An ecological perspective on organizations and leadership

Gerda van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper addresses the growing complexity with which society and organizations are faced, and the concomitant implications and challenges for leadership. Organizational Ecology, an ecological perspective on organizations, can help, not by reducing this complexity, but by developing other ways of exploring, engaging with and understanding this complexity. An ecological perspective implies an approach of dynamic, complex, adaptive configurations, having emergent qualities, being subject to underlying dynamics through time and forming part of and being affected by a greater whole. Complexity is regarded as a given, as a starting point. This paper further elaborates on the implications of an ecological perspective for organizations, for leadership and leadership studies, proposing a transdisciplinary approach that extends beyond the sum of different disciplines, and a strong interaction between theory and practice - an approach to discover simplicity in complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-177
Number of pages19
JournalAdministration and Public Employment Review
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • organizational ecology, complexity, leadership, management, system thinking, complex adaptive systems


Dive into the research topics of 'An ecological perspective on organizations and leadership'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this