Leading fromthe centre
The corporation configurations model resulted from research into two related, major concerns of corporate strategy. First, the economic logic and justification of the multi-business corporation and, second, the organisational structure of this type of group, in particular the role of the centre.The main synthesis in this book therefore is the integration of economic and finance theory on the one side andorganisation theory on the other. Unfortunately these two communities rarely engage in dialogue,
each discipline seeming to prefer to develop their own insights and then share them with like-minded colleagues; this is true for both academics and practitioners in these fields. However, as is the case with our creative configuration, significant value can be created by sharing across these functional boundaries and genuinely new knowhow can be created, which really belongs to neither original functional discipline. It is fromthisbackground that we seek to focus, in this chapter, on the
key leadership issues that are raised by the corporate configurations model. This is obviously a critical area, not only as one dimension of the model represents the style of involvement of the corporate centre with its business units, but also because the resulting four corporate configurations raise such fundamentally differing leadership challenges for the top executive team at the centre of the corporation. Therefore this chapter starts by considering the different schools of thought regarding leadership.This identifies five critical leadership capabilities that are then developed and applied to each of the four corporate configurations. Not surprisingly this highlights that any leader may be
successful in one configuration but fail miserably in another, as the requirements for true leadership are driven by the context in which the leadership is to be applied.