Distributed Service Delivery in Organizations – Shared and Self-leadership

This article examines the potential for offering sustainable compassion-based service. Organizations with compassion-based service missions face difficult challenges in addressing acute client needs with limited resources. We posit that distributed service delivery (i.e., clients serving themselves and one another) can result in more long-term compassion-based service when supported by shared and self-leadership. A model of sustainable distributed service delivery is presented and propositions are provided to help guide future research. Furthermore, our model has important implications for the study and practice of management in general. It emphasizes the importance of organizations viewing clients as an extended part of the service firm. As discussed above, clients who have had similar experiences are in better position to provide the kind of empathetic caring service that is required for firms with compassion-based missions. All this implies that organizational forms and practices are entering a new age. Many of the traditional bounds of organizational design and management practice no longer apply, especially in the growing service industry. Firms that adopt a compassion-based mission addressing suffering for which treatments and solutions are particularly illusive, recruiting and equipping clients with self-leadership capacities to serve themselves and one another through a shared leadership process can be a critical component for success. Ultimately, organizations that set out to do significant good for people in need may discover that those they service can become their greatest allies in sustaining the mission of the organization.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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