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Reviewed by:
  • Leadership for a Better World: Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development
  • Jaime Lester
Leadership for a Better World: Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development. by Susan R. Komives, Wendy Wagner, and Associates. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009, 462 pages, $35.00 (softcover)

Leadership for a Better World: Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development represents an ambitious collaboration of higher education scholars and practitioners summarizing and applying the social change model of leadership. In 1993 a group of leadership educators and higher education scholars (later self-defined as an ensemble) gathered to discuss leadership, social change, and personal and social responsibility. The outcome was the social change model—a robust framework designed to enhance student learning through the development of self-knowledge and leadership competence (Komives et. al, 2009). This book applies the social change model with descriptions of each of the seven Cs: Citizenship, Collaboration, Common purpose, Controversy with civility, Consciousness of self, Congruence, and Commitment. As the editors suggest, this book is designed as a “call to action” (p. xvi) to engage college students, the intended audience, to consider social issues and work collectively toward a shared goal that addresses those issues. The purpose of this book is twofold: (a) to describe and apply the social change model; and (b) to represent a collaboration that brought together multiple scholars with the shared goal of disseminating a valuable and insightful text for individuals and groups who conduct research and/or promote student leadership.

The book is organized in five parts. Part 1 provides background information to contextualize a need for change, to discuss the concept of social change, and to describe the social change model. Chapter 1 provides an overview of social change to persuade the intended reader, college students, to consider engaging in collaboration with others to promote change on campus or in communities. One of the major values of this book is found in the description in chapter 2 of the social change model. The figures of the model and the descriptions of the seven Cs represent a comprehensive framework that applies to many, if not all, curricular and cocurricular experiences that promote student leadership and change. If a reader is going to choose one chapter to engage, I suggest chapter 2. The third chapter, similar to chapter 2, is also important for any reader coming to this book. This chapter describes a case study method for applying the social change model and presents three case studies—an inconvenient truth, starving for attention, and clear haziness—used throughout the rest of the book. At the end of all subsequent chapters, the concepts are applied to these three case studies. The final chapter in part 1 summarizes the literature on change with a focus on change models and resistance.

The second, third, and fourth parts of the book focus on the major tenets of the social change model. Chapter 5 focuses on the area of societal/community values. The attention to community engagement as a process of empowerment, empathy, and community development aligns closely with new conceptions of civic engagement as collaborations with, not simply service to, local communities. Part 3 covers the group values of collaboration, common purpose, and controversy and civility. Chapter 6 [End Page 446] describes “what collaboration is, and what it is not” (p. 197). This is particularly important since collaboration, the sharing of values and norms, is often confused with networks. More attention to areas of literature on team-based organization would strengthen this chapter. Chapter 7 continues the theme of collaboration with a more detailed discussion of shared vision, aims, and values in groups. Finally, chapter 8 succinctly summarizes the importance, role, and value of controversy. The approaches offered to maintain civility during controversy are important for any group to consider. Part 4 focuses on individual values, including consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment. The purpose of the three chapters in this section is to assist individuals to become more self-aware in order to relate more authentically to groups. The value for students leaders are the reflective exercises in chapter 9, the examples of courageous leaders in chapter 10, the discussion of congruence also...


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pp. 446-448
Launched on MUSE
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