When No One Is in Charge

I feel the second quote by Brundtland summarizes the heart of the Crosby/Bryson reading.

"We live in an era in the history of nations when there is a greater need than ever for coordinated political action and responsibility� (p. 3).

Thus one needs to seek how to engage different minds and perspectives so as to meet the desired mutual goal of progress—whatever it may look like.

Reading this chapter, I was struck by the simplicity in which modes of interacting with stakeholders and a challenge (or problem) was identified. I certainly don’t have a problem with the chapter focusing on "problems� versus more positives, and I did appreciate the Greek root of the word, and it makes perfect sense to "engage in something thrown forward for citizens to work with� (p. 17). I believe that is where we as a nation are at, and as a world as well. We do need to embrace our problems so as to find appropriate solutions.

A shared power framework seeks to understand, and seeks collective responsibility as the way forward, it took a lot of stakeholders to get the civil rights movement going, and it is the same shared power that has changed the course of our nation that resulted in the momentous event on January 20.

I’m excited to explore ways in which I can combine the rational planning model with an adhocractic style that the "no-one-in-charge� plan espouses.


A shared power framework seeks to understand, and seeks collective responsibility as the way forward

I think this goes back to what we were discussing in class in response to the question "Can there be too many leaders?" I think the answer is - no. I think in a situation where everyone understands and assumes collective responsibility, thinking rationally as they move forward, each has their own component of 'leadership.'

I think Plato would support this type of leadership. It isn't anarchy in the absence of structure entirely, or "no-power." More along the lines of "all-power," possibly?

Yes, Jamie I concur! If what you mean by “all power� is to tap into the reserves and strengths of all while fusing, streamlining for a good solution that caters to a need. Yeah!

And like you, I don’t think there can be too many leaders, Brundtland answers that question with her quote. I can see the challenges of a shared-power model as people might assume that "when no one is in charge" there is chaos. This perception, in my view, comes from a very limited view of what leadership really is about or entails. I agree that there is a need for a point-person, a “go-to� but these people (at the top) need leaders to keep them aware and knowledgeable, i.e. a president of a country does not rely (only) on his/her smarts to lead, s/he has a network of leaders making things work so as to address challenges and concerns.

I have no thought-provoking questions on which to end…, except maybe this one thought the whole idea of Wikipedia is an example of shared power without too much chaos. You think?

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs