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How leadership moments are enacted within a strict hierarchy: The case of kitchen brigades in Haute Cuisine restaurants

Lortie, J., Cabantous, L. ORCID: 0000-0003-3533-1208 & Sardais, C. (2022). How leadership moments are enacted within a strict hierarchy: The case of kitchen brigades in Haute Cuisine restaurants. Organization Studies, 44(7), pp. 1081-1101. doi: 10.1177/01708406221134225


This paper employs a strong process approach to leadership – one that focuses on leadership moments in action – to explore how collaborative leadership emerges within a hierarchical context. Drawing on observation in three Haute Cuisine restaurant kitchen brigades – highly hierarchical teams that deal with intense time pressures – we document empirically in the ongoing flow of experience how leadership moments reorient collective action as a response to an unstable environment. Moreover, we show how collaborative leadership emerges from a hierarchical structure, counterintuitively, during the most critical period of the service. Our contribution is twofold. We offer a novel conceptualization of the emergence of plural leadership within a hierarchical context, one that highlights the capacity to reframe the way of working together during the most critical moments of an unfolding situation. In addition, our work contributes to the strong process approach to leadership through the methodology adopted: rather than exploring how turning points are discursively enacted, we focus on these as manifested in action and in the non-verbal aspects displayed at such moments.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: Ethnography, Strong process approach, Collaborative leadership, Flow of experience, Turning points, Leadership moments
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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