Leadership, organizational, and institutional theories provide competing explanations on the nature of leadership and role of leaders. Part of the problem is that each theory is often studied in isolation, leading to incomplete perspectives on the essence of leadership in value driven contexts. A holistic paradigm that blends the three dominant models for understanding the work of the collective is warranted and necessary to optimize organizational outcomes. This article briefly highlights the contributions and limitations of each frame and provides an overview of complexity theory as a model for reconciling major differences. The paper provides specific perspectives, practices, and metaphors for navigating the collective to bring about desired outcomes.

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© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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