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René Van Someren

EMOP as a leadership/followership guide: #5 / 5 - Context

A basic requirement for Situational Leadership.

O.K. You have now looked at relevant data in width, height, depth, and time. Once you have collected, analysed, interpreted and understood those data you should have a wealth of information about the “What?” and “When?” about a broad array of organisational aspects.

Non-contextual data tends to tell us “What” and “When”?

This could, for example, inform management of a certain organisation that their non-managerial workers are now more satisfied about certain job aspects than they were last year and that their feelings are strongly influenced by feeling that the technological tools that are available are more suitable now than they were last year. Having only this information may lead us to draw wrong conclusions about what happened over the past year that brought about these changes. Placing findings from those four dimensions into context may help us make sense of that information. It may help us give meaning to that information, by answering questions, such as: “How?”, “Why?” and “Whereby?”.

Contextual data may answer questions such as: “How”, “Why” and “Whereby”?

In keeping with the previous example, contextual examination could tell us if organisation members felt that the technological means were more suitable, for instance, because:
  • New, more suitable technological means were acquired and made available to them;
  • Existing, more suitable technological means were made available to them;
  • Existing technological means were adapted to make them more suitable for current needs;
  • Organisation members received additional training and schooling, becoming more apt in utilising available technological means to suit their needs;
  • A reshuffle in tasks and positions transferred many organisation members into positions that matched their aptitudes better than last year;
  • Certain communication made organisation members more aware of the suitability of the technological means that are available to them, causing them to appreciate the suitability more;
  • Available technical means are better supported now that last year, reducing the average down time;
  • The availability of the technical means is improved because certain means may now also be used outside the office;
  • Some other reason.

Contextualising often requires us to collect additional, qualitative data.

We can collect such data in various ways, such as by talking to individuals, reading about what they have said in meetings and reading reports on other relevant events and interventions.

Situational leadership requires contextualised information.

Without knowing what ‘the situation’ is exactly, there can be no situational leadership.

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