ILA Book Series

Reimagining Leadership on the Commons

Reimagining Leadership on the Commons-Cover

Editors: Devin P. Singh, Randal Joy Thompson, and Kathleen A. Curran (Emerald Publishing, 2021)

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Videos & Podcasts From the Editors & Authors of Leadership on the Commons

The authors share snippets from their chapters and discuss leadership approaches which recognize that people prefer to work together to share benefits and create societies based on ethical behavior, equality, and justice.

In this webinar, editor Randal Joy Thompson discusses what we can learn from how leadership is practiced on commons around the world. She provides take-aways for all of us working together to make the world more humane.


Commons are self-organized, self-governed, autonomous networks and organizations that function outside the state and the private sector. They are emerging around the world as people recognize that the state and private sector have increasingly closed off access to basic resources and services. People want increased power to determine their political, economic, and social lives.

Reimagining Leadership on the Commons: Shifting the Paradigm for a More Ethical, Equitable, and Just World includes leadership approaches derived from a complex, adaptive, open, whole systems perspective and a more relational, distributed, and collaborative paradigm that recognizes that rather than being individualist self-maximizers, people prefer to work together to share benefits and found a society based on ethical behavior, equality, and justice.

This is essential reading for researchers of commons, leadership practitioners, and non-profits working towards a more ethical, equitable, and just world.

Praise for Reimagining Leadership on the Commons

About the Co-Editors

Devin Singh, PhD, is Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College as well as faculty associate in Dartmouth’s Consortium of Studies on Race, Migration, and Sexuality. He is also founder and president of Leadership Kinetics LLC which provides leadership coaching and strategic advising. 

Randal Joy Thompson, PhD, is a scholar-practitioner with 40 years of professional experience in international development, serving in countries around the world. A Fellow with the institution of Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University, her research focuses on the commons, gender, education, evaluation, and organization development.

Kathleen Curran, PhD, is a scholar-practitioner with over 25 years of professional experience in Asia and practicing internationally. A Fellow with the Institute of Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University, and principal of Intercultural Systems, she specializes in developing global leadership in mindset and capability for spanning cultural boundaries.

Table of Contents

About the Editors

About the Authors 

List of Authors 

Foreword by Dr. Marco Janssen, Past President of the International Association for the Study of the Commons 



Introduction Part I: Overview of Leading on the Commons  by Randal Joy Thompson

Introduction Part II: Debt, Obligation, and Care on the Commons by Devin P. Singh

Part I: The Paradigm Shift

Chapter 1.  Leading Regenerative Systems: Evolving the Whole Instead of a Part  by  Kathleen E. Allen

Chapter 2.  Leading So All Can Thrive: Commons Leadership for Mutualistic Self-Organization by Elizabeth A. Castillo

Chapter 3.  Redefining Leadership Through the Commons: An Overview of Two Processes of Meaning-making and Collective Action in Barcelona by Antonio Jimenez-Luque

Chapter 4. Responsible, Relational, and Intentional: A Re-Imagined Construct of Corporate-Commons Leadership by  Kathleen A. Curran

Chapter 5. What Favelas Can Teach about Leadership: The Importance of Shared-Purpose and Place-Based Leadership by Renato Souza, Thomaz Wood, Jr and Brad Jackson

Chapter 6.  From Governance to Leadership: Ethical Foundations for Value-Infused Leadership of the Commons by Catharyn Baird, Allison Dake, Jeannine M. Niacaris and Nancy Sayer

Chapter 7. Leading Proleptically on the Commons by Randal Joy Thompson

Part II: Leadership on the Commons Lifecycle

Chapter 8. Developing Leadership on the Commons: Animal Rescue by Robin Bisha

Chapter 9. Convening Leadership on the Commons: Initiating Stakeholder Networks to Solve Complex Global Issues by Patricia A. Clary

Chapter 10. Collaborating and Co-Creating Leadership in the Virtual and Not-So-Virtual Commons: Road Warriors, Communitas, and Culture by Gayla S. Napier and David Blake Willis

Chapter 11. Using Interorganizational Collaboration to Create Shared Leadership Through Collective Identity Development by Patricia Greer

Chapter 12.  The Role of Leaders in Catalyzing Cooperative Behavior in the Governance of Nonprofit Sector Shared Resources: The Case of Early Childhood Education by Angela Titi Amayah, MD Haque and Wendolly A. Escobar

Part III: Leading Specific Types of Commons

Chapter 13. The Peoples’ Voice Cafe: Leading Collectively and Horizontally for More than 40 Years by Susan J. Erenrich

Chapter 14. Open Data, Distributed Leadership and Food Security: The Role of Women Smallholder Farmers by Éliane Ubalijoro, Victor N. Sunday, Foteini Zampati, Uchechit Shirley Anaduaka and Suchith Anand

Chapter 15. Learning and Leading Together to Transform the World: Jesuit Higher Education and Ignatian Leadership Formation at the Margins by Dung Q. Tran and Michael R. Carey

Chapter 16. Traditional Leadership on the Commons: Main Challenges for Leaders of Community Organizations to Govern Rural Water in Ránquil, Chile by Camila Alejandra Vargas Estay, Noelia Carrasco Henríquez, Victor Manuel Vargas Rojas and Luis Gatica Mora

Chapter 17. Leadership of the Commons in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Protecting Natural Resources and Reclaiming Public Space by Edin Ibrahimefendic

Chapter 18. Hopping the Hoops or Building a Communal Culture as the Most Significant Pillar of Leadership of the Commons by Katja Hleb, Miha Škerlavaj, and Domen Rozman

Chapter 19. Job Commons: The Overlooked Dimension of Commons Leadership and Global and Local Governance by Jan Hurst



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