Book by Susan Komives and Associates
Review by Jeffrey L. McClellan
Assistant Professor of Management
Frostburg State University

This book provides an in-depth discussion of the social change model of leadership and how it applies to student leadership development through active engagement in collective efforts to effect change. The social change model of leadership was developed by an “ensemble” of leadership scholars dedicated to providing a model for leadership that was process and relationship based as opposed to position and authority centered. In so doing, they outlined seven core values that, through active experimentation and reflection, promote student leadership development and change. These practical values include community, common purpose, collaboration, controversy with civility, consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment. The book provides an overview of each with concrete examples based on valid research. Reflective activities are included throughout the text. 

As a text for academic advisors, this book could prove valuable to both inform the process of advising and to advise students regarding their own engagement efforts. The discussions regarding developing common purpose and collaboration are relevant for advisors interested in involving students more in the advising process. The section on controversy with civility possesses value for advisors who regularly experience conflict with students or who advise students experiencing conflict. The chapters on consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment, offer insights for helping students develop these components of success as well as for grounding the advisor’s influence efforts with students. Consequently, there is much that can be gained from this material if one is able and willing to look beyond the immediate context of the text as it relates to student involvement in extracurricular programming. The same is true for advising administrators and any advisors with or without a formal position who desire to effect change on their campuses. 

For those interested in further reading related to leadership and the practice of advising, consider:

• Lerstrom, A. C. (2008). Advising jay: A case study using a situational leadership approach. NACADA Journal, 28(2), 21-27.
• McClellan, J. L. (2007). The advisor as servant: The theoretical and philosophical relevance of servant-leadership to academic advising. NACADA Journal, 27(2), 41-49.

In addition, readers who are interested in models of student leadership development, might find the following sources of interest:

• Greenleaf, R. K., Beazley, H., Beggs, J., & Spears, L. C. (2003). The servant-leader within: A transformative path. New York: Paulist Press.
• Heifetz, R. A., Grashow, A., & Linsky, M. (2009). The practice of adaptive leadership: Tools and tactics for changing your organization and the world. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
• Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (1998). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
• Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (1995). The leadership challenge: How to keep getting extraordinary things done in organizations (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
• Roberts, D. C. (2007). Deeper learning in leadership: Helping college students find the potential within. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
• Shankman, M. L., & Allen, S. J. (2008). Emotionally intelligent leadership: A guide for college students (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Leadership for a better world: Understanding the social change model of leadership . (2009)  Book by Susan Komives, Wendy Wagner, and Associates. Review by Jeffrey L. McClellan. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 462 pp. Price $37.00. ISBN # 978-0-470-44949-3
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