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Common Knowledge?An Ethnography of Wikipedia$
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Dariusz Jemielniak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804789448

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804789448.001.0001

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Leadership Transformed

Leadership Transformed

The Pros and Cons of Benevolent Dictatorship

7 Leadership Transformed
Common Knowledge?

Dariusz Jemielniak

Stanford University Press

This chapter draws on the previous considerations about organization and management in open-collaboration movements to analyze the phenomenon of personal leadership, examining the example of Jimmy Wales, cofounder of Wikipedia. It shows the evolution of his role and the reasons why his influence on the movement could only increase when he stepped down from operational, daily activities and stopped his attempts at direct management. It makes some conclusions about modes of leadership in open-collaboration organizations and suggests that both an authoritative, single-handed style of leadership and a subservient, supportive one can work but must be in line with the leader's level of engagement in the community. The chapter also shows that the lack of formal leadership only makes it more difficult for natural leaders to legitimize their role.

Keywords:   leadership online, Wikipedia leader, Jimmy Wales, styles of leadership in open collaboration, founder's exit

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