Adriaan Bekman: The Horizontal Leadership Book
2010, Alert Verlag, ISBN 978-3-941136-07-6
This book contains the main concepts on horizontal leadership and organizational development which Adriaan Bekman published over the past years in Dutch. It gives a good insight to his key thoughts and research findings as expressed here in the case descriptions, concepts, leadership experiences, and tools. The reader will gain a better understanding of how horizontal leadership, organizing and Sense-Making are connected to and interrelated with each other. Following a structured approach the author initially explains the practical and conceptual aspects to horizontal organizing and horizontal leadership. This first part with a basic thinking description is followed by a more philosophical and methodological part wherein the leadership research methodology is explained. Moreover, in part two case stories demonstrate how leadership in organizations has an explicit relation to the wider community. However, leadership is a very personal issue.
Throughout his book Adriaan Bekman recurs on the metaphor of organizations as living organisms. He has discovered that whilst management on the one hand is more linked to the vertical dimension of organizing, leadership on the other hand is more linked to the process of organizational change and development. Furthermore the author describes how horizontal leadership is not a person, but that it depends on a process of the organizational community in which we all participate. He also concentrates on the importance and impact of the way we dialogue, being the key dimension of the leadership’s ability to make the process of “creating change” work successfully. In completing his theoretical explanations the author provides the reader with detailed descriptions of the tools which can facilitate the leadership process in practice.