My question is from what perspective might one oppose the embodiment of leadership?  Many of the perspectives that I suspect our group are interested in would be related to either descriptions of leadership or pedagogical approaches to teaching leadership.  There are lots of examples of using embodiment metaphors for leadership in both of these perspectives.  Case in point, a few of us have been writing on the “conductor as leader” metaphor, such as one of my recent blog posts:

If the perspective is a research one, then it comes down to the positivist tradition vs other traditions, which we’ve struggled with in educational research for a long time.  Finding a balance between traditions and between quantitative vs qualitative methodologies is important when we’re talking about a social science with a pedagogical mandate.  I suppose research on leadership is not always seen as having this mandate...


John Churchley, EdD
Assistant Superintendent 
School District #73 (Kamloops/Thompson)

Principal Lecturer
Thompson Rivers University
(as of Aug 1, 2016) :)

PS: I’m a big Shusterman’s somaesthetics fan.

On Apr 15, 2016, at 7:20 PM, Michael Gold <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Ah but THAT was my point AG

The poem was a response to the hyper intellectual approach to the issue.

It is ART that will change the way people understand the embodiment of leadership.

Getting people to feel who they in collaboration with those who they work with is a powerful step towards understanding the empathy needed to lead effectively.

Michael Gold, Ph.D.
Jazz Impact
612 701 6046

On Apr 15, 2016, at 6:17 PM, Arlene Goldbard wrote:

Perhaps it would be useful to have a slightly less heady discussion of embodiment, in a slightly different vein than Michael has offered. Surely one of the points of this work is to enable human beings to bring themselves whole into professional and institutional settings, rather than going along with the too-common operating assumption that body, emotion, and spirit are left outside the door. When I give talks on this subject, I ask this question: What’s the worst thing you can do in a boardroom? The women generally answer first, and all it takes is one word: “Cry.” The critique of embodiment doesn’t have to be stated; it’s the default setting most of the time. Much more on this in my books The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future and The Wave.

all best,


On Apr 15, 2016, at 12:31 PM, Stephen Linstead <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


On 15 Apr 2016 19:22, "prem saran" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

As a retired member of the Indian Administrative Service (which mans the top leadership positions in the Government of India), with an MBA from the elite Indian Institute of Management Calcutta as well as a self-reflexive [i.e. practising adept's] Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of California [Routledge, 2006] on the "embodied"/"somaesthetic" [vide the eponymous book by Richard Shusterman, "Thinking Through the Body", Cambridge University Press, 2012] as also high-philosophical Indic discipline of Tantra, I found your and David's responses to be the most sensible [sic].


PS. What's "waur"?

(Dr. Prem Saran, IAS (Retd)


From: Michael Gold <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2016 10:24 PM
Subject: Re: Harsh critics of embodied leadership?

Comin thro' the Rye

[First Setting]
Comin thro' the rye, poor body,
     Comin thro' the rye,
She draigl't a' her petticoatie
     Comin thro' the rye.

          Oh Jenny 's a' weet poor body
               Jenny 's seldom dry,
          She draigl't a' her petticoatie
               Comin thro' the rye.

Gin a body meet a body
     Comin thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body —
     Need a body cry.
          Oh Jenny 's a' weet, &c.

Gin a body meet a body
     Comin thro' the glen;
Gin a body kiss a body —
     Need the warld ken!
          Oh Jenny 's a' weet, &c.

[Second Setting]
Gin a body meet a body, comin thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body cry;
Ilka body has a body, ne'er a ane hae I;
But a' the lads they loe me, and what the waur am I.

Gin a body meet a body, comin frae the well,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body tell;
Ilka body has a body, ne'er a ane hae I,
But a the lads they loe me, and what the waur am I.

Gin a body meet a body, comin frae the town,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body gloom;
Ilka Jenny has her Jockey, ne'er a ane hae I,
But a' the lads they loe me, and what the waur am I.
Michael Gold, Ph.D.
Jazz Impact

On Apr 15, 2016, at 12:13 PM, Neelands, Jonothan wrote:

Maybe we need to distinguish between the body that is the leader and the use of the body in leadership and strategy. Define different senses of the term embodied leadership so that we can see what people might be against?  J 

Jonothan Neelands PhD, DSc, FRSA.
Associate Dean Creativity | Warwick Business School
 | University of Warwick
Research Lead | Executive Bid Committee Coventry 2021

 WBS CreateThink, Dream, Act Differently
Coventry City of Culture 2021

On 15 Apr 2016, at 12:20, P Ibbotson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Jolly interesting question. Might be that "embodied leadership" is a bit of a tautology. You can't have leadership without there being a body to do the leading.The same might be said of friendship, so difficult to argue against.
I have had conversations with data analysts and quants who say they would be happy to have algorithms making the important decisions because they are free from emotional and cognitive bias and can access vastly more data to collect evidence for their choices. They are comfortable with robot leaders but not really "against" embodied ones. Processes like six sigma and 360 degree feedback could be viewed as attempts to make leadership more detached and mechanical to avoid the dangers of narcissism and despotism that come with a focus on the "embodied self" as the leader. You could also argue that "embodied leadership" is inherently anti-democratic and puts the acts of the leader above the decisions of the collective arrived at through debate. 

Piers Ibbotson
Principal Teaching Fellow 
Warwick Business School

From: Aesthetics, Creativity, and Organisations Research Network <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Matzdorf, Fides <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 15 April 2016 09:21
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Harsh critics of embodied leadership?
Dear AACORNers,
Do you know of any explicit opponents to 'embodied leadership' and 'embodied leadership learning' concepts? I've searched, but can't find any... 

Or would 'opposition' in this case simply amount to 'ignore that lot'?   ;)

I'm relatively new to this field, so forgive my ignorance...

All the best,
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|  (Ms) F Matzdorf   MA  FHEA
|  Senior Research Fellow
|  Sheffield Business School
|  Sheffield  S1 1WB
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