Leadership in alternative organizing processes: Invitational and dramaturgical leadership

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Taylor & Francis


In contrast to traditional bureaucracies, alternative organizations offer sites in which leadership focuses on opposing tensions between dualities such as individual‐collective, power over‐power with, inequality‐equality, and autonomy‐interdependence. We present two case studies of leadership in a food cooperative and a quilting guild, in which leaders and members construct processual themes and practices that can be captured by images of invitation and of dramaturgical foregrounding‐backgrounding. These images are coherent enough to enable performance of varied democratic practices but are flexible enough to allow for dialectic tensions. This flexibility enables the cooperative and guild organizations to remain true to their participatory values despite external and internal changes.