Field versus web leadership: In listening to the conference presentations on leadership, I noticed that the leaders that are typically held up as the inspiration for other leaders to follow are those I would regard as “field” leaders (e.g. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Victor Frankel, the Dalai Lama, etc.).
Let me explain: Biomatrix Systems Theory distinguishes between a web and field perspective of the biomatrix. The former refers to the activity and entity systems that we observe as making up the web of life and its interacting natural, social, psychological and technological systems. By comparison, the field perspective deals with the field of in-formation that permeates this web and in-forms how its systems unfold and develop, analogous to the in-formation inherent in the structure of the DNA that guides the growth and development of an organism in physical reality. In systems of the psycho-sociosphere, the in-formation field contains the paradigms, values and guiding principles that we tend to associate with a culture. Once the culture is changed, its members will change their behaviour in many different and unpredictable ways according to the cultural changes.
The methods of change management (and hence leadership) differ if we intervene in the web or the field of the biomatrix. To intervene in the physical reality of the web to change one of its existing systems requires the formulation of a viable and sustainable vision of a desirable ideal future for the system, as well as coordinated and hands-on interventions to achieve a more desirable future. To change the values contained in the information field requires leadership that changes values (e.g. a moral leadership). The above mentioned leaders represent this. They change values. By comparison, Chancellor Merkel is a leader aiming to change an existing system (i.e. the energy industry).
Field and web leadership are complementary and often occur together. For example, the German vision of Energiewende needs to be supported by a change in culture towards valuing and appreciating sustainability. However, a cultural change alone, without the redesign of the industry by all stakeholders, will be insufficient.
Interventions in both the web and the field require in-formation leadership, albeit using different approaches.