This reflective report will present an overview of how I utilised the skills learned in management to contribute to the Everest team's success. The main challenge of this simulation activity was to align team members' personal goals and team goals to maximise the outcome.
Stories about leaders often detail how they successfully led their organizations to overcome great challenges or peril. The frequency of these extreme stories would suggest that the field of leadership studies should have a lot to say about how leaders function in extreme contexts. As we will show in this review, that is not the case and in fact leadership in extreme contexts may be one of the least researched areas in the leadership field. Yet, while minimal, some important research has been conducted such as Sorokin's (1943) examination of reactions of groups to catastrophic events, where he concluded that group members became so overly aroused and emotional that they distorted the way they processed information and made decisions. The premise of this paper is that leadership is uniquely contextualized in such extreme contexts where risks of severe physical, psychological or material consequences (e.g., physical harm, devastation or destruction) to organizational members or their constituents exist. In terms of the practical value of our discussing extreme contexts and leadership, while extreme events are rare in some organizations, they are commonplace in others such as military, medical, law enforcement, fire, and crisis response organizations.
Beyond being limited in number, Bass (2008) concluded that the prior research on leadership and groups operating in extreme contexts has tended to treat such situations as homogenous. Responding to Bass' concern, we suggest that before a productive stream of research on leadership for extreme contexts can be initiated, we believe it is critical that we first define what 'context' means here, and to differentiate and decompose extreme contexts such that we can develop a richer understanding of how they contextualize leadership. Taking a contextual focus to examining leadership is not something that is a recent insight. Over the last two decades scholars have made numerous calls for leadership researchers to take greater account of contextual factors in the formulation of their theories as well as in operational definitions of leadership (e.g., Avolio, 2007 B.J. Avolio, Promoting more integrative strategies for leadership theory building, American Psychologist 62 (2007), pp. 25-33. Abstract | Full Text via CrossRef | View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (25)[Avolio, 2007], [Boal and Hooijberg, 2000], [Shamir and Howell, 1999] and [Tosi, 1991]). Yet, in a recent review of the literature, Porter and McLaughlin (2006, p. 573) note that “it is apparent that the impact of organization context on leadership is an under-researched area.” Ultimately, substantial research in extreme contexts will be required to advance our knowledge in this ...