The lived experience as leadership development
This paper explores the lived experience of leadership development within an individual organisation as seen from the perspective of four directors of a major organization. There is a dearth of research exploring the lived experience of leadership at the level of the individual, particularly focused at informal naturalistic development (Burgoyne & Hodgson, 1985). Further there has been a call for qualitative research into leadership development (Day, 2000; Lowe & Gardener, 2001) and it is towards such a methodology that this research seeks to contribute. Qualitative research in the form of in-depth purposive interviews have been undertaken with four directors of an Multi-national Public Limited Company who were asked to explore how they have learnt how to lead. Grounded theory (Parry, 1998) has been utilized to identify key themes drawn from transcribed interviews.
The preliminary findings elude to previous research in the extant literature where leadership development is significantly influenced by notable people and problematic experiences (McCall 1998; Lombardo et al 1988) and is an evolving phenomenon being continually shaped by enactive learning (Bandura, 1986) most predominantly the influence of people as role models – good and bad. However, themes have emerged that are distinct to the case organisation and reflect particular socialisation processes (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Sjostrand et al, 2001) that shape managers perceptions of effective leadership within this organisation. The similarity of leadership schema (Lord & Emrich, 2001) drawn from idiosyncratic experiences, suggest that understanding of leadership may be significantly shaped within an organization and such leadership learning may be both stimulated and constrained by situated learning (Lave & Wegner, 1991) and the interplay between structures and agency (Archer, 1995; 2000).
© Copyright Stephen Kempster & Ken Parry, 2004
Stephen Kempster and Ken W. Parry. "The lived experience as leadership development" Paper presented at the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) 18th annual conference. Dunedin, New Zealand. Dec. 2004.