A system psychodynamic perspective on collaborative leadership in multiparty systems: learnings from a behavioral simulation

Sandra G.L. Schruijer, Petru Lucian Curseu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to provide a deeper understanding of what collaborative leadership in interorganizational systems entails. Design/methodology/approach: The empirical basis consists of the dynamics observed during two behavioral simulations involving seven stakeholders with managers and professionals as participants, dealing with a complex regional development issue. Findings: The authors describe what functions collaborative leadership in multiparty collaboration serve by discussing relevant literature and introducing a system psychodynamic perspective on leadership that focuses on the emerging dynamics between a leading party and other stakeholders. The relational dynamics between the leading party on the one hand and the other stakeholders on the other, are described and interpreted, taking the larger systemic context into account. Practical implications: The authors discuss some important group dynamics aspects that emerge in a multiparty context that can be used by participants in and facilitators of such complex systems in order to foster effective collaboration. Social implications: Multiparty systems are set up to deal with some important societal challenges that require the integration of insights, resources and interests across several organizations and societal actors, therefore this study provides important insights into the complexity of collaborative leadership emergent in such contexts in which position power is lacking. Originality/value: The study provides a qualitative, in depth analysis of the collaborative leadership as it emerges in a multiparty context simulated by an experiential learning context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-62
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Ethnography
Issue number1
Early online date17 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2024


  • Collaboration
  • Group dynamics
  • Interorganizational leadership
  • Multiparty systems
  • Simulation


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