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Transformative learning in joint leadership

Lena Wilhelmson (National Institute for Working Life, Stockholm, Sweden)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 1 October 2006




The aim of this paper is to show what the leaders themselves regard as the working ingredients in their mutual work situation that help to facilitate personal development.


In the paper data were collected through semi‐structured interviews with 14 leaders at low and middle management levels in different lines of business within the private and public sector. The analysis of the learning processes draws on the theory of transformative learning.


The paper revealed that joint leadership, according to the leaders, could provide the leaders themselves with a basis of personal development and learning. This depends on common core values, a supportive relationship and common work processes as well as complementarity, joint sense making and critical reflection.

Research limitations/implications

The implies that joint leadership provides possibilities of transformative learning through examination of different points of view, through explicitly talking about habits of mind, and through stepwise changes of existing frames of reference. The results indicate that joint leadership offers the possibility of a deepened learning process in daily work in a communicative relationship where profound values and ways of acting are openly shared and critically‐reflected upon. Joint leadership should however not be forced on to managers.


The paper provides insights into learning processes for leaders, based on the possibilities, which can be created through joint leadership.



Wilhelmson, L. (2006), "Transformative learning in joint leadership", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 18 No. 7/8, pp. 495-507.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited