1 Context and culture
As you engage with the audio-visual material for this course, you might be wondering where the leaders featuring in the sequences are located, and what it would be like to work in their organisations. Whether you are a teacher, lecturer or youth worker, would you be prepared to take a job in any place? Before you apply for a job, and certainly before you accept one, you may well carry out some research on the context and culture of the role and the organisation. You may refer to some publically available data, or perhaps talk to past staff or local residents for more subjective accounts. At the same time, you would be aware that this sort of information is limited in scope and that some aspects of context are hidden (especially at the local level) and unpredictable (especially at national policy level).
All of this suggests that consideration of the context in which leadership is exercised is not straightforward. It is complex, not always rational, and ever-changing. Consideration of context also includes such aspects as organisational values and cultures, social and professional relationships and interactions, and the ways you are influenced, motivated and perhaps limited by local, national and international trends. Some of these influences are conscious – you are aware of their influence; others are subliminal – you are not aware, or have not considered, the ways they might impact on how leadership is enacted in your organisation.