Although vision is known to be a critical component of outstanding leadership, little is known about how people create viable visions. Drawing from a model of vision formation proposed by Mumford and Strange (Mumford, M. D., & Strange, J. M. (2002). Vision and mental models: The case of charismatic and ideological leadership. In B. J. Avolio & F. J. Yammarino (Eds.), Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road ahead (pp. 109–142). Oxford, England: Elsevier), 212 undergraduates were asked to form a vision for an experimental secondary school where they would be the new principal. In addition to a plan for implementation of their vision, participants were asked to write a speech describing their vision for the school that was to be given to relevant constituencies. The conditions of performance were varied to manipulate the quality of the models available, reflection on past experience in secondary schools, and analysis of key goals and key causes. It was found that the availability of viable models and an analysis of key causes, and key goals, coupled with reflection, led to the generation of evocative visions and somewhat better plans. The implications of these findings for understanding vision formation and leader development are discussed.
The Leadership Quarterly – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2005
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