Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership


In this unit, you will consider how leadership must focus on and address the imperative of organizational change as defined and captured along the contours of its operational context and dynamic management environment. This type of leadership stresses the activities of the leader in relation to the work, in context, of followers. The adaptive leadership perspective encourages effective change across multiple levels (self, organization, community, and society) in response to the highly complex challenges encountered by today’s public managers (Northouse, 2019, p. 257). You will examine how and why adaptive leadership maintains a focus on strategies that encourage learning, creativity, and adaptation in complex organizational settings (Northouse, 2019, p. 258).


Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.



In your Leadership: Theory and Practice textbook, read the following:

  • Chapter 11, “Adaptive Leadership,” pages 257–291.

Use the Capella library to read the following:

  • Nicolaides, A., & McCallum, D. C. (2013). Inquiry in action for leadership in turbulent times: Exploring the connections between transformative learning and adaptive leadership. Journal of Transformative Education, 11(4), 246–260.

Optional Reading

You may choose to read the following optional articles:

  • Barton, M. A., & Bunderson, J. S. (2014). Assessing member expertise in groups: An expertise dependence perspective. Organizational Psychology Review, 4(3), 228–257.
  • Head, B. W., & Alford, J. (2015). Wicked problems: Implications for public policy and management. Administration & Society,47(6), 711–739.

Note: Some optional resources may be available in the Capella library. Consult the Journal and Book Locator for assistance.

Learning Components

This activity will help you achieve the following learning components:

  • Identify common theoretical frameworks related to leadership.
  • Identify issues related to hierarchy in a public organization.
  • Evaluate potential collaborators for a public initiative.

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