Purpose – The paper seeks to examine problem‐based learning (PBL) as an emerging learning paradigm and proposes that it is a viable approach in leadership development. It aims to identify several key factors, strategies and possible outcomes associated with this new approach to training. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a review of the literature on PBL, organizational learning and leadership training as well as practical experience, the paper discusses the salient features of PBL and their impact on leadership development through multiple levels of simultaneous learning. Findings – Three important factors have been identified as contributing to the meaningfulness of leaders' learning process: problem definition, open communication and utilization of resources. Expert guidance after the formal PBL training phase provides the sensemaking pathway in shaping the learning‐oriented behavior of leaders. Practical implications – A matrix eliciting a guided approach to PBL in leadership development is presented to make explicit the subtle complexity of the learning process. Through both a structured training to an unstructured operational phase, PBL has led leaders to the discovery of new roles, attitudes and knowledge required to meet current changing times. Originality/value – The structured yet diverse learning framework of PBL provides a unique dimension to human resource development. When applied to a dynamic organizational context, PBL provides an integrative mix of learning opportunities and harmonizes potential learning disturbances to develop the real leader. This is an area that has not been extensively researched.
Industrial and Commercial Training – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 20, 2010
Keywords: Problem based learning; Learning organizations; Leadership development
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