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Current thinking considers the Women's Cooperative Guild within the English Cooperative Movement to have been an independent and democratically run organization whose leaders built sisterhood across class lines and achieved many benefits for married working-class women. This study of the dynamics of gender within the movement between 1883 and 1921 arrives at different conclusions. Blaszak examines what freedoms of speech and activity women were permitted within the movement, as well as what resources they were given to accomplish their tasks. Ultimately, the parameters set by the men would determine the type of female leadership that emerged and whether it was able to realize its feminist and utopian agendas.
Setting the organization's activities within the context of gender relations in the Cooperative Movement, Blaszak finds that the Guild was much more dependent and much less democratically directed than has usually been supposed. Restrictions established by male cooperators and enhanced by the realities of working-class life turned the Guild into a clique dominated by a few. Even the Guild's most revered leader, Margaret Llewelyn Davies, found it impossible to escape the gendered socio-economic circumstances in which she labored at her ministry to improve the lives of working-class women. Consequently, her leadership inadvertently assisted male cooperators in their attempts to limit possibilities for women.
When Simon Western's Leadership text first published, it received rave reviews from students, academics and practising leaders and managers all over the world. Written in an accessible style, the book challenges the notion of the individual or hero leader. Western develops the idea of leadership as a distributed process and provides a new framework for understanding and implementing this. Part one deconstructs leadership, providing a critical review and analysis of the key debates within leadership, part two reconstructs leadership, revealing the three dominant discourses of the controller, therapist and messiah, and a new chapter on eco-leadership develops ideas for a new leadership in 21st century organizations. This widely anticipated second edition has been completely updated in line with recent events and the latest practice and research. End of chapter questions encourage reflection and a new epilogue which brings together the core messages of the book. This insightful and inspiring text draws on Western's diverse consulting experience, combining theory and practice to offer insights into the real challenges facing leaders today. It is ideal reading for MBA and postgraduate students of Leadership, OB and HRM as well as practising managers and leaders.