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Greenlands Masterclass - Wicked Problems: The Irony of Uncertainty NEW

7 November 2023
Event information
Date 7 November 2023
Time 9:30-16:30 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Price Exclusive to members of The Henley Partnership *Up to 2 Places*
Venue Henley Business School, Greenlands Campus
Event types:
Greenlands masterclass

How do I book?

This event is exclusive to members of The Henley Partnership.

To book please contact your HR or Learning and Development team at your organisation.

Unsure who to contact? Please do not hesitate to contact us at


There are problems that are quick and easy to address; problems where it is obvious which timely processes need applying. However, there are also problems that are novel, recalcitrant and that cause contradiction and fall out. There is an overarching belief that our leaders should have all the answers to these problems. The influence of leadership is overemphasised in line with the success or failure of the organisation. Two factors – social addiction and the ‘romance’ of leadership – account for this overemphasis.

This session addresses the ‘social addiction’ aspect by exploring the typology of ‘tame’, ‘wicked’ and ‘critical’ problems. We will explore how these different problems are the responsibility of management, leadership and command, while considering a very real wicked problem: the culture of blame. We’ll look at why we need to get beyond this and move towards a just culture; not one of blamelessness, but of fairness and openness – a culture conducive of learning and improvement.

Other key areas we will explore include:

  • cultural theory and the limits of ‘elegant’ solutions that sit between and across all cultural approaches
  • the irony of how we often perceive leadership to mean authority and decisiveness
  • what techniques can help address wicked problems by initiating ‘clumsy solutions’
  • leadership as a philosophy rooted in collaboration, collective intelligence, with a focus on new beginnings in building effective relationships

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session, you will have:

  • explored and understood the typology of ‘tame’, ‘wicked’ and ‘critical’ problems
  • addressed the very real ‘wicked’ problem of blame in organisations
  • recognised the importance of building collaborative relationships
  • reconsidered leadership, moving beyond leadership as a position or individual to a process of collaboration and collective intelligence

Keith Grint

Keith Grint photo

Keith Grint is Professor Emeritus at Warwick University, where he was Professor of Public Leadership until 2018.

He spent ten years working in various positions across a number of industry sectors before switching to an academic career. Since becoming an academic, Keith has held chairs at Cranfield University and Lancaster University, and he was Director of the Lancaster Leadership Centre. He spent 12 years at the University of Oxford and was Director of Research at Saïd Business School.

Keith has published several seminal books on leadership and management. He is currently writing a book on mutiny.

Clare Holt

Clare Holt photo

Clare Holt is a doctoral researcher at Warwick Business School for the Warwick Commission on Directly Elected Mayors and City Leadership in English Local Government. As the primary researcher for the commission, Clare has interviewed elected mayors as well as senior civil servants and councillors from across England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She has also undertaken some observation work within a city mayor’s office.

Clare has degrees from Bournemouth and Aston universities and has worked extensively in customer/client service roles within the hotel, automotive and finance industries, before working in air traffic services with National Air Traffic Services for 7 years. As well as air traffic control, Clare managed and completed several projects including unit investigation procedures, hazard analysis and open reporting.

Before commencing her doctoral studies at Warwick, Clare worked as a research assistant looking at total place and big society in local government, as well as organisational change within Dorset Police. She was extensively involved in the construction of the continuous professional development programme for the National Police Improvement Agency’s High Potential Development Scheme, and she was the principal evaluation researcher for the scheme.

*Up to 2 places per member organisation. 'Up to' indicates the maximum number per member organisation, it is not an allocation of places. All places are subject to availability at the time of booking.

* If due to COVID-19 restrictions we are unable to deliver face-to-face, events will be hosted online or rescheduled.

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