Transformative Leadership Conversation: Toward a Conceptualization and Theory of Action for Educational Leaders

Authors: Curt M. Adams, Olajumoke "Beulah" Adigun, Ashlyn M. Fiegener, Jentre J. Olsen

In this conceptual paper, we advance Transformative Leadership Conversation as a form of dialogue that relies on shared meaning-making to activate the motivational energy within people to transform social structures that impede aspirational realities. Transformative Leadership Conversation leverages the most commonly available resource for leaders—conversation—to approach transformation as a process that begins within individuals and moves outward to the relational context where actions and interactions define social structures. There are two interdependent parts to the paper: a conceptual definition and a theory of action. The conceptual definition describes TLC and situates its components in the social and psychological processes that drive transformation. The theory of action advances a simple framework for how leaders might engage TLC across different contexts and situations.

Keywords: leadership conversation, transformation, transformative learning, social transformation

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