To read this content please select one of the options below:

An outcomes evaluation of a leadership development initiative

Thomas Packard (School of Social Work, San Diego State University , San Diego, CA, USA)
Loring Jones (School of Social Work, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to report the impact of a leadership development initiative in eight organizations and to demonstrate the use of promising evaluation methods.


This study used multiple methods including surveys with quantitative and qualitative data from participants and their supervisors.


Program participants and their supervisors reported improved on-the-job performance of participants. There were statistically significant increases in participant self-efficacy over time.

Research limitations/implications

In this time series design, some changes may be due to factors besides the program. Limitations in self-report data, common in studies such as this, were partially mediated by the use of supervisor ratings. Future research could include more objective measures of performance.

Practical implications

Because this evaluation reported on-the-job performance improvements for participants in a leadership development program, other organizations can adapt the program model and expect similar performance improvements. This study also advances leadership development evaluation methods by addressing on-the-job performance to a much greater extent than in past studies.

Social implications

This study of a program training leaders in human service organizations can help similar organizations better train their leaders with expectations of improving the quality of life for clients such as families experiencing poverty, unemployment, and child abuse or neglect.


This evaluation makes a unique contribution in terms of measurement of on-the-job performance of program participants in a time series design which includes ratings of supervisors and self-ratings, benefiting organizations designing such programs and evaluations of them.



The research summarized here was sponsored as part of the leadership development program by the Southern Area Consortium of Human Services (SACHS), a county/university partnership of eight county human services agency directors in Southern California, and the Schools of Social Work at San Diego State University and California State University, San Bernardino. It is administered by staff of the Academy for Professional Excellence in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University. The authors express sincere appreciation to the directors of the eight SACHS member agencies, the participants in the Leaders in Action program, Academy Director Jennifer Tucker-Tatlow, and Leaders in Action Coordinator Patti Rahiser for their support and involvement.


Packard, T. and Jones, L. (2015), "An outcomes evaluation of a leadership development initiative", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 153-168.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles