Working through change

You can find my work in various publications.


From Great to Good Enough: Reconnecting Leadership to the Ordinary in Leadership Matters? Finding Voice, Connection and Meaning in the 21st Century, eds Christopher Mabey & David Knights, Routledge.


Creating Meaning Together in Faithful Improvisation? Theological Reflections on Church Leadership, eds Loveday Alexander & Mike Higton, London: CHP, pp203-215.

Ministry and Management: Convergence, Divergence and Prospects. Susannah Wesley Foundation.


Questioning Business Schools in Developing Leadership: Questions Business Schools Don't Ask, eds Chris Mabey & Wolfgang Meyerhofer, London: Sage, pp31-45.

Contemplating Compost: Leadership Lessons from Nature in The Bible in TransMission. Summer 2015, pp17-19.


Approaching Transitions in Moving on in Ministry: Discernment for Times of Transition and Change, ed. Tim Ling, London: CHP, pp1-16.


Embrace Change in 101 Great Ideas for Growing Healthy Churches, eds John Nelson, Michael Lofthouse & Anton Muller, Norwich: Canterbury Press, pp95-97.

I provided a short article, which the editors worked up as Great Idea #41 in MODEM's fifth book.

The Formless Void as Organizational Template. Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion. 9(1), pp1-3-121.

Abstract. This article examines the first creation story in the Book of Genesis from the perspective of complexity theory. Traditional views of this narrative conceive of a deity harnessing chaos to create order. They reflect a loathing of chaos and a desire for control: a Newtonian worldview of cause and effect. It is an approach we see repeated in contemporary organizations. However, a radically different perspective sees the formless void as opening up the possibility of emergence and self-organization. This approach is used to prompt interaction both with the Judaeo-Christian tradition and organization studies. Four particular leadership challenges are examined: notions of control, attitudes to change, co-creating an environment for self-organization, and using emergence in relation to values. A concluding section highlights the importance of consistency in leadership to promote emergence.

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Book review. The Refective Leader, by Alan Smith & Peter Shaw (Canterbury Press, 2011). Faith in Business Quarterly 15(1), pp23-4.

Visit the FiBQ website here.


Embracing Chaos: Leadership Insights from Complexity Theory. Grove Books Leadership Series 4. Cambridge: Grove Books. 28pp.

Click here for details. Read a review here.

Fractal Leadership: Emerging Patterns for Transformation in Leadership for Transformation, eds JoAnn Danelo Barbour & Gill Robinson Hickman, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp33-49.

A volume in the International Leadership Association's Building Leadership Bridges Series.


Book review. The Relational Manager, by Michael Schluter & David John Lee (Lion Hudson, 2009). Faith in Business Quarterly 13(3), p30.

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Organisational Issues in Understanding Interprofessional Working in Health and Social Care, eds Kathy Pollard, Judith Thomas & Margaret Miers, Palgrave, pp138-155.

Co-written with my colleagues Margaret Page from Bristol Business School and Yusuf Ahmad from UWE’s School of Health & Social Care.

Click here to go to the publishers' website.


Book review. Followership, by Barbara Kellerman (Harvard, 2008). Leadership 5(2), pp285-288.

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Making Companies Whole: Being Comfortably Out of Control. Faith in Business Quarterly 11(4), pp21-25.

A published version of my presentation at the Wholeness at Work conference in Cambridge in April 2008. "Tim's remedy was to look for organic solutions, to exert less control rather than more, to trust the wisdom of employees and to acknowledge the importance of the many small things that contribute to corporate culture." From the conference organiser's introductory article.

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Three chapters - Combining Relevance with a Timeless Perspective, Sustaining a Process of Change and Work as Worship  in How to Become a Creative Church Leader, ed. John Nelson, Canterbury Press.

"You don’t find many Christian books quoting Nietzsche approvingly, but these words...  seem to sum up what I found to be best in this book: 'He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.' This comes in a chapter by Tim Harle on 'Sustaining a Process of Change' and is about that vision thing. If the job of a leader is to lead, and, in order to lead, decide what direction to take, then, unless he or she plans to walk alone, there must be real ownership about where the community wants to get to, and why this route is being taken. This is where vision and values align. The leader is the herald of the vision and the guardian of the values; or, as Tim Harle puts it, unless you can answer the question 'Why are you doing this?', no amount of knowledge about 'How?' will ever help." From the 'Church Times' review by Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading.

Click here for full review (subscription may be required) or here to go to the publisher's website.

Articles Religious Meaning and Wisdom in Leadership: The Key Concepts, eds Antonio Marturano & Jonathan Gosling, Routledge.

"An indispensable and authoritative guide to the most crucial ideas, concepts and debates surrounding the study and exercise of leadership. Bringing together entries written by a wide range of international experts, this is an essential desktop resource for managers and leaders in all kinds of institutions and organizations, as well as students of business, sociology and politics." From the publisher's blurb.

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The Prairie and the Rainforest: Ecologies for Sustaining Organisational Change Business Leadership Review 4(3). 

"Another powerful analogy is given in the article by Tim Harle on ecologies for sustaining organisational change. Drawing on ideas first popularised by Ralph Stacey, Peter Senge and Meg Wheatley, Tim extends insights from the natural sciences – particularly those relating to systems and complexity – to explore the issue of organisational change and renewal. Such an interdisciplinary approach remains relatively unusual within the field of leadership and management studies yet is essential if we endeavour to capture the subtleties and nuances of organisational life. From this perspective, leadership is as much about maintaining a sense of continuity as driving forward change. "  From the Business Leadership Review Editorial.

Click here to read or download the article. 

Gimme Five! Multi-disciplinary Perspectives on Leadership in John Adair: Fundamentals of Leadership, eds Jonathan Gosling, Peter Case & Morgen Witzel, Palgrave Macmillan, pp73-92.

"Tim Harle presents a thought provoking set of comparisons between two unlikely bedfellows. He contrasts two lists, each comprising five elements: the ‘Five Minds of the Manager’ proposed by Gosling and Mintzberg (2003) in their Harvard Business Review article, and the five models that describe the Anglican priest’s vocational calling as represented in The Declaration read out during ordination services… Harle sets out to reflect critically on three key questions. Firstly, despite Adair’s espoused emphasis on ‘serving to lead’, can the [Action Centred Leadership] model be accused of promoting the notion of the ‘heroic individual’ which has come under such criticism in recent leadership literature? Second, is ACL premised on an unhelpful Cartesian worldview? Third, has Adair’s hierarchical modelling of team, operational and strategic leadership stood the test of time, particularly in the light of recent research developments in the areas of chaos and complexity modelling? Ever sensitive to the etymological roots of the terms he employs and careful to capture nuance, Harle treats the reader to a rich exploration of these questions – juxtaposing sources from academic organisation and leadership sources, popular management literature, biblical references and concepts drawn from comparative religion. While the argument is subtle, Harle concludes that readers of The Ordinal and the Harvard Business Review have much to learn from one another concerning the meaning and practice of leadership." From the editors' introduction, p12.

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Leadership: A Review of Some Recent Perspectives in the Management Literature. Faith in Business Quarterly 10(4), pp23-28.

"Another pot-pourri of thoughtfully written and often challenging articles... Keeping up to date with current thinking in leadership can be intimidating, given the continual mass of many books and articles.  Tim Harle helpfully guides us through some of the more significant books on leadership in recent years.". From the editor's introduction.


Peter Drucker: A Tribute. Faith in Business Quarterly 9(4), pp29-30.

"a perceptive tribute to Peter Drucker"  From the editors.


Serenity, Courage and Wisdom: Changing Competencies for Leadership. Business Ethics: European Review 14(4), pp348-358.


Lessons from the Margins. The Reader 101(1), pp14-15.