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Contextual leadership development: a South African perspective

Colleen Magner (Gordon Institute of Business Science, Johannesburg, South Africa)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




This paper aims to highlight the importance and impact of leadership education which is contextually relevant. It is based on a case study of an innovative learning programme, Nexus, at a leading business school in South Africa (Gordon Institute of Business Science). South African institutional leaders are under increasing pressure to take on a significant role in guiding the organization in a manner that is in tune with the political mandate of social transformation.


Nexus has been operating as a leadership development programme for five years, and various evaluation methods have been employed to assess the success and impact of the programme. This paper therefore has a multi‐phased approach which will look at the different stages of the programme's development, what methods were used, and how participants' perspectives have changed over time.


The evaluations show that Nexus contributes to an individual's leadership development, in particular, by understanding the broader issues affecting their organisations and society, how to work in diverse environments, and how to build trust across networks.


This paper highlights alternative, mainly out‐of‐classroom, learning methods which have been assessed in a specific case study over a period of four years. This case study has informed leadership development recommendations, which in turn hopes to influence the scope of leadership education in business school institutions.



Magner, C. (2008), "Contextual leadership development: a South African perspective", European Business Review, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 128-141.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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