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Research on Leadership Development in Contemporary American and British Organizations

Author: WenMaoWei
Tutor: ZhengJinZhou
School: East China Normal University
Course: Leadership education
Keywords: leadership theory of leadership leadership development organization American and British contemporary
CLC: C933
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 2177
Quote: 18
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Leadership development has become the next wave of enthusiasm succeeding to TQM and reorganization in western countries. Concepts of leadership influence the decisions on "what to develop" and "how to develop" in leadership development practice. Perspectives on leadership may differ significantly among cultures. Cross-culture researchers would encounter great cognitive barriers if they took their own tacit knowledge of leadership for granted. Therefore, shared opinions on leadership among researchers and practitioners in U.S. and U.K. are concluded in the first chapter of this paper after examining the development of American and British theories of leadership from the beginning of the 20th century to present and consulting a research report from CCL on practitioners’ views of leadership. And the 2nd chapter goes further to probe the shared understanding of leadership development among researchers and practitioners.There are two key dimensions when conceptualizing leadership. One dimension is the extent to which leadership is conceptualized as an individual behavior of influence or a collective process of influence; the other one is the extent to which leadership is prescriptive or emergent. Current popular knowledge of leadership among researchers and practitioners tend to focus more on collective and emergent features. To the complex open system of an organization, leadership is the process of mutual influence among all kinds of leaders, follower and environmental factors, is the process of influencing individuals and collectives to establish a proper goal (vision) with shared values of members and to achieve the goal. Leadership in organizations can be analyzed on respective levels of individual (leaders), dyad (leader-follower), group and organization.Organizational leadership is emergent and is a property of the whole system. It is the organization’s capacity to enact the basic leadership tasks needed for collective work. The formation and development of leadership is both the process and the result of cross-level and multi-direction interactions among entities embedded in specific organizational cultures and systems. Organizational leadership development is grounded in personal leadership development, which is never complete. Development occurred within an entity, on the interdependencies between entities and on environmental factors is essential to organizational leadership development because the multi-level development can respectively promote the enhancement of human capital, social capital and organizational capital in organizations. In this way, leadership development is closely related with organization development.After analyzing the shared thinking of leadership and leadership development, this paper describes the current situation of leadership development in contemporary American and British organizations in 7 aspects according to related literatures as many as possible in chapter 3. The basic principles and procedures of design and execution of leadership development programs are also summed up in this chapter since leadership development programs are popular measures to improve personal and organizational leadership capacities for many successful American and British organizations.Chapter 4 focuses on the "content" of leadership development. The basic constructions of its content are presented in the 1st part, which includes the development in the following 3 aspects: developing personal leadership capacities respectively on dimensions of cognition, emotion, spirit and behavior to enhance human capital, strengthening connections between entities to increase social capital and transforming organizational culture, structure or procedure to improve organizational capital. In the 2nd part of this chapter, the choice from basic constructions of contents for specific leadership development programs is discussed.Studying on the methods of leadership development is the theme of chapter 5. According to some authoritative empirical research on leadership development practice, the most popular and effective methods of leadership development are as follows: action learning, job assignment, 360-degree feedback, mentoring, coaching, etc. A thorough examination on these methods and other 3 ones (networking, personal growth and formal training) is made in this chapter.The trends which will have a major role in the future understanding and practice of leadership and leadership development are suggested in chapter 6, including that thinking about the nature of leadership and leadership development tends to be more and more collective-oriented and emergent-oriented, that globalization and technology advance will bring more challenges and opportunities, that developing the bench strength of leadership is a high priority, that the integrity and character of leaders will still matter, that there is increasing interest in methods which can promote development of both collective and personal leadership capacities, and that systematic evaluation to measure the impact of leadership development programs will be highly emphasized.In the last part of this thesis, the lessons from theories and practice of leadership and leadership development in U.S. and U.K. are discussed and suggestions for Chinese organizations are offered.

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