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Critical reflection in leadership development

Yingting Wu (Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
Oliver Crocco (Department of Leadership and Human Resource Development, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 28 October 2019

Issue publication date: 7 November 2019




This paper explores the role of critical reflection in the context of leadership development and how it is measured. The purpose of this paper is to review theoretical and empirical research that captures the application of critical reflection in leadership development.


This study is an integrative literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles on critical reflection in leadership development. The search revealed 172 peer-reviewed journal articles based on the search terms. The authors conducted a staged review of the abstracts and identified a final sample of 27 empirical articles and 12 non-empirical articles for review.


The findings of this review show that critical reflection is an essential tool for leadership development and has been utilized in a variety of ways and through multiple theoretical perspectives. Despite being relied on heavily in leadership development, the measurement for critical reflection is not well established in the literature.


The researchers propose a conceptual model that integrates the phases and levels of critical reflection as well as the desired outcomes in leadership development. Implications for leadership development are also discussed.



Wu, Y. and Crocco, O. (2019), "Critical reflection in leadership development", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 51 No. 7/8, pp. 409-420.



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