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December 03, 2004

A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership

By Russell L. Ackoff

Systemic Practice and Action Research, (1998), 11(1), 23-36

What do systems thinkers think about leadership? Russell Ackoff provides his response, and goes further to describe "transformational" leadership. Important distinctions are drawn between the concepts of leadership and transformation, efficiency and effectiveness, growth and development. Ackoff discusses four types of systems and emphasizes that leaders must understand the particular nature of their system in order to achieve transformation.

To read this article, click on the link: A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership.


A Systemic Transformation

Types of Systems: Deterministic, Animated, Social, Ecological

Transformational leaders are driven by ideas, not by the expectations of others. They are skillful at beating the system, not surrendering to it.

Transformational leaders must understand the nature of a system. A system is a functioning whole that cannot be divided into independent parts and be effective.

A system is transformed when the type of system it is thought to be is changed.

Posted by ACASA on December 3, 2004 at 02:26 PM in Systems Articles | Permalink


I find the materials informative, rewarding and exciting. For example, the distinction drawn between growth and development particularly hits home. In the sixties, Liberia (a native of) had a per capita (approximately $600) comparable to Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, but behind that veneer of economic prosperity was a significant lack of development. To date, liberia is an impoverihed and heavily indebted nation while Japan and Korea are an economic success. Growth is not necessarily development.Thanks

Posted by: Lemuel Fahngonlfahngon at Jan 5, 2011 7:14:36 PM

I would appreciate contact information for Dr. Ackoff. An employee in my company would like to post excerpts from "A Systematic View of Tranformational Leadership" on his personal, internal web-blog. I need to contact Dr. Ackoff to request permission. Thank you.

Posted by: Gene at Apr 2, 2008 4:24:12 PM

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