Purpose – The paper examines why leadership development needs to pay more attention to business acumen. Design/methodology/approach – The article reveals why traditional leadership‐development approaches, which rely on personality and competency assessments as the scientific core of their approach, are failing. It also highlights how powerful global economic trends such as the economic slowdown, shortages of key commodities, emerging countries that have little or no familiarity with traditional leadership approaches, and environmental cost‐benefit issues are also converging to increase the importance of business acumen in leadership‐development approaches. Findings – The author contends that research in the area of business acumen will have an increasing impact on the leadership‐development and HR agendas. Practical implications – The paper demonstrates that leadership‐development, organizational‐development and HR specialists will need rapidly to absorb these new findings and to incorporate them into their leadership development and their executive‐selection and recruitment programs. Originality/value – The article provides a convincing case for business acumen to play a more significant role in leadership development.
Human Resource Management International Digest – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 29, 2008
Keywords: Leadership development; Management development; Business excellence; Skills training
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