Retooling Ethical Behavior With Agrarian Leadership

Summary: Examine the concept of agrarian leadership in today’s society. Dr. Green shares how to infuse ethical behavior in the workplace with a different type of leadership. 

We live in a digital economy. Technology and innovation continue to improve our wants and desires. Like the Great Roman Empire, the moral decay in our society will slowly eat us from the inside out. In order to improve leaders’ value systems, we need to regain the values of agrarian society. Leadership expert Vana Prewitt argues that the current leadership theories are based on modernist assumptions and are out of date with leading today’s postmodern organizations. Given this dilemma, I advocate for a different kind of 21st leadership.

Today’s leaders need a fresh and authentic outlook, which is morally sound. In fact, a leader’s vision must be deeply rooted. Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, and David Buchanan, authors of Managing Organizational Change explain, “Visions are thus linked to strategy and competitive advantage, enhancing organizational performance and sustaining growth… A lack of vision, on the other hand, is associated with organizational decline and failure.” Let’s look at Agrarian leadership. Agrarian leadership is defined as a contextual influence that has an impact on subordinates’ attitudes and performance by leaders who are both value and results driven. Agrarian leaders view their followers as critical parts of the socio-technical system. Therefore, technology does not drive the value system of society.

Before the Industrial Revolution, life was centered on land and labor. Life was simple for the leader in the agrarian society. Rural living revolved around the land; owning it was equivalent to self-sufficiency and liberty. Although Americans lived in a tribal structure prior to the Agrarian Era (1650-1849), farming communities operated in a decentralized economy.

Agrarians exercised a strong spirituality and a deep respect for the environment. There was a genuine concern for neighbors and co-workers. Being a leader was a major responsibility. In fact, farmers were like heroes because of their hard work, contributions to society, independence, and moral standards. A man’s word meant something. With the transition from an agrarian to industrial society, untainted leadership was lost.

The Industry Revolution meant major changes to the American way of life. Before that period, over 90% of Americans lived rurally. Farmers influenced society. Between 1870 and 1900, rural areas doubled and the urban regions tripled. Farmers were cautious about these societal changes.

Industrial managers faced challenges, such as generating new efficiencies while expanding operations. Chaos theory was in effect because those managers couldn’t control these organizational changes (both inside and outside). Factory managers lacked a process to motivate the unskilled (former agrarian) workforce. This era created new advances and new problems.

The Industrial Revolution forever changed agrarian society, primarily due to market economy and technology. Farmers were less self-sufficient and became “economic market” slaves. This created a conflict because farmers and industrial society had different values. Farming became more productive, but fewer farmers were needed.

As a result of these advances, farmers lost their independence, family focus, and societal influence on moral conduct. For example, some managers found factory workers breaking equipment. Consequently, managers tried to institute positive and negative rewards; these managers used conventional wisdom: “the hungriest man makes the best worker.” Once again, humanity was moving away from his calling—the land.

Therefore, advances in technology do not always equate to a better society. Many techno advocates would argue that technology has provided superior virtues. I beg to differ. First, technology doesn’t automatically improve society. In over 50 years, America has gone from rural to city and from national to international markets. Richard Critchfield, author of Trees, Why Do You Wait: America’s Changing Rural Culture, argues that these advancements have weakened our core values, such as family tradition and work ethic.

Secondly, the disintegration of the agrarian code has destroyed our moral stability. Osha Davidson, the author of Broken Heartlands, suggests that technology and the economic prestige of the agricultural system brought a host of social ills, such as poverty, depopulation, and soil erosion.

In closing, we may consider agrarian lifestyle primitive. However, agrarian values shouldn’t be forgotten as good leadership attributes. We continue to advance technology rapidly while the values of society continue to disintegrate with each innovation. In society, many leaders exhibit unethical conduct, pursuing wealth. Throughout American history, we see the consequences. Let’s pray it’s not too late for agrarian leadership.

Please discuss agrarian leadership as it relates to a changing world.

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34 thoughts on “Retooling Ethical Behavior With Agrarian Leadership

  1. Dr. Green, you state “As a result of [technical] advances, farmers lost their independence, family focus, and societal influence on moral conduct.” The challenge then is how does one transform the agrarian concept into something that applies to today’s rapidly advancing society. We are a country so far removed from Thomas Jefferson’s agrarian society built on farms. In fact today, US farms produce only 1% of the US GDP. (“Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy”, 2018)

    Eric Ruda writes, “Proximity is important here. For instance, if I go fishing, I am much more likely to care about the health of fish and rivers. If I farm, I am also very likely to care about the land as that is my very subsistence.” (Ruta, 2014) Therefore, agrarian leadership should be comprised of elements which help the leader connect teams to fundamental principles of agrarianism. Leaders must integrate policies which support and empower employee values while exemplifying and upholding a set of corporate ethics and values as well. For example, the company I work for enables employees to volunteer for companywide community events and also a generous policy of allowing employees to take two additional volunteer days off per year.

    References
    Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy. (2018, May 2). Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/ag-and-food-sectors-and-the-economy/

    Ruta, E. (2014, January 13). THOMAS JEFFERSON’S AGRARIAN IDEOLOGY FOR AMERICA. Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://course-wp.bates.edu/eruta/2014/01/12/thomas-jeffersons-agrarian-ideology-for-america-2/

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  2. Dr. Green,
    The Agrarian lifestyle and leadership style emulated a deep respect for the environment, your neighbor/co-laborers, and spirituality. You stated, “Agrarian leaders view their followers as critical parts of the socio-technical system. Therefore, technology does not drive the value system of society”. Human Capital over technological obsession seems to yield a more sustainable business model. Thowardz (2015) stated, “The most important asset at your company isn’t something you can put your hands on. It isn’t equipment or the physical plant, and it isn’t data, technology, or intellectual property. The most valuable part of your company is the people—the human capital…The Executive Education programs at Harvard Business School offer a strategic partnership with the goal of helping companies develop their human talent.” The best vision of a company pulls from the strengths of the employees and motivates them to achieve their utmost potential.

    Source:
    T. (2015, August 20). Why human capital is your company’s greatest asset. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://qz.com/403391/why-human-capital-is-your-companys-greatest-asset/

    [WC-164]

    • Tina,

      Thanks for contributing to our discussion! You have done your research.

      Employees are important. I like your point: “The best vision of a company pulls from the strengths of the employees and motivates them to achieve their utmost potential.”

      All,

      How do companies balance the search for profitability with human capital/societal needs?

      Dr. Green

      • Dr. Green,
        You inquisitively asked, “How do companies balance the search for profitability with human capital/societal needs? Kanter (2014) stated, “Institutional logic holds that companies are more than instruments for generating money; they are also vehicles for accomplishing societal purposes and for providing meaningful livelihoods for those who work in them. Creating a family-based company culture, will provide long term employee loyalty. Treating people with grace and understanding will be more beneficial than holding unrealistic expectations that create a workaholic culture.

        Sources:
        Kanter, R. M. (2014, November 04). How Great Companies Think Differently. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2011/11/how-great-companies-think-differently

        [WC-100]

      • Tina, you offer some invaluable insight with your response: “Treating people with grace and understanding will be more beneficial than holding unrealistic expectations that create a workaholic culture.”

        Do we have the courage to comply?

      • Dr. Green your question of us all asking “How do companies balance the search for profitability with human capital/societal needs?” made me think of my own human capital. My research lead me to an article on http://www.olsongroup.com that lists the 8 benefits to Investing in Human Capital, this research says “Every company invests in human capital, whether it understands it or not. Your staffs’ salary, benefits, and perks are all an investment in your firm’s human capital. Spending this money, but not paying a little more for employee development is like paying a significant amount of money for a Super Bowl commercial spot, but then refusing to spend money to make a quality commercial. That would be an awful investment for your company.” (Jeanetta, 2017) His statement resonated with me in how human capital can be dismissed as having no value. People have value whether it is recognized or not by their employers. A smart company will recognize the value of their human capital and reward it.

        Jeanetta, A. (2017, January 27). 8 Benefits of Investing in Your Human Capital Development. Retrieved from The Olson Group: https://theolsongroup.com/5-benefits-investing-human-capital/
        WC [189]

      • Dr Green,

        I wanted to respond to your question, “How do companies balance the search for profitability with human capital/societal needs?” Recently I read an interesting article on Investopedia about companies that choose to invest in human capital. The article states “Companies that utilize human capital initiatives outperform their peers.” They back this statement up with a method for businesses to determine the return on investment in human capital, “Any return on Investment (ROI) of human capital can be calculated by dividing the company’s total profits by its overall investments in human capital… managers can compare the ROI of its human capital year-over-year in order to track how profit is improving and whether it has a relationship to the human capital investments.”

        I would interpret this article to mean that companies that are truly looking to be profitable are also willing to invest in their employees through education, training, and better employee benefits.

        [WC – 169]
        Human Capital – ‘What is Human Capital?”. Investopedia. Retrieved on September 8, 2018 from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/humancapital.asp

    • You stated, ”Human Capital over technological obsession seems to yield a more sustainable business model.” We tend to think of ways a company can invest in employees by providing training programs and benefits. How do we know what to offer? I read an interesting article about the way the US government’s Office of Personnel Management is seeking to utilize an off the shelf human capital management system to improve efficiencies. The Treasury is working to combine 27 independent personnel systems into one, merging “performance management, learning management, workforce planning, and succession,” said Gerald Leach, Treasury’s director of talent management and technologies.” (Gunter, 2018) Paul Jesukiewicz, the director of OPM’s Knowledge Portal is quoted as saying they are looking to create a way to “track employees throughout their federal service and make moving across agencies — or in and out of government — easier. He added he’s hoping to get to a level of depth and real-time tracking that could eventually include job analyses and training records.” (Gunter, 2018) If successful, it would enable the government to do a better job of placing employees in roles they are best suited for and identify training opportunities. I posit that an organization’s human capital itself can provide source data that should not be overlooked.

      References
      Gunter, C. (2018). Why modernizing human capital systems is so hard — FCW. [online] FCW. Available at: https://fcw.com/articles/2018/08/28/modernizing-hr-systems-gunter.aspx [Accessed 8 Sep. 2018].
      [WC235]

  3. Our world is constantly changing, but it is not always for the greater good. Technology is so prevalent in today’s business world and it helps in so many ways, but that does not mean that it should change every aspect of how things operate. Human capital is the most valuable resource and having leaders who are, as you said, “both value and results driven” is important to continual growth and success. Today, people tend to leave out the “value driven” aspect and are so focused on accomplishing goals that they have forgotten the importance of their neighbors and co-workers and are willing to plow them down for the opportunity of “success.” I believe it is important for us, as a changing world, to figure out how to be successful, but not at the risk of losing our moral compass or throwing co-workers under the bus to get ahead. Managers need to find a way to balance the ideals of agrarian leadership and how to manage such a high-tech, fast paced world. Palmer (2017) states, “it is always important to choose, or to adapt, a model that fits the organization’s problem” and we need to adapt our leadership styles as well.

    [WC-200]

    Source:
    Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. A. (2017). Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach (Third ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

    • Rachel,

      Thanks for a very thoughtful post! I would like to expand on your comment: “I believe it is important for us, as a changing world, to figure out how to be successful, but not at the risk of losing our moral compass or throwing co-workers under the bus to get ahead. Managers need to find a way to balance the ideals of agrarian leadership and how to manage such a high-tech, fast paced world.”

      I agree! When we place technology over people, we are headed in the wrong direction. Companies are looking for ways to reduce their costs (i.e. people are the most expensive). AI and Robotics are great for the bottom-line. However, these items can never replace the soul and spirit of people. We need to be focused as leaders. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Agrarians were simple people. Yet, they focused on matters essential for life (family, environment, faith).

      All,

      How do we as leaders better manage our priorities in life?

      Dr. Green

    • Rachel,
      You stated, “I believe it is important for us, as a changing world, to figure out how to be successful, but not at the risk of losing our moral compass or throwing co-workers under the bus to get ahead. Managers need to find a way to balance the ideals of agrarian leadership and how to manage such a high-tech, fast paced world.” Forbes put together a study for how to stay ahead of the curve in this technologically driven world. Forbes Technology Council (2017) stated, “Be receptive and adaptive to change, however uncomfortable that may be. Success comes from the ability to adapt your approach at pivotal moments, all the while leveraging your leadership expertise.” The response to rapid change can set your company apart from the rest. Stretching your technological boundaries to focus on a product development can go a long ways. Humans are meant to advance and create, technology should only aid in that process.

      Sources:
      Editors, F. T. (2017, September 12). Nine Ways Tech Companies Can Stay Ahead Of The Curve. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/09/12/nine-ways-tech-companies-can-stay-ahead-of-the-curve/#246494ed5952

      [WC-182]

    • Rachel,

      In most instances I do see that our leadership as well as most individuals place a greater emphasis on technology than on people. Roger Martin from the Harvard Business Review states: “the most exasperating fact about big companies in crisis is that they got there by doing what once made them big”. In this I believe a lot of companies look at human capital just a greater expense than an asset. I have been with some organizations where letting people go was how they managed to stay afloat during tough times. So this coupled with new technology that allows employees to be more efficient, I can see that it is hard not to look at humans as just an overall expense. However, leaders need to look at the morality of the issues and focus on how their leadership effects the masses.
      (WC-142)

      Sources:
      Harverd Business Review. (1993, December). Invest in People – Changing the Mind of the Corporation. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from https://hbr.org/1993/11/changing-the-mind-of-the-corporation

    • Rachel,
      I completely agree with your post and it’s somewhat similar to what I was trying to explain in mine. You stated “I believe it is important for us, as a changing world, to figure out how to be successful, but not at the risk of losing our moral compass or throwing co-workers under the bus to get ahead.” It’s important to exemplify a good character even in the work place. As Christians we are raised to be good people and serve the Lord unfortunately, not everyone is raised a Christian. According to Rob Peters, “ethics is foundational to building high relationship capital in an organization and to sustain a business in this hyper-connected and transparent social world,” Not only is showing good ethics a sign of good character but it is indeed good for business. As managers, how do we teach those principles to people that have been in the workplace for a quite sometime under different management? That is the challenge.

      [WC-163]

      Peters, R. (2017, October 21). Why Moral Leadership Is Good Business – Rob Peters – Medium. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@standardoftrust/why-moral-leadership-is-good-business-6125c621f95

    • Rachel –
      It’s an important point you make that, “Mangers need to find a way to balance the ideals of agrarian leadership and how to manage such a high-tech, fast paced world.” It’s common for businesses today to feel like they need to rush to keep up with everyone else and continue to grow. When this becomes the primary focus, we can lose sight of some of the values that we need to have as a foundation of how to operate as a business. I came across an article by Angela Civitella that spoke to this when she stated, “The language in business was simple: honor, respect and loyalty were the currency back then, and it worked,” (Yesterday’s Leadership Values — What Leaders Today Should Remember, 2017). I don’t feel that we have the same luxury of relying on ‘honor, respect and loyalty’ as the virtues of business any more. However, it is something that we should try to strive for in a more wholistic view of how businesses can work together in the spirit of agrarianism. By respecting those around us instead of trying to beat out everyone, maybe we can get a little closer.

      [WC-195]

      Sources

      Civitella, A. (2017, June 23). Yesterday’s Leadership Values — What Leaders Today Should Remember. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/23/yesterdays-leadership-values-what-leaders-today-should-remember/#5de6546a1481

  4. Data Mining Breach
    Facebook is one of the most internationally used social media platforms. Many platforms are not accessible in different countries. Social media uses advertisements and marketing techniques to influence the users through add campaigns and data mining exploitation. The exploitation of the misuse of personal data can lead to unethical behavior and huge consequences. Kerr (2018) concurs “Consultants working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign exploited the personal Facebook data of millions”. When organizations are functioning in such a highly changing and competitive environment, the internal pressures of the company’s culture have a very dictating role on the new ways to reach their target audience. Palmer (2007) stated, “The internal pressures for organizational change can include, new ideas about how to deliver services to customers” (p. 62).
    The internal pressures for companies to shape the needs, wants, and desires of the market, pushed Cambridge Analytica to acquire the data of millions of Facebook users, misusing it for political ads during the 2016 US presidential election. Sherr (2018) stated, “Facebook says it told Cambridge Analytica to delete the data, but reports suggest the info wasn’t destroyed.” After Cambridge Analytica targeted political messages and misused Facebook’s data with users, Facebook demanded that the falsified accounts and misuse of the data for political messages would be stopped.
    Sherr (2018) quoted, “We’ve already learned that automated bot programs and operatives working on behalf of the Russian government appear to have manipulated Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other social networks as part of a broad misinformation campaign that’s now being investigated by both the FBI and the US Senate. Though investigators have been focused on Russia, they’ve also turned attention to Trump’s presidential campaign, which had hired Cambridge Analytica to run data operations.” This situation caused so much dispute and was taken to Congress. Ballhaus (2017) stated, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign, turn over documents as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, according to people familiar with the matter.” Because of Cambridge Analytica’s data mining misusage of 50 million Facebooks users, investigations were launched on both sides of the US and the UK. Facebook would have done well to focus on public relations mitigating this scandal. However, Facebook actually rejected the data breach of Cambridge Analytica, entirely.
    This did not go over well for Facebook users. In fact, Al Jazeera News (2018) reports, “In the days following the original reporting, the Twitter hashtag #DeleteFacebook began trending. Congress asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on what had happened. The social media giant’s share value took a dramatic dive, down $60bn at one point down.” This reflects poorly on Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The controversy of this, potentially occurring again does not benefit Facebook’s security and trust of the users. This however, has not affected my usage of Facebook. I am thankful for an interface that offers free video calls across different countries, when recruiting overseas.

    Sources:
    Al Jazeera. (2018, March 28). Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The scandal so far. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/cambridge-analytica-facebook-scandal-180327172353667.html
    Ballhaus, R. (2017, December 15). Mueller Sought Emails of Trump Campaign Data Firm. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/mueller-sought-emails-of-trump-campaign-data-firm-1513296899
    Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2007). Managing organizational change: A multiple perspectives approach(3rd ed.). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
    Sherr, I. (2018, April 19). Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, data mining and Trump: What you need to know. Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-cambridge-analytica-data-mining-and-trump-what-you-need-to-know/

    Sherr, I. (2018, March 17). Facebook bans Trump-linked campaign data firm. Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-bans-trump-linked-campaign-data-firm-cambridge-analytica/

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  5. The concept of adopting a more agrarian leadership style is one that could bring a unique perspective to today’s workplace. As you noted during the change from the Industrial Revolution, “Industrial managers faced challenges, such as generating new efficiencies while expanding operations.” The focus seems to remain a focal point of many leaders as they try to grow their organizations. Taking a shift from this perspective into a more agrarian mindset would involve what Palmer, Dunford and Buchanan note to be a ‘Deep change’ in their Managing Organizational Change book. A ‘Deep change’ requires leaders to, “Change the mission, vision, values, the organization’s philosophy, to symbolize a radical shift in thinking and behaviour,” (2017, p. 143). This is likely a tall order for an organization to undergo such a shift, but as noted there is some real merit in the value of adopting a more agrarian leadership style. Value can be placed in morality and values for employees as they move away from an assumption that efficiencies are they only way to continue to grow and succeed. Certainly food for thought!
    [WC-187]
    Sources:
    Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. (2017). Managing Organizational Change. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

    • Taylor,
      You stated, “Value can be placed in morality and values for employees as they move away from an assumption that efficiencies are they only way to continue to grow and succeed.” In my job as an admissions counselor, I focus on ‘adding value’ to high school students in their college search, as well as providing them a unique opportunity at Oklahoma Baptist University. Loomer (2010) stated, ““All employees are expendable, and if it makes financial sense to the company, you will be replaced or eliminated altogether.” Investing in yourself to bring fresh ideas to the company is a must.

      Koch (1998) speaks on time management and priorities, “The unspoken corollary to the 80/20 principle is that little of what we spend our time on actually counts. But by concentrating on those things that do, we can unlock the enormous potential of the magic 20 percent, and transform our effectiveness in our jobs, our careers, our businesses, and our lives.”

      Sources:
      Koch, R. (1998). The 80/20 principle: The secret to achieving more with less. New York: Crown Business.

      Loomer, B. (2010, February 24). 22 ways you can show your value in today’s cutthroat world. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://www.reliableplant.com/Read/23051/value-advice-employment-company-roi

      [WC-200]

    • Taylor,

      I agree that so many leadership throughout a company’s culture need to undergo a “Deep Change” to recognize morality and away from strict efficiencies. This can be extremely difficult especially if you are trying to change a company culture of a large corporations. I have had one professor give the analogy of trying to turn a speed boat vs trying to turn a cruise ship. In my own experiences I have found that changing company culture very much similar as well as difficult. The larger corporations have usually been around longer and are stuck in their ways, where smaller new companies are often use to change and welcome fresh perspectives. Martin states in his article Changing the mind of the corporation: “ The most exasperating fact about big companies in crisis is that they got there by doing what once made them big”

      (WC-143)
      Sources:
      Harvard Business Review. (1993, December). Changing the Mind of the Corporation. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from https://hbr.org/1993/11/changing-the-mind-of-the-corporation

    • Taylor,

      I agree that adopting a more agrarian leadership style would require a “deep change” for many of the businesses today, but it seems to be a change that is necessary for the success. I found it interesting that Palmer (2017) decided to include a comparison of “integrative and segmentalist organization structures and cultures” because to me the integrative structure seemed to fall in line with taking the agrarian concept of being “both value and results driven” and applying it to today’s world. Palmer (2017) lists that “integrative structures and cultures display the following features: holistic problem-solving, team orientation, cooperative environment, mechanisms for ideas generation and exchange, sense of purpose and direction, ability to overthrow history and precedent, use of internal and external networks, person- and creation-centered, and results oriented” (p. 119). In my opinion, a company that is willing to undergo the deep change to begin working towards an integrative/agrarian style will benefit greatly because employees will feel engaged and appreciated.

      [WC-163]

      Source:
      Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Buchanan, D. A. (2017). Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach (Third ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

  6. Contemplating Agrarian Leadership

    Not being overly familiar with agrarian leadership, additional research was necessary. Wikipedia states that agrarianism “usually links working the land with morality and spiritualty and links urban life, capitalism, and technology with a loss of independence and dignity while fostering vice and weakness.” This definition seemed in opposition to the blog.

    Post-research, I would take the stance that pure agrarian leadership may be too extreme. Instead, I believe it is vital to develop leaders that are conscious in this ever-changing world. According to Gina Hayden, author of Becoming a Conscious Leader, an element of conscious leadership is the “inner drive to contribute collectively and responsibly towards the greater whole.” Technology is moving us forward at breathtaking speeds. I believe betterment for organizations lies in finding and developing good, conscious leaders.

    Paul Alan Kaak, in a doctoral dissertation, studies Agrarian values and good leadership in post-modern culture. He determined that “a good leader rethinks his/her values with a concern for a sustainable world.” Organizations can assist conscious leadership by providing systems-thinking training which encourages leaders to see the interplay of stakeholders and consider the impact of their actions on the wider system, including society and economy.

    [WC – 199]

    Sources
    Agrarian Society. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrarian_society

    Hayden, Gina. (May 12, 2017). Developing Conscious Leaders for a Fast-changing World. Training Industry. Retrieved from https://trainingindustry.com/articles/leadership/developing-conscious-leaders-for-a-fast-changing-world/

    Kaak, Paul Alan. (July 2005). Wendall Berry’s Sociological Imagination: Agrarian Values and Good Leadership in a Postmodern Culture. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1477&context=dissertations

    • Sarah,

      I had do additional research on agrarian leadership as well. I also agree that pure agrarian leadership is extreme but adapting certain principles from agrarian leadership would serve the workplace well. You stated, “Paul Alan Kaak, in a doctoral dissertation, studies Agrarian values and good leadership in post-modern culture. He determined that “a good leader rethinks his/her values with a concern for a sustainable world. Organizations can assist conscious leadership by providing systems-thinking training which encourages leaders to see the interplay of stakeholders and consider the impact of their actions on the wider system, including society and economy.”

      I agree. Finding leaders with a moral compass to lead the next generation is necessary. According to Forbes, “When it comes to collaboration and the future of work that is no longer enough. Managers need to commit to more than just funding collaboration.” They need to be the ones on the ground level using the same tools that the rest of the employees are using.” Once the system-thinking training is implemented, it should be used by everyone.

      Our world is evolving so quickly, however, we can’t forget how to be a good person and treat others respectively.

      [WC-184]

      Morgan, J. (2015, April 10). 5 Must-Have Qualities Of The Modern Manager. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2013/07/23/5-must-have-qualities-of-the-modern-manager/#378a50953a0b

  7. Agrarian leadership brings mind a wonderful idea of go west, expand your horizons, tame the nation and live well. This time notated by Dr. Green as 1650-1849 is a very romantic notion but there were major happenings in America, the tribal structure was nearly obliterated through war and the expansion. Although Americans lived in a tribal structure prior to the Agrarian Era (1650-1849), farming communities operated in a decentralized economy. (Green, 2018) Manifest destiny was in full effect. Western expansion put simply was to own property. Many of the farmers were seeking religious freedom in the new world. They brought with them their ethics and standards that relate back to their religious beliefs. The remnants of farming communities can be seen scattered across the nation. All of which passed into ghost towns with the growth of the railroad. Steam engines changed the way that the farmer was able to operate, becoming a disruptive innovation. “The farmer himself encountered “the ‘corruption’ of the trade” and became an entrepreneur, thanks to cash crops, mechanization, and new markets that were made accessible by turnpikes, canals, and railroads and that fueled greater demand.” (Scott, 2011) Hard work equals prosperity, prosperity turned into greed, and greed snuffed out the core values of agrarianism. Going backwards to this leadership era doesn’t seem possible. Looking forward the best we can do is to educate ourselves of the best traits of the agrarian leadership style and apply them personally into our own ethical standards and practices of leadership.

    References
    Green, D. D. (2018, September 3). Retooling Ethical Behavior With Agrarian Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.nuleadership.com: https://nuleadership.com/2018/09/03/retooling-ethical-behavior-with-agrarian-leadership/
    Scott, B. R. (2011). Capitalism: Its Origins and Evolution as a System of Governanace. Boston: Springer New York Dordrecht Heidelberg London.

    [WC-292]

    • Ginger,

      Thanks for your poetic thoughts: “Hard work equals prosperity, prosperity turned into greed, and greed snuffed out the core values of agrarianism!”

      We are in a spiritual quagmire. Right is wrong! Wrong is right! Leaders follow! Followers must lead!

      Agrarians kept it simple. Perhaps, that is the answer for us…too!

      Dr. Green

      • Dr. Green,
        Agrarians did keep it simple, but I honestly find this lifestyle to be a bit naive. Perhaps in isolated sections of the world this lifestyle would is necessary for survival, in America I’m not sure that we could ever go back to the way things were unless some unforeseen tragic event happened. As for now “Technology applied to agriculture has created increases in the output of farms while requiring fewer actual farmers.” (Crossman, 2017) Since we know this to be true then we can accept that fewer farmers has led to the fall of the agrarian leadership.

        References
        Crossman, A. (2017, April 2 ). ThoughtCo. Retrieved from http://WWW.thoughtco.com: https://www.thoughtco.com/agrarian-society-definition-3026047
        [WC-112]

    • Ginger, you stated “Hard work equals prosperity, prosperity turned into greed, and greed snuffed out the core values of agrarianism. Going backwards to this leadership era doesn’t seem possible.” Paul Schwennesen discusses this very subject in his TEDx talk. He suggests, “Although the small family farm is being squeezed out by massive consolidation in industry and by bloated and counterproductive bureaucracy, it is ultimately the consumer who chooses”. (ReGrowing Agrarian Roots: Paul Schwennesen at TEDxBozeman, 2013). Perhaps we as consumers make the decision to support small local family farms, increasing demand there. Joe Salatin says in his video, “working viscerally with food, reestablishing a connection to this ecological umbilical, it actually inspires us to lofty thoughts and great things.” (Joe Salatin, “Agrarian Intellectual”, 2013) So, perhaps then we all should consider the idea of growing more in our own back yard to reap the benefit of participation in the agrarian process.

      References
      T. (2013, June 18). Retrieved September 08, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZYEMn9B5Gc
      M. (2013, November 14). Retrieved September 08, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELRtyLoJXWg
      [WC173]

  8. Dr. Green, you state “As a result of [technical] advances, farmers lost their independence, family focus, and societal influence on moral conduct.” The challenge then is how does one transform the agrarian concept into something that applies to today’s rapidly advancing society. We are a country so far removed from Thomas Jefferson’s agrarian society built on farms. In fact today, US farms produce only 1% of the US GDP. (“Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy”, 2018)

    Eric Ruda writes, “Proximity is important here. For instance, if I go fishing, I am much more likely to care about the health of fish and rivers. If I farm, I am also very likely to care about the land as that is my very subsistence.” (Ruta, 2014) Therefore, agrarian leadership should be comprised of elements which help the leader connect teams to fundamental principles of agrarianism. Leaders must integrate policies which support and empower employee values while exemplifying and upholding a set of corporate ethics and values as well. For example, the company I work for enables employees to volunteer for companywide community events and also a generous policy of allowing employees to take two additional volunteer days off per year.

    References
    Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy. (2018, May 2). Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/ag-and-food-sectors-and-the-economy/

    Ruta, E. (2014, January 13). THOMAS JEFFERSON’S AGRARIAN IDEOLOGY FOR AMERICA. Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://course-wp.bates.edu/eruta/2014/01/12/thomas-jeffersons-agrarian-ideology-for-america-2/
    [WC233]

    • Nancy,
      Thanks for your contribution to our discussion! You posed an interesting thought: “proximity to the source.” How do we get leaders to connect with those traditional values of agrarians? It’s a complicated concept.
      I don’t have a clear answer. Perhaps, someone can help us. Dr. Green

      • Dr. Green,

        Through my short career in the business world I have seen firsthand how some leadership now has become solely focused on advancement and less concerned with individuals they employee. In your blog above you stated that Agrarian leaders “… view their followers as critical parts of the socio-technical system. Therefore, technology does not drive the value system of society” In today’s money hungry society we need more people to recognize human capital as an asset and less like an expense. Helena Morrissey wrote in the Sunday Telegraph “If talent is valued as a financial metric, human resources will be upgraded, and businesses can genuinely start creating a people-first culture” Businesses need to start reverting to Agrarian leadership and valuing human capital as an asset, once leadership can do this than we can change our company culture and reduce turnover. Churn in any company is costly, and by treating individuals with respect and seeing their true value will help create long term company loyalty.

        (WC -165)
        Sources:
        Industry Insights. (2015, February 23). Invest in People – Why Human Capital Matters. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from https://www.webanywhere.co.uk/enterprise/invest-in-people-why-human-capital-matters/

    • Nancy,

      The more I learned about agrarian leadership concepts, the more overwhelmed I became with how we would promote mainstream acceptance. I think you made an excellent point when you wrote “agrarian leadership should be comprised of elements which help the leader connect teams to fundamental principles of agrarianism. Leaders must integrate policies which support and empower employee values while exemplifying and upholding a set of corporate ethics and values as well.”

      My work also supports volunteer program days. They established Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day as a day that all able-bodied employees volunteer at a number of local non-profit organizations. Credit unions are businesses, but one of their unifying principles is, “Concern for the community – Credit unions are passionate about serving their members and about making an impact in the community. They volunteer for local charities and participate in causes to make a difference (National Credit Union Foundation, Co-op). Concern for community is actually an agrarian belief. I am in complete agreement with you that the effort for acceptance of similar values needs to be exemplified and upheld from the top down.

      Seven Principles of a Cooperative. Co-Op Articles. Retrieved on September 8, 2018 from https://co-opcreditunions.org/7-principles-of-a-cooperative/ 

      [WC – 198]

    • Nancy –
      You noted that, “the company I work for enables employees to volunteer for companywide community events and also a generous policy of allowing employees to take two additional days off per year.” I think this is an excellent benefit. In regards to the agrarian leadership principles, this is something employers can do to show that there are things that are valued outside of the bottom line of the company. It was noted by Ed Frauenheim and Sarah Lewis-Kulin that, “Employee empowerment is key to getting a full “return” on community involvement. By letting employees guide charitable efforts, the winning companies create high levels of commitment and pride among their teams,” (Giving Workers Paid Time Off to Volunteer Will Help Your Company Succeed, 2016). When employees have a chance to choose how they are getting involved in their communities, they can instill some of the values that are derived from agrarianism.

      [WC-151]

      Sources

      Frauenheim, E., & Lewis-Kulin, S. (2016, April 26). Giving Workers Paid Time Off to Volunteer Will Help Your Company Succeed. Retrieved from Forture: http://fortune.com/2016/04/26/giving-workers-paid-time-off-to-volunteer-will-help-your-company-succeed/

  9. Evan,
    You said that “churn in any company is costly, and by treating individuals with respect and seeing their true value will help create long term company loyalty” and I could not agree more. Chad Brooks wrote that “more than 80 percent of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work” (Brooks, 2014). People who feel appreciated and as though the company cares about more than just the bottom dollar are more likely to go above and beyond their normal duties, and in the end, this benefits the company. Because feeling appreciated has become so rare in today’s business world, people are more likely to stay with a company that treats them with respect and appreciation. I feel like as a society, we have forgotten the importance of the simple things like saying “Thank you” for a job well done, and instead, we focus on how we can cut costs even at the expense of losing great employees.

    [WC-165]

    Source:
    Brooks, C. (2014, January 25). The Importance of Appreciation in the Workplace. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/19/appreciation-employees-work-harder-motivation_n_4302593.html

  10. In today’s ever-changing world, agrarian society is something some people are not familiar with. Agrarian society is defined as a society “whose economy and wealth is primarily based upon agriculture.” Although I agree that we are constantly evolving in every aspect including management, I don’t agree that we should forget about agrarian principles. As Dr. Green stated, agrarians had a strong spirituality and a deep respect for the environment, something that big corporations have seem to have forgotten.

    For example, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline was to be inserted to transport thousands of barrels of oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois. The reason the tribe wanted to protest was because the pipeline was going to be placed underneath the Missouri River, a primary source of drinking water for the tribe. Along with contamination of drinking water, environmental factors were also a big threat. This story was so big, that my friend’s grandfather, who happens to be Enoch Kelly Haney (Seminole/Muskogee Creek), traveled to Standing Rock to protest with alongside the Sioux tribe. When did money and greed become more important than humanity and mother nature? Having and making money is great but it means nothing if it means polluting our resources. Therefore, it’s important to adapt agrarian leadership in leaders of today. It starts with showing people what’s important, such as a humanity, humility and a sustainable environment.

    [WC-236]

    Gajanan, M. (2016, November 21). Dakota Access Pipeline: What to Know About the Controversy. Retrieved from http://time.com/4578753/dakota-access-pipeline-protest-latest/

    Green, D. (2018, September 04). Retooling Ethical Behavior With Agrarian Leadership. Retrieved from https://nuleadership.com/2018/09/03/retooling-ethical-behavior-with-agrarian-leadership/

    Grimsley, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/characteristics-of-agrarian-societies.html

  11. For the sake of transparancy I wanted to share with you all how I struggle with the idea of the agrarian leadership. My research about the subject llead me to the thoughts of how the US captured land from Native American people & the civil war. Both items go back to land. Farmers needed the land. When I try and articulate my feelings on this and how it is all tied together I can’t put it into words without sounding like I’m a mad woman. These are tough subjects and I couldn’t refrain from mentioning them in good concience.

    • Ginger,

      Thanks for your response! Land is a hot topic…and a sensitive matter. It’s really an emotional conversation…if you have skin in the game!

      Yet, we need to be authentic if we want to discover the root of problems in order to solve them. [I’m wearing my engineer’s hat now].

      Last summer, I took a group of students to Capetown, South Africa. At OBU, we sent out about 30 Global Outreach team to serve local communities. South Africa is still dealing with the aftermath of apartheid. It’s not a pretty story.
      I will make my transformational experience available to you on Facebook with a friend request: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212392937647048&set=t.1488802516&type=3&theater

      We have our own problems in our country. In the US, we are still dealing with the ramification of slavery. Race relations are at the center point of these discussions.

      These stories about oppression and prejudices are not pretty to tell.

      Do we have the courage to face them…as people? If we really want to solve these lingering issues, we need to be true to ourselves.

      We are even challenged as Believers. Throughout history, the church has also struggled with these social issues. Which side is right?

      I believe the Gospel can assist us with working through these social issues. In John 8:36, Jesus explains, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We all should want to be Free!

      Ginger, we press on. Thanks for sharing!

      Dr. Green

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