Leadership, development and learning mechanisms

Yoram Mitki (Department of Business Administration, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Heffer, Israel)
A.B. (Rami) Shani (Orfalea College of Business (OCOB), California Polytechnic State University,San Luis Obispo, California, USA)
Torbjörn Stjernberg (School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 8 February 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance a framework for the exploration of system transformation that includes leadership roles, contextual mess and triggering events, designing and managing sustainable learning mechanisms, managing a variety of balancing acts, creating shared understanding and, transforming shared understanding into action.

Design/methodology/approach

A five‐phased longitudinal research of one organization – Kibbutz Shefayim– during 12 years: semi‐structured interviews (60‐120 minutes each) with Kibbutz members representing a wide range of views and experiences in 1993; collecting and reviewing of Kibbutz internal “raw” documents that related to changes that occurred during the past 12 years, and; follow‐up semi structured interviews in 1998, 2001 and 2005. The interviewed members were asked to describe the nature of the changes that had taken place since the previous interview, including reasons, mechanisms, results and impacts.

Findings

The findings suggest that leading system change requires managerial orientation that is centered on balancing acts embedded in on going dialogue and the design of learning mechanisms. The paper advances a specific set of balancing acts and discusses their implications for leading system wide transformation.

Research limitations/limitations

This research was conducted within one organization. Further longitudinal replications in other Kibbutz‐based systems are under way.

Practical implications

The proposed view of leadership as a balancing act seems to capture the experience of many managers in the twenty‐first century. The findings suggest that some of the critical success factors for system‐wide transformation centers on the leaders' ability to sustain the following activities: continuous effort at bringing the outside forces into alignment with the internal forces; utilizing triggering events as levers for continuous change, and the purposeful design and management of learning mechanisms.

Originality/value

Adds to the literature on the exploration of system transformation and includes leadership roles, contextual mess and triggering events, designing and managing sustainable learning mechanisms, managing a variety of balancing acts, creating shared understanding and, transforming shared understanding into action.

Keywords

Citation

Mitki, Y., Shani, A. and Stjernberg, T. (2008), "Leadership, development and learning mechanisms", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 68-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730810845306

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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