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Observing the invisible Examining the role of observational learning in the development of leadership practice

Observing the invisible Examining the role of observational learning in the development of... Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the invisible role of observational learning in the development of leadership practice. A model of observational learning and leadership practice is suggested to help guide theorizing and design intervention. Design/methodology/approach – The approach takes the form of empirical qualitative research that utilizes a time‐line interview technique with 34 managers to enable in‐depth data to be revealed of observational leadership learning. Data analysis is through a phenomenological grounded theory approach. Findings – The paper illustrates that observational learning from “notable people” is a prominent influence of these managers' conceptions of leadership. Such observational learning differed between men and women and between employed and self‐employed contexts. Research limitations/implications – The variety, availability and diversity of people to observe and engage with are argued here to have significant implications for the development of leadership practice. Practical implications – The conclusions suggest that interventions into the leadership development of men and women, and between the employed and self‐employed need to be different and such interventions need to be responsive to established structural practices. Originality/value – The paper responds to a call for contextualized, in‐depth qualitative research into leadership development, making prominent the significance of observational learning to leadership practice and how such observational learning varies between men and women, and between the employed and the self‐employed. It also provides a model of observational learning and leadership practice to guide understanding of informal leadership development. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Management Development Emerald Publishing

Observing the invisible Examining the role of observational learning in the development of leadership practice

Journal of Management Development , Volume 28 (5): 18 – May 22, 2009

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0262-1711
DOI
10.1108/02621710910955976
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the invisible role of observational learning in the development of leadership practice. A model of observational learning and leadership practice is suggested to help guide theorizing and design intervention. Design/methodology/approach – The approach takes the form of empirical qualitative research that utilizes a time‐line interview technique with 34 managers to enable in‐depth data to be revealed of observational leadership learning. Data analysis is through a phenomenological grounded theory approach. Findings – The paper illustrates that observational learning from “notable people” is a prominent influence of these managers' conceptions of leadership. Such observational learning differed between men and women and between employed and self‐employed contexts. Research limitations/implications – The variety, availability and diversity of people to observe and engage with are argued here to have significant implications for the development of leadership practice. Practical implications – The conclusions suggest that interventions into the leadership development of men and women, and between the employed and self‐employed need to be different and such interventions need to be responsive to established structural practices. Originality/value – The paper responds to a call for contextualized, in‐depth qualitative research into leadership development, making prominent the significance of observational learning to leadership practice and how such observational learning varies between men and women, and between the employed and the self‐employed. It also provides a model of observational learning and leadership practice to guide understanding of informal leadership development.

Journal

Journal of Management DevelopmentEmerald Publishing

Published: May 22, 2009

Keywords: Learning; Leadership

References