This paper seeks to conceptualise and assess the outcomes of management and leadership development (MLD) at individual, business and organisational levels.
Using the case study approach, the paper investigates the content and outcomes of three concurrent but different MLD interventions for middle‐managers in an “excellent”‐rated local authority adult social services department.
The paper demonstrates: how a traditional management development programme led to more effective compliance with prescribed objectives, yet made little contribution to strategic change; how an individualised leadership programme had individual benefits but negligible impact on the business; and how a collective and emergent approach to leadership development made a significant but unintended contribution to strategic change.
The paper highlights the need for further contextualised research at the organisational level into the outcomes of MLD.
The paper demonstrates the limitations of “off‐the‐shelf” MLD interventions and the importance of designing and implementing development programmes with sufficient regard to professional and organisational context.
The paper provides an in‐depth and contextualised insight into the conditions for success and failure in management development interventions.
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