seen to give rise to consideration of leadership performance from the inside. In a similar manner, to the preceding discussion of organisational structure, the focus is on the ability to make connections (see Mant above). Within this quadrant the focus is the connection between the measured performance and desired outcome. Leadership performance in this regard is about selecting and setting measures that are ‘fit-for-purpose’. If, connections are missed, or inappropriate connections are made, then time and energy is likely to be wasted by teams measuring and prioritising the pursuit of irrelevant targets and standards.

The preceding discussion raises an interesting methodological conundrum in respect to the performance assessment of leaders. The assessment of a leader’s ability to understand the required organisational structure and performance measurement connections, assumes that the assessor has access to valid and reliable performance information. This information may be pursued from a collation of the (360o) opinions of superiors, colleagues and subordinates. The value of such an approach is that it can provide useful insight from different organisational and functional vantage points. However, it should be noted that it assumes that individually, or collectively, respondents provide for a valid and reliable inside view of the very thing that is being assessed. If the leader is privy to a superior insight into the connections, and takes action on this insight, it may not be recognised by others who do not possess the same prowess. Mant reflects on this dilemma when he draws attention to the fact that “the loyalty of clever or unconventional people is often doubted by insiders” (1999, p.28).

A potential solution for the evaluation of these inside aspects of leadership performance is to seek input from a ‘consultant’ specialist from outside the organisation. A consultant may be able to provide useful insight because they have relevant inside experience elsewhere but are be able to make observations that are less influenced by the organisation’s cultural assumptions.

This discussion has sought to demonstrate how an Integral Map gives rise to a third person consideration of both the individual and collective dimensions of leadership. The brief discussion of Integral Methodological Pluralism may also be seen to have suggested that the four resulting perspectives add value to an exploration of leadership performance. It may be seen that as well as providing direct support for the methodological value of Integral Methodological Pluralism, the value of these third person perspectives also provides, indirect support for the value of third person considerations, in and of themselves. That is, the third person domains of an Integral Map may be seen to add value to an understanding of leadership by providing a framework within which the inside ‘connection’ perspectives on organisational structure and performance measures, are explicitly represented in the leadership performance assessment mix.

The nature of organisational structures and performance measurement are being redefined. Structurally there has been a move away from rigidly defined chains of command and hierarchies of control, to flatter management structures that tend to include team based and across organisation quality assurance (Stace and Dunphy, 2001, pp.85-102) and more widely distributed leadership (Leithwood, 2006, p.10-11). The scope of workplace performance measurement has also been expanded in recent years. From a traditional focus on measures such as units of output; budget outcomes and bottom line profit to include (triple bottom line) social and environmental indicators; as well as the qualitative measures embodied in 360o leadership feedback surveys (Griffiths, 2000 and Cacioppe, 2008) and quality assurance standards (Stace and Dunphy, 2001, pp. 10-27).

An Integral Map promotes recognition of the contribution to effective leadership of a comprehensive all quadrants, all perspectives approach to understanding leadership and leadership performance. As Wilber explains in another context, “all four quadrants arise together, they are co-emergent tetra-arisings …correlative dimensions of the same thing. You can’t have singular without plural, nor exterior without interior – it makes no sense whatsoever” (Wilber, 2007, p.146).

Second Person
The second person domain focuses attention on the interactions that create the collective “we”. The key leadership effectiveness question through this frame of reference is that of the leader’s interaction with followers across all teams and all levels: subordinates, colleagues and superiors. This is the view of leadership as communicating, providing feedback, building relationships, delegating, promoting learning and fostering the participation of others in problem solving (see Griffiths, 2000, p.5). Through this perspective, leadership performance is about the second person assessments that subordinates, colleagues and superiors make of the leader’s efficacy (the 360o feedback process). To be effective in this second person sense of leadership requires an inside understanding of the nature of the ‘mutual understandings’. “The art and science of we-interpretation is typically called hermeneutics (Wilber, 2007, p.37).

It may be seen that leadership effectiveness should also look at the interactions and culture of an organisation from the outside perspective. This is the role of the leader as the cultural anthropologist or ethno-methodologist: seeking to understand the nature of the underlying codes, conventions, and rules of interaction, with a view to either reinforcing or ‘leadin’ a change.

Through the second person dimension, leadership performance may be understood from both the inside and outside perspectives of Integral Methodological Pluralism. Through the inside, the leadership focus is on understanding the understandings that create the collective ‘we’: then using these understandings in the inter-personal leadership processes of communication, staff development, mentoring and the provision of feedback. From the outside perspective the focus is on understanding the nature of the culture form the perspective of change management or the selective reinforcement of the effective aspects of organisational culture.

The relationship between (the second person domain of culture) and bottom-line (third person) performance has been well documented (Kotter and Heskett, 1992). The literature on transformational and transactional leadership explicitly recognises the importance to effective leadership of the nexus between the first person intent of leaders, and the creation of second person ‘followship’. The important, if not obvious point, is that without effective followers, effective leadership can not exist in any meaningful sense of the word (Burns, 1978; Kotter, 1999).

First Person
The first person dimension is concerned with the interior intentions of the individual: what the leader thinks and feels. The focus is on what the leader values and therefore what informs the decisions that the leader makes. The key leadership question through the inside perspective of the individual dimension is the individuals’ ability to understand self. Leadership performance through this inside perspective is about the ability to observe self as the subject of first person experience: it includes processes such as introspection, meditation, phenomenology, and contemplation.

As with all three other dimensions, first person leadership can be observed from the outside perspective. This gives rise to the first person observation of the individuals’ leadership performance from the objective perspective of the ‘scientific’ observer. This outside perspective, on the inside performance of individuals, embraces the structuralism of development stage theories. Some of the development lines that may be considered from this perspective are presented below in the context of a discussion of lines and levels and Wilber’s concept of a psychograph.

At the core of the Integral approach is the observation that while all four quadrants involve different views, different methodologies and suggest different actions, an Integral Map provides a meta-framework that facilitates the integration and coherent consideration of multiple perspectives. In the following section the second and third elements of an Integral Map, all levels – all lines, will be seen to reinforce the explanatory value of the Integral Map.

All Levels – All Lines

Within an Integral Map, levels and lines are inter-related concepts: levels are defined in relation to a line of development; and a line is defined by the existence of observed levels of development.

An all levels–all lines analysis is based on the observation that in many natural phenomena there is a sequence (or line) from lower to higher levels of complexity (Wilber, 2007, p.5). As Ken Wilber explains:

“The word ‘level’ is not meant in a rigid or exclusionary fashion, but simply to indicate that there are important emergent qualities that tend to come into being in a discrete or quantum-like fashion, and these developmental jumps and levels are important aspects of many natural phenomena.” (Wilber, 2006, p.9.)

Furthermore, these levels or hierarchies are comprised of holons. A holon is a whole that is part of other wholes.

“For example, a whole atom is part of a whole molecule; a whole molecule is part of a whole cell; a whole cell is part of a whole organism. Or again, a whole letter is part of a whole word; which is part of a whole sentence; which is part of a whole paragraph; and son on. Reality is composed of neither wholes nor parts, but of whole/parts, or holons. Reality in all domains is basically composed of holons.” (Wilber, 2001, p.40.)

It should be recognized that there are any number of lines that may be identified within each of the four quadrants. In the upper-right, individual-interior, Wilber identifies ten lines: cognitive, moral, emotional, interpersonal, needs, self-identity, aesthetic, psychosexual, spiritual, and values (2006, p.11). These developmental lines, or multiple intelligences, may be included in a psychograph that recognizes that individual development may not occur evenly along each of the lines (Wilber, 2006, p.12). For example, an individual may be highly developed along the cognitive line (and capable of highly developed abstract conceptualisation) but poorly developed with respect to emotional sensitivity, or moral considerations.

Quadrants, Lines and Levels

Wilber has illustrated (see Figure 2) the all levels-all lines aspect of an Integral Map using a simple three level, one line in each quadrant model (2006, p.21). In the upper-left quadrant Wilber presents the expanding levels of personal awareness (from body, to mind to spirit). In the lower-left, moral development is shown to evolve from a ‘me’ (egocentric) focus, to a broader focus on ‘us’ (ethnocentric), to an ‘all of us’ (world centric) view. In the lower-right the increasing complexity of social structure, from group, to nation, to global is presented. While in the top-right, Wilber presents three levels of the exterior behaviour, actions, and movements of the objective body: gross, subtle, and causal (2006, p.22).

In the following, a similar three-stage model will be used to demonstrate the value of applying an all levels-all lines approach to exploring the meaning of leadership. As with Wilber’s simplified AQAL model, this three level AQAL model of leadership only looks at an indicative line in each of the quadrants (see Figure 3).

First Person
The upper-left quadrant of this AQAL leadership model could include all of the multiple-intelligences that have been identified by Wilber (2006, as listed in the text above) and should form part of a comprehensive consideration of leadership. The purpose of this essay, however, is usefully progressed by looking at decision making intensions as a holon from fixed choice (yes/no and selection) decisions; to more open how decision making; through to open ended decisions about what. It may be seen that the ability to make how decisions, embraces the ability to make fixed choice decisions, and that the ability to make what decisions embraces the ability to make how decisions.

To tease this decision making holon out a little, fixed choice decision making is being seen (almost by definition) to be a lower order, subset of open ended decision. The holonic nature of how and what decision making may be less obvious. By way of an example, it may be argued that the ‘what’ decision to ‘put a man on the moon’, did not include the technical decision making “know how”. However, viewed differently, the “what” decision was not actually a decision to put a man on the moon (no one could be sure it was possible), the decision was actually what to spend money on. From this perspective, the what decision may be seen to include the know how to direct considerable resources to this end. Defined this way, what decisions fully include how decisions that embrace fixed choice decision making.

figure 3

Figure 3. Wilber’s simple AQAL model
(Wilber, 2006, p19 and 21)

figure 4

Figure 4. An indicative AQAL Leadership Map.

Second Person
Within the cultural domain of the lower-left quadrant, the same indicative moral line of development as Wilber’s model is seen to be directly applicable to the current exploration of leadership. The line includes the same three levels: me; us; all of us (see Figure 2 and 3). This simple characterisation relates well to the notion that there are levels, or stages of leadership. From a base level ‘me’ focus, perhaps well characterised by the refrain, ‘when I say jump – just ask, how high?’ At the intermediate level the leader’s focus is on the team of ‘us’. At the peak, a team focus evolves into an organisational focus, and potentially beyond, to the widest possible view of ‘all of us’.

A well developed version of this simple schematic is presented by Rooke and Torbert’s, in their paper, the Seven Transformations of Leadership (2005). At the base level of their seven stage, Leadership Development Framework (LDF), Rooke and Tolbert identify the ‘opportunist’ leader who is characterised by a ‘self-orientated’ (me) approach. The fourth level, or ‘achiever’ stage in their model is characterised by (us) teamwork, while the highest ‘strategist’ stage (stage seven) is characterised by a whole of organisation view that ‘tends to take into account social and environmental impacts (Cooper, 2005).

Third Person – Individual
The third person domain of the upper–right quadrant focuses on the behavioural, performance aspects of leadership. This line picks up one of the themes of this essay and presents the view that individual performance ‘responsibility’ may be seen to accord with ‘generally accepted’ workplace notions of a leadership, management, and administration job role hierarchy. In the upper-right quadrant of the Integral Map the focus in on the exterior behaviour of the individual.

The following ‘common language or generally accepted’ view of job role distinctions has been verified against dictionary definitions of these terms. Interestingly, the (Concise Oxford) dictionary provides an indication of the potential ‘mushy’ nature of these terms, with its circular use of each term in explaining the meaning of other.

At the top level, head of organisation job roles are somewhat tautologically labelled the leadership roles. The leadership role may be seen to be that of establishing purpose and priorities for self and others. An effective organisation seeks to ensure maximum alignment of action, and the use of resources in accord with the established organisational purpose and priorities (a comprehensive view of this goal would embrace an all perspectives view, through and from all quadrants).

At the level below the leadership role is the management role. Management may be seen to flow from leadership in the sense that effective management is the process of organising and allocating resources (people and things) in accordance with the established purpose and priorities. Effective management is therefore contingent on effective leadership action. It may be said that that effective management action is a whole part of effective leadership action in a holonic sense.

The administration role may now be seen to be the process of formally giving out and tracking the allocation of resources (people and things). Effective administration is therefore contingent on effective organisation and allocation of resources. Effective administration is a whole part of effective management, which in turn is a whole part of effective leadership, a holon-hierarchy, or holarchy.

Third Person – Collective
The last of the quadrants (the lower-right), also picks up the leadership, management, and administration theme of this essay. Another version of ‘generally accepted’ workplace language is that the organisational structure of remuneration has leadership at the top, administration at the bottom and management in between. This ‘structural line’ is interesting in that it may be seen to find validity either from the above job role holarchy or from an implied remuneration line, that may be seen to find justification elsewhere.

If the job role line is used to explain this common workplace (hierarchical) nomenclature, it would be necessary to argue that leadership decisions of purpose and priority are always made by people in positions that receive the highest remuneration. (This issue is explored later in this essay by way of an example in the section on the Integral element of type.) Clearly this is not the case, in even the most hierarchical of organisational structures, people in the lowest level positions would be expected to prioritise their tasks and organise themselves in accordance with these priorities.

On the other hand, if the structural line of remuneration is seen to be a justified elsewhere, then by definition the levels of a remuneration line may be seen to relate as holons. This is nothing more elaborate than observing the mathematical relationship such that a larger quantum of money will always be comprised of smaller amounts. What is not self evident, is why these labels appear to have general ‘common language’ acceptance. It is not evident that there is actually something intrinsic to ‘administration’ job roles that create this reflection of remuneration levels in workplace nomenclature. This language may be seen to arise from a particular workplace division of labour and a particular blending of lines and levels of development from across the quadrants.

For example, the observation that ‘administrative jobs’ arise at the lower levels of remuneration, may be seen to correlate with a particular lower level of fixed choice (upper-left quadrant) decision making; with (upper-right quadrant) process level performance targets; along with an organisational structure that promotes and reinforces a (lower-right) egocentric, me or self-orientation, rather than collaborative problem solving and a team approach. Administrative staff may be given the role of attending to the phones when the rest of the team are meeting to discuss purpose and organisational matters, or may not be provided with the opportunity to meet with other ‘administrators’ to engage in joint problem solving.

At the ‘management’ level of the typical workplace organisational structure are the better remunerated jobs. These jobs may be seen to correlate with (upper-right) team level performance targets; (upper-left) decision making about how things are to be done; and explicitly to require team work and a (lower-right) ethnocentric ‘we are in this together’ culture.

At the highest organisational level of remuneration are the ‘leadership jobs’. To varying degrees, leadership positions explicitly require a (lower-left) world centric culture of ‘all of us’; with a focus on (upper-right) performance measures that capture the organisations meta-level purpose; and provide for a scope of (upper-left) decision making that explicitly includes establishing purpose and priorities (what decision making).

The above analysis has sought to demonstrate that the ‘common language’ workplace hierarchy of administration, management, and leadership has two dimensions. The first provides for a hierarchy of process or roles within the effective organisation. To be effective these identifiable job roles need to sit one within the other in a neat holon-like manner.

Second, it was suggested that the observed workplace nomenclature of remuneration levels, within an administration, management, and leadership structural line, can be justified, and constructed through a particular ‘division of labour’. This division of labour may be seen to draw support from any combination of levels and lines in the other quadrants of an Integral Map. This rationale was, however, seen to rely on a particular composite picture of job roles arising as a co-emergent justification for remuneration levels.

In the following section the Integral element, ‘states of consciousness’, will be explored to draw out its contribution to an understanding of leadership, and the related concepts of management and administration. As Wilber explains, the importance of states of consciousness to the analysis of an event may vary – but no integral analysis can afford to ignore them (2008, p.8).

All States

The difference between states of consciousness and levels (or stages) of development is important to recognise. While developmental levels of consciousness are permanent, states of consciousness are temporary. States of consciousness come and go (Wilber, 2007, p.5) and may be experienced at virtually any level of development (Wilber, 2007, p.90).

Wilber distinguishes between three ways in which various ‘states of consciousness’ may arise: natural, exogenous and endogenous. Natural states of consciousness are illustrated by Wilber in reference to what he calls the “three great states of consciousness”: waking, dreaming and deep sleep. States of consciousness may also be induced either internally through training and meditation; or externally through for example drugs (Wilber, 2006, p.16) or financial incentives.

In a workplace context, all three ways that the various states of consciousness may arise can be seen to have relevance to our understanding of leadership. As Wilber writes in another context: “The nice thing is that states are available at every stage – and therefore every station in life” (2007, p. 195). As a state of consciousness, leadership states would be available to every employee regardless of their personal level of development or their ‘station’ in the organisational structure.

It is certainly conceivable that the leadership characteristics that Carter-Scott (1994) lists can be viewed as temporary states, rather than stages. It seems self evident that employees, could be motivated, intrinsically or extrinsically, to think and behave in a leadership ‘state’. To draw from Carter-Scott’s definition of leadership, any one at any level could be induced into innovating, being original, thinking long range, looking to the horizon, challenging the status quo and so on.

To pursue this idea a little further. The concept of job satisfaction may itself be seen to be an induced state of consciousness that can arise at any level or stage of development. Furthermore, an Integral Map draws attention to the interdependence of activity and observations across the quadrants. For example, high levels of personal job satisfaction – or leadership thinking and behaviour – will co-arise in a supportive culture, with balanced and relevant performance targets and standards, and an appropriate organisational structure. This reflects the type of job satisfaction and distributed leadership needed for “those who operate closest to the action to be empowered to take decisions that allows a quick and effective organisational response” (Stace and Dunphy. 2001, p.11-13).

It may be seen that our understanding of leadership and organisational effectiveness would be seriously flawed without full consideration of the nature and dimensions of induced states of consciousness. It should however, not go without observation that the full range of the ‘natural states of consciousness’ are also relevant to our understanding of leadership and organisational effectiveness. Simplistically, it may be argued that competent, if not ‘superior mastery’, of the states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are necessary and beneficial to all consciousness and behaviour. That is, the ability to be fully awake, to dream, and to sleep deeply as time and place require may be seen to be important considerations for all: for those leading the way, for those who are managing, and for those administering the process.

A more evolved Integral Map, or an Integral leader, might push this concept further, to argue that mastery of higher states of consciousness through meditation is a precursor to higher stages of development, and by implication a precursor to higher levels of leadership and organisational effectiveness. As Wilber explains: “The more you are plunged into higher states of consciousness – such as meditative states – the faster you will grow and develop through any of the stages of consciousness …these transformative practices are an important part of an Integral Approach” (2007, p. 11).

In the following section, the final element of the integral map is explored. It is suggested that an understanding of the difference between type and level provides a unique insight into the administration, management and leadership ‘trilogy’ and an opportunity for a more effective definition of these terms.

All Types

Types refer to items that can be present at virtually any stage or state (Wilber, 2006, p.11). An interesting thing about types is that they can arise as healthy and unhealthy versions. However, as Wilber explains: “To say someone is caught in an unhealthy type is not a way to judge them but to understand and communicate more clearly and effectively with them” (2006, p.16).

Types may be identified through all four quadrants (see Figure 4). The identification of a type in one quadrant can impact on one line, or all lines, and can impact at all levels in one or all quadrants. For example, type of organisation (public, private or not for profit) will have implications for job descriptions and structure in the same quadrant; and for performance measurement, scope of decision making and culture in the other quadrants.

Figure 5. Leadership Map – all quadrant examples of type. Types may be identified in relation to each of the four domains of the quadrants and may have relevance to considerations in relation to one or all other domains.

figure 5

(Wilber, 2001, 2006, 2007; Stace and Dunphy, 2001; Chopra, 1995)

An understanding of type of structure, cultural orientation, personal style or state of consciousness may be important from the perspective of seeking to ensure that ‘irrelevant’ aspects of type do not get confused or misinterpreted in an assessment of development level. The potential importance of confusion between levels of development and type, may be seen to inform definitions of discrimination embodied in equal opportunity legislation. The Western Australian Equal Opportunity Act 1984 explicitly addresses the possibility of discrimination on the grounds of type. It includes mention of types of sex, marital status, family status, race, religion, political conviction, impairment and age (Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, 2007).

As critically important as the above understanding is to leadership and workplace effectiveness, in the context of this essay, an Integral understanding of type may now be seen to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of leadership and the associated concepts of management and administration.

It may be seen that almost all jobs, irrespective of level in the job hierarchy, include leadership, management and administrative types of processes or job roles. In this context, administrative functions were defined as job roles that are concerned with the formal allocation and tracking of resources; while management job roles are concerned with organising and allocating resources; and the leadership process as being the process of establishing purpose and priorities.

Furthermore, it can be seen that any one of these job roles can be undertaken with an innovative, original, long term, or even ‘maverick’ approach; or with the narrow, short range, approach of the risk adverse. The difference between these job roles is not the first person approach but the tasks and function.

It may be seen that at one extreme, there are administration processes that require long range, eye on the horizon, meta-level capabilities that can and should only be made at the highest levels of structural responsibility and performance accountability. For example, the final yes/no decision, signature at the bottom of the page, to commit large amounts of organisational resources to a computerised administration system.

At the other extreme, there are leadership decisions made every day by every member of staff about their purpose and priorities what they will do next, or what their team will do. These decisions have real consequences for the performance of the individual, the effectiveness of the team and the organisation.

The purpose of this essay has been to demonstrate that an Integral Map provides a useful framework within which various scholarly and ‘common language’ concepts of leadership may be clarified. In particular this essay has sought to demonstrate that not only does an Integral Map provide a framework for a more comprehensive understanding of leadership but that it also provides for a more comprehensive understanding of the related concepts of management and administration.

In the following section a brief exploration of the workplace agenda of flatter management structures is undertaken to illustrate the contemporary workplace relevance of a more developed understanding of the relationship between administration, management, and leadership. Furthermore, this exploration provides for an interesting application of the notion of healthy and unhealthy types to this discussion.

Flatter Management Structures and More …

Flatter management structures are created by the removal of intermediate layers in the job hierarchy. If this ‘delayerin’ removes pseudo layers then flatter structures may, as frequently argued, remove impediments to performance and job satisfaction. However, if on the other hand, delayering was driven by a poorly conceived cost cutting agenda (or was just poorly conceived) then the result may be an unhealthy ‘anorexic’ loss of organisational connections.

“The spate of ‘delayerin’ we have seen in recent years is therefore justified, provided that it has been carried out according to a consistent theory of organisation – provided that it is the ‘pseudo-levels’ that disappear, and not real flesh-and-blood connections which help to sustain the whole organisation…”
(Mant, 1999, p.274).

Flatter management structures have also been synonymous with multi-skilling and therefore with the merging of administration, management and leadership job role functions. This has produced both healthy and unhealthy outcomes.

Healthy Version

The healthy version of the reduced distinction between leadership, management and administration in job role functions finds expression in celebrations of the efficacy of ‘distributed leadership’ (Griffiths, 2004) and in moving “Beyond the Boundaries: leading and re-creating the successful enterprise (Stace and Dunphy, 2001).

Empowering people and teams to engage in risk management and continuous improvement is an important adaptation to the fast moving, global nature of most product and service contexts. More rigorous risk management and continuous improvement strategies may be seen to aid both the leadership purpose of flatter management structures and to be an organisational response to managing in the new order.

In this version of reality, the blending of leadership, management and administration roles across the structure may be both a driver and a useful adaptation to the context. The outcome being enjoyed as enhanced job satisfaction, improved performance and increased organisational effectiveness.

Unhealthy Version

The unhealthy version of the reduced distinction between administration, management and leadership within the job roles of flatter structures may be seen to find expression in two types of outcomes.

First, there are the consequences of an inadequate investment during the transition to flatter management structures, and to more rigorous risk management and continuous improvement. This is characterised by the practice of assuming self empowered teams as a strategy, a means to an end, but not adequately investing in self empowered teams as an objective in its own right.

Stace and Dunphy’s research has revealed that the implementation of ‘semiautonomous or self regulating teams’ needs to be a phased process of structured on-the-job and off-the-job training and professional development. They “suggest that substantial resources are needed at each phase of the introduction of team self management …[and that] Even with the addition of extra resources, there is normally an initial decrease in group performance at each phase” (Stace and Dunphy, 2001, p.209).

Second, there is the impact on the performance and job satisfaction of senior people in organisations; the people responsible for the meta-level establishment of purpose, performance measures, organisational structure and change leadership/management. This may arise from an increase in the time spent in dealing with devolved administrative process, or from more rigorous risk management and the imperatives of continuous improvement: a flatter management structure also means there are fewer people to assist and those that are left may be busier and challenged by their own role ambiguity.

In this context, the impact of blending leadership, management and administration roles across the structure may not be understood or recognised as a concern by all. An Integral Map of leadership, and a comprehensive language within which to discuss what is going on, may nevertheless be an effective step in the right direction and conceivably an outcome that may still be enjoyed as enhanced job satisfaction, improved performance, and increased organisational effectiveness.


This essay has explored the concept of workplace leadership en route to an Integral understanding of workplace effectiveness, through Ken Wilber’s Integral Map and Integral Methodological Pluralism (2001, 2006 and 2007).

In the following section a summary of the key suggestions arising from this exploration is presented. In closing the loop, the four definitions and views of leadership introduced in the second section of this essay (From Management to Leadership and beyond …) are reviewed in the context of the ideas presented in this essay.

All Quadrants – All Perspectives
Using the outside and inside perspectives of Integral Methodological Pluralism, it was suggested that an understanding of leadership and organisational effectiveness is enhanced by an all quadrant approach that embraces the first, and second person dimensions of leadership, as well as the third person dimensions of leadership.

It may now be seen that Carter-Scott’s (1994) characterisation of leadership as superior to management is essentially a first person focus on the intentional qualities of leaders. To recap, leaders are portrayed as originals, with an eye on the horizon they challenge the status quo, they focus on people, they are their own person, they do the right thing and have a long-range perspective – they are ‘mavericks’ (the full list, as cited in Covey, 2004 was presented earlier in this essay).

It is of interest that Drucker’s (1977) characterisation of leadership as a subset of management may be seen to embrace the four dimensions of an Integral Map of leadership under the label management, not leadership.

Kotter’s definition of leadership as a superior adaptation to change may also be seen to be compatible with the four dimensions of an Integral Map. He explicitly talks about the need for all words and deeds to be aligned to overcoming the full range of political, bureaucratic and resource barriers, he also talks about developing a vision and the strategies to produce the changes needed. With a little unpacking it may be seen that Kotter provides for a comprehensive (all dimensions) view of leadership. There is, however, an interesting anomaly implicit in Kotter’s definition of leadership and the way that he contrasts leadership to management.

Having defined the purpose of leadership as being to ‘produce change’, all the elements of Kotter’s concept of leadership are presented in the language of dynamic and uncertain conditions. Somewhat tautologically, leadership is defined as being about action to lead change. On the other hand, all of the language in his discussion of management is couched in terms of stability and predictability. It may be seen that it would have been feasible for Kotter to have reversed this schematic: to have created a dynamic definition of change management on the one hand and a command and control leadership focus on the other.

Within an explicit change management dynamic (and a change in the flavour of the language used) there is little, if any, fundamental difference between leadership and management evident in Kotter’s dichotomy. This may be seen to open the way for an integration of leadership and change management into what would, by design, provide for a more Integral Approach to workplace issues of leadership, management and change.

Drucker’s 1998 view of leadership and management as types reinforces key aspects of his (1977) definition. In his revised view, leadership and management are described as belonging to the ‘same body’. This view is explicitly compatible with an all quadrant Integral Map and with the notion of management and leadership as ‘type’. In Drucker’s later view, management and leadership are jointly seen as part of a whole, rather than leadership being seen as a subset of management, what the concept of the ‘whole’ might be defined as is less clear.

All Lines – All Levels
This essay also sought to demonstrate that the Integral concept of lines and levels, and the associated concept of holons, provide further support for the value of an all quadrant approach to leadership. In an exploration of the ‘common language’ workplace notions of administration, management, and leadership, it was suggested that an all quadrant approach had useful explanatory value in two ways.

First, it was seen that when job roles are defined in the context of effective performance in a ‘process line’, a coherent holarchy is formed in which effective administration may be seen to be a whole part of effective management, which in turn may be seen to be a whole part of leadership.

Second, it was suggested that observed workplace structural nomenclature and remuneration levels co-arise through a particular ‘division of labour’. The division of labour and the associated remuneration levels may be seen to rely on a particular composite picture of job roles. A picture that is suggested to gain explanatory credence from lines and levels defined in other quadrants. As a result, a job description hierarchy that fits the remuneration hierarchy may be constructed, albeit in a contextually specific way.

While Drucker’s 1977 schema presents a clear management-leadership holarchy, it is silent on where administration might fit. It would, however, be relatively straight forward to extend Drucker’s schema to include administration as another subset of the all encompassing operations of management. Ducker’s characterisation may be modified to provide for the view that the ‘operations of management’ include three types: leadership operations, administration operations and the residual, management operations.

The other two views of leadership may be seen to suggest that leadership is a level above management. First, Carter-Scott’s (1994) first person characteristics of leadership explicitly contrast administration to the notion of leadership as innovation. Carter-Scott’s schematic presents a dichotomy in which there is an implied sense that leadership is superior to management. He does not, however, provide for the delineation of levels within a coherent notion of lines of development. His dichotomy may therefore be seen to resolve into a delineation of types, not levels in the Integral sense of these concepts.

Second, as suggested above, Kotter’s definition of leadership as a superior adaptation to change is grounded in his observations of the importance and pace of change to organisational effectiveness, which is matched to a particular use of language in delineating leadership from management. This view may be seen to resolve into a distinction based on a difference in the type of context: on the one hand a context of dynamic change and on the other, one of stability and predictability. Leadership and management may be reworked within Kotter’s definition of these terms to argue that the language used in delineating the skills and behaviour sets is actually derived from the imputed context, not something fundamental to the concepts of leadership or management.

Drucker’s 1998 refinement of his definition is explicitly concerned with the proposition that management and leadership are part and parcel of the whole body, equal but different, they may be understood as types within an Integral Map.

States of Consciousness
The concept of states of consciousness was used to further explore the definitions of leadership and to draw out the interdependence of activity and observations across the quadrants. It was suggested that superior job satisfaction and leadership states may be induced at all levels of the organisation. Furthermore, it was suggested that such states would tend to arise within the context of a supportive culture; in which there are balanced and relevant performance targets, policies, and standards; and an appropriate organisational structure.

The relevance of natural states of consciousness to effective leadership and organisational effectiveness was asserted and briefly discussed. It was also suggested, that a more evolved Integral Map might embrace the role of meditation as a state of consciousness catalyst, or even a precursor, to higher stages of development, leadership, and organisational effectiveness.

All Types
The Integral element of type was seen to provide insight towards a more comprehensive understanding of workplace leadership in two ways.

First, Equal Opportunity legislation was seen to be both an attempt to promote a healthy approach to types, and to control unhealthy types. A further development on this theme promotes healthy types by seeking to avoid the confusion of irrelevant information about type with information about level and state of consciousness.

Second, type was seen to significantly assist an understanding of the nature of leadership and the related concepts of management and administration. When leadership, management and administration are viewed as types of job role functions, rather than levels, an important opportunity to engage in a full discussion of the range of skills, knowledge and experience needed to prosper and survive in the contemporary workplace is opened up. Administration, management and leadership may be seen as job role tasks that have relevance and application at all levels in the structure. Furthermore, it was suggested that in different ways all four definitions and views of leadership canvassed in section two of this essay (and explored in this conclusion) resolve as differences in type, not level.

En Route to Organisational Effectiveness
An Integral Map of leadership has been used in this essay to provide for a comprehensive discussion of the importance of the third person dimensions of leadership to effective leadership performance. It is proposed that the discussion of organisational effectiveness and leadership performance will be enhanced by the inclusion of the full range of third person perspectives (inside and outside) on performance measurement (targets, policy and standards) and organisational structure (including meetings).

It was also suggested that a ‘common language’ definition of administration, management and leadership provides for a holarchy that usefully defines effective leadership as the framework within which effective management occurs, and thereafter provides the context for effective administration: not as a particular persons job, but as part of the role of all people, at all levels, in the decision making and functional structure of workplaces.

The Integral element of states of consciousness was seen to provide for an understanding of how ‘leadership’ options at all levels in the organisational structure can be opened up: if structure and performance measurement; culture; and first person intent, are appropriately supportive.

Finally, the element of type was seen to provide a useful conceptual tool within which leadership, management and administration may be said to have relevance at all levels within the job hierarchy. Flatter management structures, risk management and continuous improvement were seen to assume (explicitly or implicitly) the need for leadership type decision making to be appropriately reflected at all levels in the organisational structure.

This discussion also reinforced the importance of effective leadership decision making at the meta-level to ensure that management and administration decisions about purpose and priorities are established in the best interests of the organisation. It is in this context that it was suggested that flatter management structures may result in an unhealthy organisational type: where there is inadequate provision for the establishment of meta-level leadership purpose and priorities. A scenario that may have its origins in any of the quadrants, including: an approach to performance management that does not take into account all perspectives; development lines in any of the quadrants in which an appropriate level of development has not been attained, or resourced; the impact of induced states of consciousness on behaviour and organisational culture; and a confusion between type, levels and states in the language and culture of the organisation.

This essay has sought to demonstrate that an Integral Map of leadership, combined with Integral Methodological Pluralism, provides a useful framework within which effective leadership and organisational effectiveness may be explored and more comprehensively understood.


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