Executive catalysts: Predicting sustainable organizational performance amid complex demands

Kleio Akrivou, Hilary Bradbury-Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We propose a conceptual model to better understand core capacities that equip some executives to be effective catalysts of organizational performance over time. Drawing on constructivist theory of ego development, we suggest that the combined effects of self differentiation/complexity and self-integration are individual level predictors of being an effective catalyst. We assert that capacity for meaning making at the individual level is a prerequisite for the type of sense giving that coordinates stakeholder actions. From coordinated action outstanding leadership performance becomes possible. We link our contribution with leadership theory on the importance of vision and complexity. We offer measures and propositions to support empirical testing. We also address directions and implications for further research with emphasis on how executives may develop these capacities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1009
Number of pages15
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Complexity leadership
  • Leader development
  • Leadership
  • Meaning making
  • Mental models
  • Organizational change
  • Organizational sustainability
  • Self-as-process
  • Self-integration
  • Sensemaking
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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