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Organisational leadership, multitasking and multiple timescales

Organisational leadership, multitasking and multiple timescales

Coulson-Thomas, Colin (2017) Organisational leadership, multitasking and multiple timescales. Effective Executive, XX (3):03M-2017-09-. pp. 14-30. ISSN 0972-5172

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Multitasking is not a panacea and it can have adverse consequences. For organisational leaders multi-tasking can be a particular challenge that is compounded when they have to handle and balance the imperatives of short-term problems, some of which may require immediate responses, and longer-term issues such as climate change, protecting the environment and sustainability. Handling some tasks can require collaborative responses that take account of the actions of others. As tasks multiply and/or involve external parties their management and monitoring can become more demanding. A scheme of delegation and the extent of empowerment may need to be reviewed. In some cases, task routing and handling might have to be preceded by a change of policy.

Boards should take a holistic view of the portfolios of tasks being undertaken across the companies for which they are responsible, many of which may be interdependent while others are in conflict. They should look for patterns, trends, common drivers and/or underlying root causes. Individual tasks may be much less important than their collective implications for the continuing relevance and value of a corporate vision, strategy, objectives and priorities. A monthly board meeting alone may not provide the strategic direction and oversight a portfolio of climate change related tasks, projects and initiatives of differing timescales may require. Sometimes only when multi-tasking fails is a matter brought to a board and its consideration triggers a change of direction. Effective collective responses to climate change can build bridges across belief, governance and political systems but for this to occur we need boards that are positive, proactive, opportunity focused and collaborative.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is based upon a theme and convention paper prepared by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas for the 19th World Congress on Environment Management. The published version was peer reviewed.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leadership, Organisational Leadership, Multitasking, Multiple timescales, Decision Making, Categorising issues, Prioritising issues, Categorisation, Prioritisation, Handling Challenges, Handling opportunities, Sustainability, Climate change, Global warming, Shared tasking, Collaborative responses, Regulations, Task handling, Creativity, Innovation, Entrepreneurial responses, Growth, Sustainable growth, Long-terms growth, Task handling constraints, Stakeholders, Stakeholder requirements, Stakeholder perspectives, Uncertainty, Longer-term task handling, Changing direction, Collective action, Collaboration, Collaborative responses, Policy options, Scenarios, Future scenarios, Possible future scenarios, Patterns, Trends, Portfolios
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW)
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Leadership & Organisational Behaviour Research Group (LOB)
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2020 12:57

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