Social Constructivism in Leadership Innovation

The constraints to knowledge acquisition are many. The study of social constructivist theory supports the realization that knowledge is both a social construct and determined by social processes.

Social Constructivism in Leadership Innovation

William Lynch (2016) offers an insight into the structure of knowledge through the study of education and social constructivism:

“Social constructivism teaches that all knowledge develops as a result of social interaction and language use [limited vs. unlimited], and is a shared, and not an individual, experience.”

Knowledge is additionally not a result of observing the world, it results from many social processes and interactions. We therefore find that constructivist learning attaches as much meaning to the process of learning as it does to the acquisition of new knowledge. In other words, the journey is just as important as [and determines] the destination.”

Insights supported through the deconstruction of the following statements includes:

  • The path to knowledge is limitedLeadership Structures in leadership innovation
  • The path to knowledge is determined by previous structures
  • The structure of knowledge is iterative and often avoids leaps without previous footing
  • The earlier footing to now validated beliefs and assumptions influences the path(s) available to future knowledge seekers
  • The journey to knowledge acquisition determines the destinations available

The definition of truth is thus determined by the available processes, norms, and structures that precede it. Truth, as an iterative processes, requires the ability to seek conflicting and often discontinuous truths that reject previous norms, assumptions, and structures. This is a challenge that is unavailable to most business cultures that are limited by existing homeostatic vectors. These vectors impact the business’ ability to manage:

The following questions are raised in the pursuit of new knowledge:

  • If knowledge is a function of social constructivism how are new insights realized, and old knowledge rejected?
  • How is radical innovations achieved and outdated, or inaccurate theories of knowledge, replaced?
  • How are new insights acquired within existing constraints that are often self reinforcing and prone to homeostatic vectors?
  • These are the questions that need to be answered if business are to be able to throw off the mantle of outdated knowledge structures and reach for the next wave(s) of innovation.

How is your team creating new knowledge and tossing off the constraints of previous structures? Share your comments below.

Travis Barker, MPA GCPM

Innovate Vancouver

[email protected]

Innovate Vancouver is a business development & consulting service and technology startup located in Vancouver, BC. Contact Innovate Vancouver to help with your new project. Innovate Vancouver also gives back to the community through business consulting services. Contact us for more details.


Resource: Lynch, M. (2016, November 19). Social Constructivism in Education. Retrieved October 16, 2017, from