hi Pine,

this is an excellent point, and I believe there are definitely too few systematic studies on the topic, as well as targeted programs.

<blatant promotion mode on>
 In my book, "Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia", which has left the press last week, I have a whole chapter ("Between Anarchy and Bureaucracy: Wikimedia Governance") dedicated to issues of governance and internal leadership. 

Unfortunately, Google Books preview has most of the pages limited (and Stanford University Press is not too keen on open access of their publications, sadly).
</blatant promotion mode off>


dariusz "pundit"

On Mon, May 19, 2014 at 7:12 AM, ENWP Pine <deyntestiss@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi all,

I've heard the word "leadership" used a lot in WMF, synonymously with "management" in my experience. That makes sense in a somewhat hierarchical organization like WMF, although this model has received some criticism from the community for allegedly excessive top-down thinking. I'm not familiar enough with the culture in the WMF Office to comment about its strengths and weaknesses, but I would like to ask questions about leadership in the community.

In the community, which is diffuse and where roles are highly flexible, there have been some studies done done about leadership but the ones I know about usually focus on hierarchies within the community, especially how people get chosen for administrator roles on-wiki. As we are thinking about our online culture, we can be thinking about movement leadership. Who are the leaders, how are they trained, how are they selected, what do they do, what makes them effective, and how can they be given ongoing support and training? I think many of us would agree that adminship and leadership are not always synonymous, and there are many ways that people exercise leadership in non-hierarchical ways.

I hear frequently about stress from members of English Wikipedia's Arbcom, and I hope WMF is thinking about how to train and support people who get chosen for such visible, important, and often stressful volunteer roles.

I would also like to point out that Wikimedia is developing training materials for leaders of chapters and programs.

Is there anyone at WMF who is taking a holistic view of community leadership and how to understand, train and support it in ways that support the strategic plan goals?

Training that might be relevant could include how to create friendly spaces online,
resolve online conflicts, engage in cross-cultural communication, encourage strategic thinking, influence change, and maintain morale. I think a series of five-minute training modules could be helpful for online and offline volunteers, along with dedicating some Program & Evaluation or Research time to understanding leadership in the non-hierarchical community. These initiatives could help with encouraging teamwork and collaboration online by influencing and training "leaders".

I would also be interested in hearing about how WMF thinks about "leadership" internally, since there seems to be some community feeling that WMF's thinking about leadership is incompatible with the community's. I don't have an opinion but I would like to be more informed, and hopefully encourage WMF to think about how the organization as a whole interacts with the community.



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dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
profesor zarządzania
kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
i centrum badawczego CROW
Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego

członek Akademii Młodych Uczonych Polskiej Akademii Nauk