What is it about?

In cultural and creative organizations, a professional artist and a manager share the co-leadership space at the top. Conflict can challenge their partnership, undermining their leadership. If it is disseminated through the organization, this conflict can divide loyalties, paralyze decision-making, and isolate talented individuals.

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Why is it important?

The impact of conflict outside a group has not been explored previously. Conflict across ideas, taste, and values cause concerns in the arts and culture field. Doubts arise about how this leadership arrangement can contribute to stable organizations and artistic vitality. As a result, current arts co-leaders are asked to reflect on their own relationship.


This research is developed further with Hilde Fjellvaer in a book published by Routledge in 2023. 'Co-leadership in the arts and culture: Sharing values and vision' The research was inspired by my own experience as an executive manager in the arts. Co-leadership is often considered an improbable arrangement. It exists contrary to most assumptions that a single heroic leader is the best answer for organizations. It opens up the possibilities for collaboration throughout the organization. I hope this article is useful to understand how the conflict aspect of this leadership might be a positive experience, rather than a difficult and demanding one.

Dr. Wendy Reid
HEC Montreal

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Impact of dual executive leadership dynamics in creative organizations, Human Relations, June 2009, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0018726709335539.
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