Leadership in balance: The role of collaboration for leading change in a living organization

John F Kucia, University of Pennsylvania


Using qualitative methods and the case study approach, this research looks across two different types of organization, a for-profit corporation and a university, to explore and describe the process of collaboration and the role that collaboration plays in meeting the challenge of leading change in two long-living organizations, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Xavier University (XU). There are clear indications that universities are being pushed to become more business-like, with more focus, accountability and connection to the real world and the market forces influencing the higher education industry. Corporations, by contrast, are becoming more collaborative, with corporate leaders understanding the importance of trusting relationships and corporate community as a foundation for a common set of values, mission and purpose—factors essential to the corporation beyond the creation of wealth and profit. Looking across these two organizations enabled me to see beyond traditional thinking, concepts, boundaries and disciplines, and allowed me to discover important common ground from which each leader and organization might learn from the other. My findings suggest a clearer definition of purpose-driven collaboration as a means to building learning and work communities that create better strategies and execute them better. While developing The DNA of Collaboration: The Kucia Balance Framework, I have uncovered a deeper understanding of the complex and sometimes paradoxical challenges of leadership, which are best met by a new and powerful model of collaborative leader who can balance the competing forces of continuity and change, of competition and collaboration, as driven by the external forces of market and guided by the internal values of mission and purpose. This study cracks the surface of an important topic, and it encourages the corporation and the university to continue to build upon their substantial areas of common ground, and to generate new business and civic opportunities for leadership, for organizational learning and collaborative initiatives. With strong leadership in balance they can join together through the power of collaboration to better serve society for a long time.

Subject Area

School administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Kucia, John F, "Leadership in balance: The role of collaboration for leading change in a living organization" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3124694.