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Leading into strategic growth: building capability at Global Suppliers

Dara Hysmith (School of Leadership Studies, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The Global Suppliers leadership capability model (GSLCM) answers essential questions emerging from a strategy development framework in which leaders uncover their assumptions, test those assumptions in the marketplace, and learn from failure and success in an iterative cycle. The purpose of this paper is to explore Global Suppliers’s approach to implementing the GSLCM and examine how its leaders have adopted and applied the model.


The primary method of data collection in this single, descriptive case research design was interviews with leaders across Global Suppliers.


Results revealed adoption occurred through extensive sensemaking and several methods of knowledge transfer, including storytelling and teaching assignments. Manner of application varied under three themes: development of the self and others, performance management, and creating new paths. Three recommendations to promote further adoption and application emerged: align rewards and recognition, share stories across the enterprise, and embed processes and systems.

Research limitations/implications

This study was broadly intended to discern the processes and activities occurring as leaders became exposed to, explored, and integrated the GSLCM, data that was of immediate, practical significance to Global Suppliers in fueling its strategic reorientation. With this focus, treatment of the literature and extant theory was abbreviated. Further, as a single case study research design, generalizability was restricted.


Results provide a compelling, intimate portrait of a worldwide organizational effort to synergize leadership and strategic growth capabilities using a chiefly emergent approach. This illustration thus makes a unique contribution to the leadership development, organization development, and change management literature streams.



Global Suppliers funded the author’s travel to conduct on-site interviews at their headquarters location. No other funding was used or provided.


Hysmith, D. (2017), "Leading into strategic growth: building capability at Global Suppliers", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 515-524.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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