Expedition Leadership: Lessons for Corporate Management Leadership in mountaineering and in the corporate environment

Theodorovics, Christine (2021) Expedition Leadership: Lessons for Corporate Management Leadership in mountaineering and in the corporate environment. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/9PW4H7H6

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The study of leadership has sparked much interest among researchers over the last decades. One approach to increase the value of leadership research for practitioners is to explore it in a cross-sectional context, such as mountaineering. However, most of the literature on mountaineering leadership practices are not empirically researched, but based on the individual experience of an alpinist. This thesis seeks to define a connection between expedition leadership and corporate management by bridging academics and management practitioners. It provides critical insights into the key drivers of expedition leadership practices by exploring three research questions: how expedition leaders become leaders, how they manage group dynamics and how they make decisions. The study took a constructivist position using a qualitative methodology analysing interviews with 13 expedition leaders to obtain - narratives. This expert-sample included respondents from eight countries between the ages of 39 and 97 years. A thematic analysis was followed by narrative analysis, whereby power emerged as a new lateral and overarching theme. The importance of emotional intelligence was shown in the literature, including servant leadership (Greenleaf, 1977), distributed leadership (Gronn, 2009; Bolden, 2011) and conversational leadership (Groysberg & Slind, 2012). Team building, trust and communication were also identified as success factors and empowerment was also shown to be critically important. This thesis contributes to existing research knowledge in the area of leadership with the following learnings. In many respects, expedition leadership was ahead of the curve: (1) The development of leadership away from hierarchical, big organizations towards small, light, and agile teams. Distributed leadership based on empathy and emotional intelligence was often applied. (2) Most expedition leaders lived through many qualified experiences early on. Expert power grew into referent power and supported their authenticity. (3) Expedition leaders developed strategies to create an ecosystem for remote communication, necessary for a successful expedition long before this topic was relevant in the corporate world. (4) The hardest decisions to manage were not the ones following critical incidents, but the “wicked” ones, which were people related, especially involving summit politics.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Williams, Suescwilliams@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/sue-williams/
Chatwin, Raymondrchatwin@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leadership; Expedition leadership; Corporate management; Group dynamics; Decision-making
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD58 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2024 14:56
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2024 15:24
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/13937

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