Cross-Enterprise Leadership: A Case Study of the Ocean Cleanup Project

Leadership remains one of the core reasons why some businesses are thriving in the information age while others are dwindling. The effectiveness and respect of any leader is highly reliant on the regard of psychological qualities, strong ethical values and virtues (Mihelic, Lipicnik & Tekavcic, 2010). The triumph of the Ocean cleanup project is highly attributable to the enhancement of cross-enterprise leadership, a holistic means to goal realization. Further, the approach goes against the static and hierarchical system of governance that often results to a narrowed approach to societal challenges as exhibited in the Ocean Cleanup project.

Ocean Cleanup case study exhibits a leadership model whose elements can be associated to cross-enterprise style of leadership. According to Crossan and Olivera (2006), cross-enterprise leadership provides a universal approach applicable in the 21st century where challenges are global and more complex where leadership and management is been seen from broader perspective focusing on issues rather than narrow view provided by the focus on organizational functions.

In the ocean cleanup case study, the 16-year-old Boyan Slat was surprised to see an existing challenge in the society and thought about how to change the challenge to a benefit. Pollution has so often been a challenge that every government globally is attempting to address today. Scientists provides different warnings associated with the transformations being experienced from the destructions caused by humans. Top on the list is the destruction of the ozone layer linked to a number of diseases and climatic changes among other societal vices.

The progressive ability of the Ocean Cleanup project incorporated the cross-enterprise leadership as discussed by Crossan and Olivera (2006).

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Cross-enterprise leadership is meant to ensure value creation and not reduction. In the ocean cleanup study, the need to ensure a clean environment motivated the Boyan (2013) to consider researching on the removal of plastic pollutants from the oceans. As such, it became necessary for the establishment of a network for value- creating system where responsibility and power to fighting the vice can be incorporated this kind of strategies for managing process within network is called process management (Theory lecture 5 slide18). Hence, the inception of the goal in the project embraces the cross-enterprise leadership element where formation of networks is critical. In other words, the operation of the project existed in unclear boundaries and enterprise. As such, it was not based on defined boundaries. In this regard, Boyan (2013) opted to come up with a passive system that took advantage of the existing ocean currents. Further, the skills learnt in the aerospace engineering research conducted also ensured that the leadership model he adopted was not narrow. Hence, disqualifying it from other kinds of leadership such as the hierarchical system that is often narrow.

Further, Boyan (2013) incorporation of ocean waves together with the skills collected from the aerospace engineering signifies the need to provide a complex and dynamic system to problem solution. By influencing through network as a whole by promoting network formation, self-regulation, self-concept or modifications to the system by aiming at network composition (Theory lecture 5 slide 20). In addition, the creation of a network through inviting supporters and organizing for crowd funding which enhances the argument that the case study adopted a cross enterprise system of leadership in combating the huge patches of plastics distributed across the world oceans. Which in further expands into large-scale projects, in which management will ask for corporate sponsoring as well as find ways to sell and distribute the extracted plastic. Contrary to the general management system where the context of doing things is not real-time, the current state of affairs for Boyan (2013) was real-time. As such, decisions needed to be done immediately in order to solve an existing challenge. Further, there was no planning time as world be possible in the general management system as more delay in the implementation of a solution meant more problem that would require more financial constraint to solve

Lastly, cross enterprise leadership is evident in the case study from the aspect of “Think-Act-Lead” approach as opposed to the knowledge based traditional leadership approach. Boyan (2013) needed to think of a way to eliminate the ocean pollutants without prior knowledge of the challenge. Initially, he had to change his course of study in order to find a way in which to act quickly within an issue-based orientation. Once the two aspect of cross leadership, that is, Think and Act were dealt with he then needed to provide a leadership approach to help address the existing complex and uncertain phenomenon in the real time.

In conclusion, it remains inevitable to one to discuss about the ocean cleanup project without applying the concepts of cross enterprise leadership as discussed by Crossan and Olivera (2006).

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Cross-Enterprise Leadership: A Case Study of the Ocean Cleanup Project. (2022, Jan 24). Retrieved from

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