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Title – Leading complex projects through a systems mindset

Outline: Leadership is critical to the effective delivery of complex projects that seek to address our societal grand challenges such as the climate change, social and economic recovery from the pandemic, and the physical and financial resilience of the natural and built environment, but is often treated in narrow behavioural terms. This session considers the leadership dilemmas that are likely to be encountered in tackling such societal grand challenges through projects, and the systemic leadership responses that are required to navigate them. 

Short bio: Dr Dicle Kortantamer is a Lecturer of Project Management at the University of Leeds. Prior to academia, she spent over 15 years in the industry, leading complex information technology enabled strategic change projects and programmes, and providing consultancy services. Dicle’s interdisciplinary research focuses on projects as temporary organisations, and seeks to link this to questions about leadership, strategy and value creation. Her PhD research brought together studies of projects and leadership to outline the complexities inherent in projects that make leadership particularly difficult, and offered an alternative model of project leadership. During her PhD, she became a Research Fellow on the ESRC funded Project X initiative, a collaboration between government, academia and industry that aims to generate unique insights into the performance of major projects and programmes. In this role she researched the leadership challenges encountered in sustainability transitions projects that face radical uncertainty.