Ethical leadership requires courage

I suggest that the ‘chimera’ of shareholder dividends ravages society, and sometimes topples businesses.

The Enron scandal is a perfect example to use for this.  Skilling, the greedy individual that not only destroyed a company, losing its employees and shareholders millions, also destroyed a CPA firm along the way. Sharon Watkins, the whistle blower, had to start her own company to survive.

The concept ethics has been studied and discussed throughout recorded time, such as the leadership and writings of Buddha and Confucius, and in western cultures Plato and Cicero.  These leaders/writers, and their successors, attempted to define ethics. This shows that the idea of ethics is a universal truth, but its definition is elusive, depending on culture and time.

Hobbes’s Leviathan, an unabashed look a humanity, says, we are born with appetite (hunger, drive, determination, need).  Appetite must be satisfied, but how it is satisfied is the question – is it for personal pleasure, grabbing everything for ones’ own family, or can it be something else?  Modern parents are expected to re-purpose appetite/satisfaction into something acceptable by society, which is suborned by television, internet, print, and radio hawking consumerism through sexism by objectifying women and wealth in advertising.

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development:

The Kohlberg process of appetite to ethics includes:

Level 1 would consist of the inconsiderate demands of a hungry newborn baby

Level 2 is elementary and secondary education, where the individual can accept or deny the demands of appetite, through accepting re-purposing

Level 3 is attained with age and/or experience, where re-purposing is brought to its zenith.

The re-purposing of appetite achieved by family or societal pressures determines how a child is directly influenced – these forces include parents, church, peers, teachers, mentors, the media and more.

In a company, shareholder dividends take on the status of Level 1, or demand the most possible money now, and damn the consequences.  Level 2 includes people who are compromised by appetite, and do not think they have the power to moderate that appetite.  The level 1 demand by shareholders is two-fold – their participation in the activities that create the money is widely separated, and also because of how little shareholders receive from their investment. Level 2 individuals are either compromised by the promise of wealth or cowed through fear of losing their job.  Level 1 and Level 2 individuals are further pressured by how expensive it is to finance a middle-class life of consumerism.

An example of level 3 is when a worker perceives injustice, and gathers the courage to effect change.  For example, a whistle-blower (who is usually severely punished for it) when he/she finds the injustice intolerable, transforms into a force for change.  The individual in the end exposes those transgressions, which creates change.  Watkins is the Enron whistleblower.  Effecting social justice seems to require significant sacrifice, which Socrates established.

I write this to show how people can be level 1, Skilling, or Level 3, Watkins, and that the development of an individual into a stage 3 person is a tortuous path, which includes education, resisting social ‘programming,’ early re-purposing of appetite, and lessons in consequences, fairness, and duty.

References

Hobbes, T. (2011). Leviathan. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Partington, R. (2011, December 1). The Enron cast: Where are they now? Retrieved from Financial News: http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2011-12-01/enron-ten-years-on-where-they-are-now

SherronWatkins.com. (n.d.). What’s her story? Retrieved from SherronWatkins.com: http://www.sherronwatkins.com/sherronwatkins/Welcome_to_SherronWatkins.com.html

Advantages of Servant Leadership

Introduction and purpose

The recent substantial increase in demand for substance abuse recovery facilities informs the urgency to study how best to lead the medical staff to effect recovery for substance abusers.  Specifically, the recruiting and retention of the therapist and nursing staff and their desire to provide quality service. Further, it is necessary for therapist and nursing staff to be free to increase knowledge and leadership abilities to respond to the ever-changing needs of best practices and patients.

This study explores the option of servant leadership to achieve retention of nursing and clinical staff at Solid Landing and Silver Rock Recovery.  Retention of staff requires a combination of access to information, support and benefits (Upenieks, 2002). This study reviews existing studies in order to decide if servant leadership (SL) is the best management style, and if so, how best to apply SL to Solid Landings and Silver Rock Recovery staff.

 

GREENLEAF’S DEFINITION OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP, HISTORY OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND COMMENTARY ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Robert Greenleaf of AT&T coined the name servant leadership. This form of leadership, during the modern era, in which leaders are focused on exhibiting integrity, encourages the idea of participation and growth for workers. This is reflected in the need humans have to bond and want to be assets within their communities. The Robert K. Greenleaf Center website defines servant leadership (SL) as:

The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”  (Robert K Greenleaf Center, n.d.) (bolding, mine)

James Heskitt’s article, “Why isn’t servant leadership more prevalent?” published in Forbes, quoted Lao-Tzu (fifth-century, B.C.E.)

“The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware…The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words” (Heskitt, 2013).

Heskitt shows the essence of SL, within the beauty of a few well-chosen words, demonstrating that SL is an ancient art.  Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, reflected above, may be the oldest example of servant leadership; next is India’s, Bhagvad Gita, and King Chandragupta Maury; then, the Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote that the teacher delivers both content and himself to a student; and for Christians, Jesus is the ultimate servant leader. Thus, the concept of servant leadership is ancient.

Northouse (2016) report on Spears’ servant leadership characteristics include:

  1. Listening, which is like the concept explained in multicultural class, of dialogue, defined as intense communication over time to come to a significant understanding.
  2. Empathy is “confirming and validating” follower’s point of view, and is how bonding occurs.
  3. Healing is a two-way process makes whole both the follower and leader.
  4. Awareness which includes situational perception, including ones impact on followers.
  5. Persuasion comes through example and “gentle non-judgmental argument.”
  6. Conceptualization refers to the meme, ‘seeing the forest through the trees,’ and as well, being able to coordinate the short and long-term goals of the organization “put first things first” (Covey, 1989).
  7. Foresight is the ability to predict future events based on current and past events.
  8. Stewardship is similar to a fiduciary relationship, which is that one that takes a higher level of responsibility (moral).
  9. Commitment to growth includes the concept that each individual has worth, and that staff development is an important part of management practices.
  10. Building community includes both inclusive and exclusive places to feel safe and to expand company ideals to the community (Northouse, 2016).

Others have expanded and revised this list to include egalitarianism, collectivism, and access, or reducing the distance between workers and management.

Heskitt, professor at Harvard Business School, asks if SL isn’t an oxymoron in today’s fast-paced, dog-eat-dog society. I argue that SL works, which can be evidenced by the companies that use it and have achieved success, including Zappos, Starbucks, Aflac, and Southwest Air. Further, the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospitals in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City have begun to utilize SL, and have experienced success.

SL takes time to establish and complete participation within the company, but the potential financial rewards related to smaller turnover are the least reason for the effort. The transformation of followers and leaders to servanthood is a multiplier of production from management and labor, and thus profits for the company.

The requirements to be a SL includes leaders who desire to be of service first, then want to lead.  Servant organizations, including organizations like Sold Landings and its subsidiary Silver Rock Recovery, need supervisors and workers who are willing to accept the servant leadership ideals.  These ideals include nurturing and empowering as the guiding principles for the culture and practices of the company (Northouse, 2016).

LITERATURE REVIEW

ETHICS AND LEADERSHIP SOURCES OF ORGANIZATIONAL POWER

Organizations are places of power, thus one needs to explore the sources of power as well as the applications.

To demonstrate that servant leadership’s qualities have international appeal, we first look at the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness Research Project (GLOBE) study. GLOBE conducted cross-cultural studies, dividing the world into 10 distinct areas, which have similar cultures, conducted a study of 62 countries, questioning 17,000 mangers on their management views (Northouse, 2016). Although many aspects of SL were considered, they did not include SL in their results. Some of the factors in the GLOBE study are similar to servant leadership. For example, the GLOBE studied distance between the least and most powerful, humane orientation, and collectivism, which are similar to Greenleaf’s qualities which include commitment to growth (distance to power), healing (humane), and building community (collectivism) (Northouse, 2016). Therefore, the Globe characteristics are applicable, and can be a metric for many different types of organizational analysis. (The figures like the one above are available in attachments.)

Utilizing GLOBE data, Mittal and Dorfman (2012) tested the 62 different countries’ management responses, to discover how aspects of SL were applied in cultures other than Anglo, which is Greenleaf’s culture. They tested the concepts Egalitarianism, moral integrity, empowerment, empathy, and humility. Their discoveries were interesting. The highest response was to moral integrity, next egalitarianism, and empowerment. The least responses were in the aspects of empathy and humility (Mittal and Dorfman, 2012). It seems that empathy and humility are rare qualities, however, it do exist in all societies. Next, we discuss the sources of power – where and how is power viewed?

Stewart Clegg’s “Weber and Foucault: Social theory for the study of organizations” (1994) mentions that Foucault believes that “discourses are the means by which a certain power…is constituted.” Foucault wants to break from a mechanistic or sovereign view, similar to Nietzsche’s concept Kraft (force), to Macht (power), as in institutional power, such as ‘the medical gaze.’ Foucault’s powers are institutional, those that control society, such as doctors, schools, prisons, and religion, having a low level of discipline. Macht, as institutional power, must continue to be watched in order to remain Macht or, it becomes highly disciplinary, and morphing back to Kraft. Clegg also relates how Weber’s views about power agree with Marx, that ‘control’ is a vexed issue. Thus, Clegg shows that Weber, father of sociology, believed power was something besides brute force; there exists institutional power, such as a companies’ policies and procedures, or groups, such as religion.

Ted Benton’s “‘[O]bjective’ interests and the sociology of power” reviews Lukes study on power, and explains how power is tied to what he calls the ‘paradox of emancipation’ (Benton, 1981). This informs SL, as it explores the significance of determining the wants, needs, and preferences of leaders and their groups. Benton argues, that those in power cannot give emancipation to their groups, and conversely groups who are treated as autonomous are not in need or emancipation, thus his ‘paradox of emancipation.’ His analysis of the three uses of power, ignoring of emancipatory status, includes leader A, who leads from a position of autonomy from group, B.

(1) A leading according to his/her own ascribed wants, needs, and preferences without consideration of the group’s self-ascribed wants, needs and preferences.

(2) A takes into account the wants, needs, and preferences that B believes are important.

(3) A leads according to the wants, needs, and preferences that A knows are what B’s wants and needs should be, but B may not believe are their wants and needs. In this third type of power, only someone outside of both leader A and group B, would be able to determine the correct wants, needs, and preferences of both A and B.

The third idea of a leader making the ‘right decision,’ of which followers may not agree, is the crux of the problem of exerting power in an ethical manner. Can a decision/action be right, even if others believe the decision/action is wrong? This question informs the difference between servant leadership and its antecedents, transformational and charismatic leadership styles.

Our final examination of power and its use is, Karl Jung (1943) in “Psychology of the unconscious,” says, “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other” (Wikiquotes 2015). Thus, as long as a leader inspires a sense of appreciation, he will have compliant followers. However, it also says, that when power is pervasive, a lack of caring or sense of ‘love’ for followers will arise.

This idea that power, even ‘servant leader’ power, can be easily put to question whether decisions made are in the best interest of followers, that love is absent in those who hold power, and thus find themselves ‘vexed,’ are reasons for the exercise of ethics. Whether power is ascribed (assumed) or assigned (given), according to Jung, respect is necessary. Benton and Clegg are cautioning the use of power, which Northouse stresses in Chapter 1: wielding power needs to be equitable and inclusive (Northouse, 2016). Therefore, love, or mutual respect, which would be Marx’s ‘vexed issue,’ and Jung’s ‘love,’ continues to be an important part of any leadership practice.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Greenleaf’s empathy and to a lesser degree, listening and awareness, listening would seem to be informed by emotional intelligence, which relates to awareness and understanding others. Barbuto, Gottfredson, and Searle (2014), examine how emotional intelligence (EI) relates to SL. They define emotional intelligence as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings, beliefs, and internal states and use the information to guide the thinking actions of both self and others” (Barbuto et al. 2014). They found in their study, in which they believed they could relate specific SL qualities as parts of EI that when comparing leaders and followers responses, found themselves in the same situation of insignificant findings as others trying to relate EI to transformational, contingent, and exception leadership styles (Barbuto et al. 2014).

Certain EI abilities inform aspects of empathetic people. Empathy and EI are critical to those who manage and work in the medical fields, as they must be able to notice their patient’s feelings, beliefs, and internal states without extended discussion. The same applies to SL managers being able to ‘read’ their subordinates, especially to be able to notice when the employee is having problems.

UNITED STATES SERVANT LEADER STUDIES

Boone and Makhani (2012), discuss the “Five Necessary Attitudes of a Servant Leader.”  Those attitudes include visioning, listening, supporting staff’s success, sharing power, and community involvement.  Boone and Makhani suggest that charisma is not a valid attribute; however, attitude is, and defines a person’s ability to lead. The authors suggest that learned aspects include managing time, being proactive, empowering, ability to establish connections with others, and establishment of credibility and trustworthiness.

However, my belief is that credibility, which admits honesty and authenticity, is an attribute. Boone and Makhani suggest that credibility is the “foundation of leadership, people must believe in their leaders and know that they are worthy of trust” (Boone and Makhani 2012). Boone and Makhani (2012), mention that others have likened SL to “charismatic, transformational, as well as leader-member-exchange” leadership styles, which is interesting when considering the next study by Jill Graham.

Greenleaf’s morality concept is discussed by Jill Graham (1991).  She mentions charismatic leadership is “value-neutral,” thus the inherent danger of this leadership style. It is interesting to note, that her list of charismatic leaders includes, Hitler, Jim Jones, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, two of which are notable SL leaders.  Graham’s question, “what safeguards the morality of the ends and means advocated by a charismatic leader?” (Graham, 1991) deserves careful consideration. Graham reports on other’s beliefs that followers of charismatic leaders are able suspend personal responsibility in service of their leader, no matter how socially reprehensible. Therefore, it is imperative to find a charismatic leadership style with moral safeguards. Graham suggests that servant leadership’s moral imperative is the necessary addition to transformational leadership. When defining SL, Graham’s unique addition to the conversation is that SL’s are self-reflective, and thus, aware of, and avoid hubris.

Graham mentions the negative side of transformational leadership’s question, why should a follower want to change? Servant leadership answers, the change is for your (worker/follower’s) own good, rather than leader’s good; something giving workers the ability to become more valuable as they develop professionally within the company. Which is what leads back to the beginning, of Benton’s discourse on power, what controls the charismatic leader’s morality in knowing what is best for followers, even if the followers don’t agree. Thus, the urgency and centrality of the moral dimension to leadership is demonstrated.  How this relates to the nursing field is the next area of literature review.

NURSING STUDIES ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND RETENTION

            Chapter 15 in Northouse speaks to gender issues, and mentions Kanter’s organizational theory, and the stereotyping of women in the workplace (Northouse, 2016). Also, Upenieks advocates closing the distance between management and workers exchange of information.  We begin a focused organizational level study on nursing, with the idea in mind of how best to recruit and retain nurses. Valda Upenieks, in “What constitutes successful nurse leadership,” (2002) utilizes Kanter’s organizational theory. Specifically, Upenieks conducted a qualitative study on 16 nurse managers from four acute care hospitals, from the aspects of support, availably of information and resources (Upenieks, 2002). Utilizing the Downe-Wamboldt method, Upenieks explored two questions:

What types of leadership traits are effective in today’s acute inpatient care environment; does power and gender interface with leadership effectiveness?

What are the predominant components of a successful organization that support the role of nurse leader? (Upenieks, 2002)

Upenieks results includes examining informal power, formal power, opportunity structure, power structure, participatory management, structure of proportion, gender socialization, central beliefs (values), business orientation, collaborative teamwork, and management support group. Upenieks reports limitation of the size and content of her study group, so recommends studying:

“qualitatively power, opportunity, control, and gender issues” with clinical nurses, and “power and gender issues with physicians … could provide a greater understanding of the intricate balance inherent in nurse-physician relationships” to create a “synergic collaborative environment for patient care” (Upenieks, 2002).

She finds that over three-quarters of the nurses surveyed “validated that access to information, opportunity, and resources in the work environment” were means to effective leadership. Further “access to these work empowerment structures created a supportive and productive climate and enhanced the success and worth” for the executive nurses (Upenieks, 2002).

Unfortunately, her subjects only responded to the structure questions; as powerful executives, they did not perceive gender as a barrier or limitation to power. They agreed that access to various forms of power, and opportunity to improve management skills “would be effective” for the mangers, but would also “empower clinical staff by sharing resources of power and opportunity, thereby enhancing nurses’ effectiveness” (Upenieks, 2002) (italics mine). These aspects are basic SL qualities, thus Upenieks organization study shows that medical organizations can adopt such concepts which would benefit their ability to retain the nursing staff.

Waterman’s (2011) feature article on the principles of servant leadership provide a clear, modern discussion on the servant aspect of this idea, and how ‘servant’ in this case is not the same as ‘chattel,’ but rather a valued part of a larger endeavor that includes community, management and workers. In this he mentions the concept of having ‘mentor mindedness,’ which means providing support where needed and sharing of skills with each other, worker, and mangers alike. Further that “a ‘servant’s heart’ does not mean offering service at all times in all situations… [but bearing service mind] when decisions are made and action are taken” (Waterman, 2011). This feature calls for a return to the concept of caring within medical services as vocation, and that this attitude needs to be both top-down and down-top, so that all share when appropriate.

Finally, we review a study by Neill and Saunders, on the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC). They explain how the deleterious situation we all have become aware of in the VA, has been turned around in SLC, partly from the decision to utilize SL within its nursing departments. They added, the change to servant leadership was time consuming and difficult, but the results were worth the effort. Neill and Saunders say, that in 2006, the facility scored high on important metrics, which was a reason to celebrate.  They suggested that the reason for the change was “an emphasis on improving the quality of healthcare services and increasing professional satisfaction” (Neill and Saunders, 2008). Neill and Saunders indicate that applying the concepts of empathy and listening and creating an “interdisciplinary team approach” resulted in a renewed culture that has increased quality in patient care and greater satisfaction for professionals. Neill says, “The ultimate aim of the servant leader is to meet the highest priority need of those served” (Neill and Saunders, 2008). They conclude:

Servant leadership encourages each employee to actively seek opportunities to both serve and lead…which significantly improve how we treat those within our institutions and the human condition in our society. This model relies on building competence in relationships and requires leaders to actively identify opportunities to enhance employee capabilities. Servant leadership has the power to inspire an organization to collectively be more than the sum of individualized efforts…[and] can create a workplace in which each member of the organization is valued and committed to personal and patient satisfaction (Neill and Saunders, 2008).

An exchange of emails with a representative of the Las Vegas Veteran’s Administration resulted in the following response:

The last several years we’ve moved away from the medical model approach to healthcare to a holistic patient-centered, recovery model of care.

The last couple of years, we’ve had a huge push in employee ownership of the future of the VA. (Mesa, 2015)

 

Thus, SL is becoming more pervasive in the medical field, and is practiced by not only Zappo’s and Starbucks, two highly successful businesses, but also the VA.

CORPORATE STUDY

The organization this qualitative study is based on is where I work part-time as the human resources clerk. The operations in Las Vegas are subsidiaries of the parent group based in Costa Mesa, California. It is a medical facility that began operations August, 2015. It has administrators, chef, dietician, physical therapist, orderlies, therapists, maintenance, housekeeping, and nurses, all working from a single facility in Las Vegas. It is supported by a laboratory division, which includes research chemists and lab assistants for Las Vegas, Texas and California operations. The organization has been in existence in California since 2009 and the Las Vegas operations including medical, lab, and administrators, received licensing and operations began August, 2015. For training purposes, the staff from doctor to orderly were hired before we had licensing. Overall there are approximately 1,200 workers company-wide, and the Las Vegas division currently employs 100 of those 1,200 workers. My focus is on hiring and retaining workers for Las Vegas, managing benefits, and coordinating with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) representative.

This study looks specifically at the nurses, who are difficult to recruit and retain. There are two classes of nurses – nurse practitioners (ANP), who are supervised by the head nurse, but are also supervisory and can prescribe medication, and practical nurses (LPN), who are supervised by both the head nurse and the ANP’s. The company utilizes SL in a few departments, especially the lab and billing departments.

In August, four of its twelve nurses walked out, without giving notice or making any comments as to why they made this choice.  I asked:

  • The then-HR Generalist said, they felt some of the policies in place violated established rules and thus endanger their license.
  • The General Manager said, they found positions that paid more.
  • A manger in the California corporate offices, said, there is always attrition when operations begin.

The company utilizes different kinds of leadership theory in different divisions, including SL, Team, and LMX. The lab manager utilizes SL, and has had a single worker leave, even though the workload has substantially increased, and as we have yet to find additional suitable workers to reduce the workload. The nursing manager was not utilizing any discernable style. He was dismissed and one of the nurse practitioners within the remaining staff was promoted to the position.  Since she was promoted, there has been substantially less turnover in the nursing department.

The billing department is only three people, the supervisor and two workers.  The supervisor utilizes SL, has had no turnover, and receives complements all the time.

The other departments within the company are beyond the scope of this study. However, it is important to note the style of the executive. The General Manager said, he manages according to the needs of the worker: some workers require very little management and others significant amount of management. He uses team-type language, including “morning huddle” and “evening wrap-up,” and ‘coaches’ those who need assistance.  He leaves the rest of the workers develop on their own. His is sensitive to other’s needs and exhibits humility in his communications and presentations; I believe he is a team leader and with little effort, could become a highly effective SL. Thus, the company allows different leadership styles in different departments, which follows a similar organizational theory.

CONCLUSION

The company utilizes many forms of leadership. It is clear that within the new division of Las Vegas, certain departments, specifically billing and the lab, which utilize servant leadership, and have the lowest turnover and highest level of worker satisfaction. Thus, servant leadership results in clearer recruiting criteria and less turnover. As turnover is expensive in time, money, and impact on remaining workers, it is something to be avoided.

As noted above, power within an organization is either ascribed or assigned, and as such, leaders and workers respect those who have earned the power. Power is dangerous, thus if not properly focused, through policies and procedures, and/or cultural attitudes, it can become highly damaging to a company. For example, Las Vegas is a hospitality city, with a welcoming and profitable atmosphere to business owners and tourists; but within most businesses, workers are disposable and profit is the only metric. Companies that do not implement SL will lose their employees and have high turnovers, as well as bear attendant costs.  Further, without reflective managers, the chance to experience hubris is greater, which may have been the case with the nurses who left. SL provides the final level, morality, to the leadership paradigm.  SL is a natural fit for this company, which provides critical services to the least of our society, which is also reflected in Greenleaf’s theory. Mentioned in this paper is the change in the SLC and Las Vegas VA hospitals.  After contacting a classmate, discovered the similar policies are being instituted in the Las Vegas VA hospital as well.  This means, an opportunity for a close look at how that works in a medical facility is available to us.

The companies in Las Vegas that utilize servant leadership, such as Starbucks and Zappos, have low turnover, happy employees and excellent customer service. Their recruiting methods are designed to attract workers they desire, and are highly successful. Solid Landings and Silver Rock Recovery can achieve this level of turnover and respect.

First, we would need to expand servant leadership to all departments in Las Vegas, which we would utilize as a model for future divisions and for existing divisions to study for possible adoption. The company has SL qualities within its corporate environment already, so adopting a company-wide SL program will be less traumatic than it would be for other companies.  The benefits would include a more committed staff, mangers who value workers, and empower staff as the company increases access to resources and power sources, enabling the highest level of staff efficiency. Further the cachet of SL will only add a new level of respect to our already unique paradigm of services.

References

Benon, T. (1981, May). ‘Objective’ interests and the socliology of power. Sociology, 15(2), 161-184. doi:10.1177/003803858101500202

Bigelow, B. (2006). The line between us: Teaching about the border and Mexican immigration. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools, Ltd.

Boone, L. W., & Makhani, S. (2012, Winter). Five necessary attitudes of a servant leader. Review of Business, 36(1), 83-96.

Clegg, S. (1994). Weber and Foucault: Social theory for the study of organizations. Organization, 1(1), 149-178. doi:10.1177/135050849400100115

Graham, J. (1991). Servant-leadership in organizations: Inspirational and moral. Leadership Quarterly, 2(2), 105-119.

Heskett, J. (2013, May 1). Why isn’t servant leadership more prevalent? Retrieved November 27, 2015, from Forbes / Leadership: http://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2013/05/01/why-isnt-servant-leadership-more-prevalent/

Mittal, R., & Dorfman, P. (2012). Servant leadership across cultures. Journal of World Business, 47, 555-570. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2012.01.09

Nell, M. W., & Saunders, N. S. (2008, September). Servant leadership: Enhancing quality care and staff satisfaction. (K. S. Hill, Ed.) The Journal of Nursing Administration, 38(9), 395-400.

Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Sowers, W. (2005, December). Transforming systems of care: The American Association of Community Psychiatrists guidelines for recovery oriented services. Community Mental Health Journal, 41(6), pp. 757- 774. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10597-005-6433-4

The Robert K Greenleaf Center. (n.d.). What is leadership? Retrieved November 26, 2015, from The Robert K Greenleaf Center: https://greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/

Upenieks, V. V. (2002, December). What constitutes successful nurse leadership? (K. S. Hill, Ed.) Journal of Nursing Administration, 32(12), 622-632.

Waterman, H. (2011). Principles of  ‘servant leadership’ and how they can enhance practice. Nursing Management, 17(9), 24-26.

Wikiquotes. (2015, October 28). Karl Jung. Retrieved November 27, 2015, from WikiQuotes: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Jung

 

Florence Lee Jones Cahlan

UNLV Professor Michael Green, respected historian and contributor to the Online Nevada Encyclopedia, says, “In a town and era in which women often were second class citizens, Florence Lee Jones was a true Las Vegas leader and pioneer” (Green, 2009).

In a 1983 interview, Florence Lee Jones Cahlan said, “I was always treated with the highest respect because I behaved like a lady,” [t]he communications field should inspire people to be better and to reach higher. I take pride that I have been at the beginning of many wonderful things” (Hopkins, 1999).  Florence is a transformational leader who had a positive impact on the City of Las Vegas from the beginning.

Florence’s Lee Jones’ youth was spent traveling the world, as her father worked for Royal Dutch Shell.  Those travels formed her curiosity and interest in other people, places and events.  She received her Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1933.  She was hired as the only journalist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1933, after submitting a fiery story on a famous lawsuit against Six Companies, the prime contractor for what is now called Hoover Dam.  She went on to investigate and expose the many wrongs that Six Companies meted on Las Vegas workers for many years.

The Nevada Press Association (NPA) considered Jones part of their Hall of Fame, and reflected on her professional life

“This longtime Las Vegas Review-Journal writer was the first important female journalist in Southern Nevada when she began her career in the 1930s. She covered hard-news stories when most women writers were confined to tea party beats. She later became the dominant scribe of Las Vegas society news” (Nevada Press Association, n.d.).

The NPA clearly respected her abilities and long career as journalist.  Jones was more than a hard-news journalist, she also was interested in preserving the history of Nevada, serving her community and mentoring others.

In her journalism, she was said to be “a stickler for double-checking all facts” (Hopkins 1999).  Jones kept a large collections of factual information on anyone who was of interest, which is housed in the Nevada State Museum, and often utilized to check up on things Las Vegas.  Her then-assistant, Maisie Gibson Ronnow, was one of those Jones mentored, who said that besides Jones’s work as journalist, her volunteer work was important too, “It almost seemed that she gave 100 percent of her time to each of them” (Hopkins 1999).

Jones deeply cared for preserving Las Vegas history.  The following quote from the R-J article shows how important her work is:

“In 1955 Jones wrote a voluminous special section for the Review-Journal, marking the town’s 50th anniversary. Lavishing time on the project, she looked up old-timers who were still alive, and the aging offspring of others, and recorded their memories. “You find things in that edition that aren’t found anywhere else,” said David Millman of the Nevada State Museum” (Hopkins, 1999).

She also “spent a week in California interviewing Lelah Vegas Gass Slaughter, the 80-year daughter of Octavius Decatur Gass the first white to make a long-term home in the Las Vegas Valley” (Hopkins, 1999).  This was a very important visit, as Lelah was the only remaining member of the family, and little had been recorded about the families’ situation while living in Las Vegas.  They left because of the oppressive heat, and inability to farm successfully.

Jones also was at the beginning and contributed to the creation of the Service League, now called the Junior Service League, and served as President for 2 years.  The Service League was begun after WWII, by women who had worked on various projects during the war, and wanted to re-focus that energy onto the City.  Her long care and preservation of history was well-recognized as “In 1972 she became the first woman ever selected to the board of trustees of the Nevada State Museum” (Hopkins 1999).

Florence and her husband, John Cahlan wrote Water, A History of Las Vegas, commissioned by the Las Vegas Valley Water District, and published in 1975.  I used this three-volume publication when preparing a research paper on the creation of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, and on an earlier project writing about the Union Pacific Railroad.  While researching, I gained a great deal of respect for Jones, who was a thorough and careful writer. Just as she double-checked her facts, I checked hers against the original documents in Lied Library Special Collections and the Nevada State Museum and never found a discrepancy.

I believe Jones was a transformational leader, because of the things she helped create, including the Junior Service League, and serving on various boards.  I see her as an ethical person because she was a “stickler for the truth” in her journalism and her desire to preserve the history of her community.

Her comment that her ability to be the top reporter for Las Vegas for decades was that she “acted like a lady.”  I take that comment to mean she treated others with respect and sensitivity, and received respect in kind, which would be transformational qualities.  Jones succeeded because of her energy, truthfulness, caring, and clear communication skills.

As Professor Green says, Jones, from her early days as reporter assigned to the Boulder Dam project (now Hoover Dam) to her 1975 book, was always a leader, ready to find or create ways to transform and preserve Las Vegas into a place of peace, prosperity, and enjoyment over her long career.

References

Green, M. (2009, February 4). Florence lee jones cahlan. Retrieved from Online nevada encuyclopedia: http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/florence-lee-jones-cahlan

Hopkins, A. (1999, February 7). Florence jones cahlan. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from ReviewJournal.com: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/florence-lee-jones

Nevada Press Association. (n.d.). Florence lee jones. Retrieved from Nevada Press Association: http://nevadapress.com/about-us/hall-of-fame/florence-lee-jones/

Women’s Research Institute of Nevada. (2011, March 21). Florence lee jones cahlan. Retrieved from UNLV: http://wrinunlv.org/research/our-history-profiles-of-nevada-women/florence-lee-jones-cahlan/

 

Solansky (2008) on Team Leadership

In Leadership style and team processes in self-managed teams, Solansky (2008), believes that shared leadership in team-style functions are better than single-leader teams (339).  In this ethnography, which is a qualitative inquiry with a quantitative analysis of non-supervised teams formed from a single class, shows an interesting way to acquire information on formation and leadership of groups by utilizing college-aged students.  By completing the journals and questionnaires utilized for the study and linked to the subjects’ final grade, the instructor is assured of the questionnaires and journals from students who care about their grades.

Explain shared leadership and self-managed teams.

Shared leadership “have no formal leader designated by the authority that creates team” (333).  Teams are allowed to select their own leader(s).  Despite a history of the contrary, recent studies reflect that shared leadership is a preferred format.

The author could demonstrate five studies that agreed, team members with shared leadership tend to develop a stronger sense of collective efficacy, experience less conflict, and have a greater understanding of the team’s transactive memory.  (See below for definitions)

How are these different from a team with one designated leader?

Single-leader teams can experience all the above, but that kind of superiority is rare in team leadership.  Because you would have only one leader, who may have to oversee a number of individuals, and unable to express salient information to each team member in the same fashion that multiple leaders could, which would lead to lower the collective efficacy, higher conflict and lower transactive memory.  It could be that the single leader would not always be the “go to” person, and thus team members may not know who to “go to,” thus slowing down the team’s ability to complete the project in the time given.

What is the role that motivation plays in the success or failure of teams?

Motivation within a workplace or school room is the term that refers to the worker/student desiring to succeed.  Efficacy is a term that relates to the student or workers believe in what they want, and have the ability to, perform the assigned task.

Collective efficacy “reflects team members’ confidence that the team can perform well” (334).  The more team members feel collective efficacy, the more motivated they are, and the more likely that the project will be completed.

What are some of the advantages of shared leadership over single leadership as described in this article?

The study mentions, although the study did not “demonstrate conventional levels of significance,” the data suggests less conflict and greater transactive memory.  This means that a team with more than one leader has advantages over single leadership teams.

When there are multiple team leaders, there is more “coordination and cooperation” (334).

Conflict – leaders strive to limit conflict by “building team cohesion and identity” (334).  The more leaders, the less each leader is required to do, thus there are more head and hands to get the teams’ task completed.

Transactive memory – a “critical cognitive component of team process” (335), because it shares the metaknowledge of the team the “special knowledge or expertise of others on the team possess” (335) thus understanding who does what the best, and this is the one to approach for certain phases of the team project, which is what gets a project completed.

 

 

Authentic Leadership

In order to properly assess how the Nyberg and Sveningsson (2013) article views the three themes of Authentic Leadership, who utilize the common elements suggested by Caza and Jackson, requires a review of the Northouse (2012) textbook.

The Northouse section on self-awareness utilizes Walumbwa. Self-awareness is a process that relates to insights of ones abilities, morality, weaknesses, emotional state, and sense of self.  These qualities, providing the basis of self, respecting ones internal voice, informs the ability to make decisions that lead to realizing morally-correct goals.  Further, this knowledge of individual qualities is critical to being able to project a self that is authentic (Northouse 2012 pp 201-202).  In fact, Northouse suggests, the higher the self-awareness, the more others will ascribe authenticity (202).  As expressed by William (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 445), the suggested form of examination seems to be an introspective exercise, and static.

Nyberg and Sveningsson challenge the idea that an essential ‘true self’ is always a positive thing (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 438).  They say: it is “difficult to construct a true self in a socially varying, relational dynamic and dynamic workplace” (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 440).

Self-discipline is related to George’s consistency (Northouse 2012, 196, Fig 9.1).  Self-discipline relates to keeping in mind ones’ morality, beliefs, and goals when making decisions.  Thus making decisions already have a basis, thus taking most of the anxiety and therefore presenting an unruffled, moderate response.  This consistency allows followers to have a better understanding of how their leader will react.  That leads to less stress and more confidence in workers activities, and their willingness to ask questions.

Nyberg and Sveningsson mention that “natural goodness is highly problematic because of its self-referential and tautological nature” (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 440).  The idea of inherent goodness is impossible; for instance, whose goodness is best? The emergence of best practices, which are applied to almost everything, is probably a good starting point, which is not based on goodness, but achieving efficient process with the least problems.

Returning to our definition, Northouse (2012) utilizes Walumbwa to discuss relational transparency represents how one presents their persona to followers. The leader should present “core feelings, motives, and inclinations in an appropriate manner” (Northouse 2012, p 203), in order to demonstrate ones communications are genuine.

The leaders Nyberg and Sveningsson studied utilize metaphors to express their qualities mention (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 444).  For instance, it is easier to express ones ‘authentic self’ when utilizing a metaphor of a coach.  Not only is it easier to utilize metaphors as a vehicle in constructing a ‘self,’ are tried-and-true memes, thus can be comfortable that those qualities are appropriate and the correct format to express to others.

Northouse suggests that Authentic Leadership is an essential quality, whereas Nyberg and Sveningsson suggest that it should be a constructionist approach (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 440)

As mentioned above, Nyberg and Sveningsson indicate self-knowledge is a constantly changing because it needs to conform to changing social and situational norms (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 439).  Thus, they reject the intrinsic, introverted form suggested by Northouse and those Northouse reflected, including Walumbwa and George, and instead embrace a constructionist form, requiring discussion and action as well as reflection.  The constructionist form is more accessible to those who may not be a ‘born leader.’

In order to resolve the conflict between their individual qualities, their constructed persona, and what was necessary, learned to model and express their abilities and action in terms of common metaphors.  The metaphors used included Mother Teresa, The Good Samaritan, Army Officer, and ‘balance using the throttle and the break.’  William suggests that there is disconnect between his nature as talkative and the follower’s desire to be heard, where he is holding back.  (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 447).  Lisa says that she constantly pulls back from being an ‘army officer’ (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 446).  Joe says, he has a great deal of compassion ‘Mother Teresa’ in him, which is opposite his toughness (Nyberg and Sveningsson 2013, 447).  Thus all three fight their inherent nature (thereby constructing a persona, as opposed to expressing their persona) of forcefulness, which the view as an essential part of leadership.  The construction industry is not unique in wanting tough leaders, but it is interesting to see that these construction industry leaders actually attempting to pull back from their inherent nature, which is most likely why they were chosen as leaders in the first place.

References

Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Nyberg, D., & Sveningsson, S. (2014, October). Paradoxes of authentic leadership” Leader identity struggles. Leadership, 10(4), 437-455. doi:10:1177/1742715013504425

Path-Goal Leadership traits

The four leadership styles include:
Directive Theory, relating to the most invasive, closely done type of leadership. It would include “assigned” power, and as a quality, “determination.” It is authoritarian and exhibits:
1. excessive direction for those who are well-trained and confident of their ability
2. smothering for those of moderate ability but remain uncertain in their ability
3. necessary for those who are new, having ability but untrained, and thus uncertain
Supportive Theory, explained as “high support,” “nanny,” and “Country Club,” and as a quality, “sociability,” providing assistance and support to workers without paying attention to goals. It is non-authoritarian and exhibits:
1. Provides support, development
2. The workers need: repetition
3. does not challenge followers
4. provides feeling of affiliation, community
5. provides human contact, attention
Participative Theory, such as “Team,” “emergent” power, and as a quality, “integrity.”
1. Provides feeling of participating in the task
2. Workers need: autonomy
3. Workers request clarity
4. May be an unstructured situation, which is good for the accomplished, but not novices.
Achievement Oriented Theory, which provide a challenge to workers, can be related to opportunistic management style.
1. Management has high expectations
2. Employees must excel
3. The complexity, challenges, and mixed messages may be problematic to many employees

Each above style informs a path-goal type situation. Each style influences how the path will be focused as it attains its goals.
Yes, leaders can exhibit more than one management style. I have found my own style to be a mix of participative, supportive and when necessary, directive in nature. As I do not consider myself unique, imagine that anyone who has an interest in emotional intelligence and respect for others would exhibit more than one style of management.

How leadership style impacts followers

Leadership has everything to do with how followers respond to the required action/change. A perfect example is where I worked during an economic downturn in the 1980’s, when I was laid off from my usual job, worked for a pizza restaurant chain in the Seattle area. Because it was a chain, the menu and product sold was the same from place to place. I was 25 years old, so began as the ‘bartender,’ serving beer & wine, and backup scullery, and was soon promoted to supervisor, and ran the kitchen. I floated between three stores, each had a different manger, with different management styles. I will show how tow mangers’ actions impacted the success or problems of each store.

How the store sales, customer satisfaction, and worker retention were significantly different in each store. The worker expectations were different as well: most workers were high school students, and their socio-economic status played into the workers’ commitment and competency.

In the Eastside store, which is close to where Bill Gates lives, had a curious mix of low- and high-socio-economic students. The high-socio-economic workers viewed the job as a status symbol, rather than a valuable source of experience and economic assistance. The rest of the workers needed the money and most didn’t have transportation to any of the other stores, but spent most of their time complaining and gossiping about the manager’s actions. The manager was a 30-something frustrated manager who was stuck at a certain level, because of her attitude and abilities, and often partied, arriving at work the next day stinking of cigarettes, booze, and hung over. She showed up late, uniform dirty, spent most of the time in the office, smoking (that was before smoking was banned from restaurants) and talking to friends on the company phone (cell phones weren’t available yet). Thus, she was a low-support, low-direction (impoverished) supervisor. The workers were angry, did not do a good job, did not clean the facility very well, and the store had high turnover. The best part of this business was take-out – most of the repeat customers seldom visited the store. I’d say that this manger had D3 status, and thus the poor attitude as well as the lack of commitment.

The north end store, closest to Boeing and the Port of Everett, who had a new manager, who was still learning management (D1), but had loads of commitment both to higher management and the crew, was well-liked by the workers. The manger, realizing the benefit to him available from the workers who had been with the company the longest, made sure he let them know how much he valued their input, and gave them as much freedom from direction as they wanted. He also had these workers as backup trainers to the newer workers. The workers who had been in the store the longest always provided information as to policies and procedures to the manager, who was appreciative of the assistance. The crew as comprised of mostly low-income high school students who needed the work, so were motivated to making the work situation as comfortable as possible. The store had the highest sales, both take-out and eat-in, with the least employee turnover, highest customer satisfaction, was voted the best pizza store in Everett three years running. Straw Hat sponsored girls’ baseball, and boys’ soccer teams, who always came to this store for team events, even though in most cases, they loved closer to the Eastside store because of how well they were treated.

The north-end store manager went on to be a corporate darling, and kept the franchise going in the Seattle area longer than many others. It needs to be said that the North-end socio-economic resources were nowhere near what the Eastside had available, but did not manage to tap.

How should leaders attempt to balance their task and relationship behaviors?

Retreating to personality types, I would say that balancing task to relationships would start by using the Jung/Myers-Briggs test.  Those who are introverted (finding people exhausting) would prefer the task-related styles more than the staff-oriented styles.  The extroverted (who find people invigorating) would want and need people contact so would be more likely to be focused on staff.   Of course, no one is all extrovert or introvert, so those who fall in the middle could embrace other styles.  I cannot imagine what kind of individual would be happy in an opportunist style management position.

How is an individual’s personal interest in tasks and relationships related to how she or he shows task and relationship leadership?

The impact of management style can be reflected in a couple of examples.  How that style would emerge can depend on a number of forces.  It could depend on training – what was the philosophy of the teacher/mentor?  Other influences would include the culture of the company. For instance, (I’m from Seattle, so know more about business there) the Boeing Corporation is an authority focused culture. The employees are unionized, because there is no other way for their needs to be considered, and strike every few years, costing them and the company significant economic and goodwill losses.  (For an understanding of the cost of a strike, read Germinal by Émile Zola.)  To protect this kind of management style, Boeing contracts have a clause that allows them to delay delivering a plane, based on uncontrollable issues: accident, (such as a fire) environmental (such as earthquake, inclement weather), and labor (strike) issues.

An organization that should be a country-club organization would be schools.  The Seattle School district suffers from strikes, thus is either a paternal/maternal or authority complex.  They struck this year, and have struck so many times I have lost track.  That teachers are forced to strike for any reason to me is shocking, and shows how although the government on one side desires there to be quality education available to all, manages to get the workers, who have already made the decision they are accepting less pay and poorer working condition, so angry as to refuse to do their jobs.  This kind of disconnect between people and management is toxic to our society.  That government employees of any class should need a union is shocking.  Government serves the people, so should serve its own workers.

Thus, if an individual needed to have a certain reputation within the community, they would need to consider how the company treats employees, and carefully select their job to match those requirements.

It is interesting that in order to figure out an aspect of leadership, one tends to retreat to another to assist in figuring out how to assess how a person would react.

Dr. Felicia Campbell

My Favorite Leader

Dr. Felicia Campbell teaches in the English department at UNLV.  Dr. Campbell sprung to my mind when reading about leadership, and its qualities, and emotional intelligence; because of her ideas, energy, persistence, and determination.  She has taught English at UNLV for 53 years.  In those 53 years, she has attempted and implemented a number of policies and programs from spearheading a teacher’s union, enforcing equal pay for women, which led to censure from her coworkers in the English Department at UNLV, so offered ‘scandalous’ literature  courses, and created the FWPCA from that ‘punishment.’

Matt Jacob, reporting for the UNLV News Center in November 2012, about her upcoming honors at the Fall Graduation Ceremony for the Liberal Arts Colleges, asked Campbell’s long-time friend Michael Green to comment.  Professor Green said,

“The guts to pursue a lawsuit that did not endear her to her university. The guts to offer courses that traditional academics eschewed. The guts in taking a position on a subject that a lot of people found distasteful. Heck, the guts to come out here in the first place.”

Green mentioned that Campbell seemed to know before others when something would be fashionable. Jacob also interviewed Charles Adams, Professor Emeritus, who said “She permitted fresh air to flow through the university.” He went on mentioning that Campbell never had trouble filling her classroom, and had a high number of repeat students, which is “one of the nicest complements you can get.”

In 1962, when she arrived at UNLV, it was little more than the southern satellite of UNR. The benefits, pay and working conditions of the UNLV professors were difficult. Worst was the treatment of women, and minorities. During the 1970’s she spearheaded what became a Federal law suit to end pay and access discrimination at UNLV. In an interview with Richard Lake, of the RJ, she said, “I didn’t know I was coming to the Mississippi of the West.”  Along with others, sued the University for equal pay, minority access, and promotion.   She was the last holdout; and when she finally settled, was ostracized by her coworkers.

In 1983, the 52-year old English professor took her settlement from the Federal lawsuit, traveled to Pakistan, and climbed to the 16,000-foot base of K2.  “It changed my life,” she said. “To do something like that brought such an incredible amount of self-confidence.”  Of course, before she was an English professor, she was among the first class of female officers in the Marines, which makes this believable, even without the pictures and memorabilia in her office.

When she returned, she began her now-famous career in popular culture, she taught the first courses on Women and Literature, Black literature, Asian literature and chaos theory.  She also teaches adventure literature, noir literature, science fiction and mystery literature.  In February 2012, she celebrated the Silver Anniversary of the Far West Popular Culture Association (FWPCA), which publishes an annual review and conference of over 200 scholars around the world.

From the ashes of her failed bid at equality she created the Far West Culture Association, which had become her literary empire.  The National Popular Culture Association with over 2600 members, awarded her a Lifetime Service Award in 2013. In that 2012 Rebel Yell interview, she said, “I hope to keep teaching as long as possible, I have a couple of books in the works, and next year is the silver anniversary of Far West Culture and American Culture Associations’ annual meeting.  Life is open ended and we never know what is coming next.”

In all her endeavors, she has clear leadership skills. Including:

  • Courage in that she decided to climb K1, so that she would ‘walk the talk’
  • Curiosity and self-assurance, reflected in creating and directing the FWPCA
  • Determination, and persistence, sticking with the Federal lawsuit seven years, and still teaching popular culture and Asian literature after 50 years!
  • Ethics from spearheading the Federal lawsuit, on equal pay, and access
  • Sociability in that her students tend to take additional classes from her, which are elective classes, and being the director of the FWPCA
  •  And imagination, a necessary leadership quality is shown in her ability to take a loss in professional respect and transform it into something of value, the FWPCA.

References

Far West Popular Culture Association. (n.d.). Far West Popular Culture Association. Retrieved from http://www.fwpca.org/: http://www.fwpca.org/

Fuentes, D. (2012, February 6). Professor spotlight: Dr. Felicia Campbell. Retrieved from The Rebel Yell: http://www.unlvrebelyell.com/2012/02/06/professor-spotlight-dr-felicia-campbell/

Jacob, M. (n.d.). Guts is the Word. UNLV News Center. Las Vegas, NV. Retrieved from http://www.unlv.edu/news/article/guts-word

Lake, R. (2012, November 23). UNLV professor passes along lessons from lifetime of teaching. Retrieved from Las Vegas Review-Journal: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/education/unlv-professor-passes-along-lessons-lifetime-teaching

Ansible 15715 by Stant Litore

I love the tension the narrator creates in Ansible 15715 – mixing the future and the past, feminine athletic/intellect versus male weakness/mindlessness are some of his contrasts.
SPOILERS:
The idea of first contact by flinging minds across space is not new, but presents a fresh approach. For example, Clifford D Simak’s Time is the Simplest Thing (1974) has people going out into space to find technology/knowledge, using only their minds. The faraway creatures in both worlds are cold, inhuman, and cruel. In this book, the touch of the evil creatures feels like satin but evokes terror is wonderful.
Litore uses strong women in his stories, especially Devora in Strangers in the Land. Writing about an Arabic woman is a departure from his usual Old Testament commentary. The narrator begins as an Arabic earth-woman, then transfers to a starving, weak male in a cave society, and finally to a young Christian woman on earth, but a time long before she was born.
Starmind, the company where our heroine works, represents the worst of corporate power, which could be equated with the corporate presence called Fishook in Simak’s book. Both times the narrator is transferred, the host bodies’ mind is killed, something Starmind said would not happen. Fishook said people would not be damaged by flinging their minds across space, but the hero’s mind was invaded by an alien on one of his trips. Starmind said that the narrator would share minds with her target, not destroy them.
The way the non-humans use fear and hunger to control humans is a tension Litore uses in his works. The way eyes and minds of the people in the cave were dulled by the food they ate, is similar to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. How the woman wakes up after food was withheld shows how the people in the Allegory would respond when turning around.

The beginning in the book is, “we are all in danger, the most terrible danger” evokes “be afraid…be terribly afraid” of The Fly. Thus in 17 pages Litore manages to bring to mind a fabulous mixture of ideas and concepts from the both the past and present.

I can’t wait for his next installment.