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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Developing managers and leaders: perspectives, debates and practices in Ireland
Article Type: Suggested reading From: Development and Learning in Organizations, Volume 24, Issue 6
Thomas N. Garavan, , Carole Hogan and , Amanda Cahir-O’Donnell, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 2009
This text is intended for both students and practitioners with an interest in gaining greater understanding of approaches to, and influences on, management and leadership development. It provides theoretical and practical insights into the complexities and ambiguities of this field of study.
The book is divided into 18 chapters positioned within four key sections. The first part consists of three chapters focused on presenting fundamental theoretical concepts. Chapter one forwards different theories and perspectives of management, leader and leadership development concerned with understanding its scope and purposes. Chapter two explores different contexts and influences on leadership, leader and management development, with Chapter three introducing the reader to fundamental differences between leadership and management and recent research on leadership.
The second part focuses on organisational level concerns and considerations across four chapters. Chapter four examines the strategic positioning of leadership and management development and its alignment with organisational purpose, values, systems and other human resource strategies and processes. Chapter five discusses organisational structural, policy and stakeholder dimensions influencing the structure and management of leadership and management development. Chapter six presents an overview of the concept of competency-based development, exploring foundations, principles and concerns. The final chapter in this section examines development issues concerning different approaches to career and talent management.
Part three addresses management and leadership interventions and processes in four discrete chapters. Chapter eight analyses formal development interventions including skills, personal growth and performance based approaches, action learning and education. Chapter nine examines the importance of on-the-job development, with Chapter ten evaluating the range of development relationships, including coaching and mentoring and implications for formal management and leadership development. Chapter 11 examines the multidimensional nature and importance of informal approaches to development.
The final section of the book is the largest section, consisting of seven chapters, which explores aspects of management and leadership development for different contexts and stakeholder communities. Chapter 12 examines self-development and self-managed learning. Chapter 13 presents approaches to managing careers and their development implications. Chapter 14 explores the role of team and executive development approaches to enhance individual and organisational performance. Chapter 15 draws attention to development issues associated with female managers, entrepreneurs and small firms. There is also discussion around the concept of continuous professional development. Collective approaches to management and leadership development, including organisational learning is covered in Chapter 16. The development of international managers and leaders is the subject of Chapter 17, with attention given to expatriates and issues concerning global competencies. The final chapter presents societal views and compares approaches to management and leadership in different countries. The examples include Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Ireland and the UK, prior to debating the degree of divergent or convergent thinking in different approaches. The chapter concludes with an overview of worldviews of management and leadership development.
This is an extremely comprehensive, well presented coverage of management and leadership development. It provides the reader with excellent overviews of theories, concepts and current debates within this field. Each chapter commences with a scenario case study drawn from the organisational and individual examples from Ireland. Each theme and concept is clearly explained and supported by sound theoretical discussions. Different perspectives and current debates pertaining to each aspect of management and leadership development are clearly presented. In addition, practical examples and implications are examined.
Given the extensive coverage of the book, it is well structured and exposes the reader to the complex and ambiguous nature of this field of study. It may have been beneficial to have titled the four sections of the book rather than just numbering them to remind the reader on the particular focus for each section. It would also have been useful to have a concluding chapter, to draw together the various strands of the text.
The text is extremely thorough in its study of the contexts and complexities of approaches to, and influences on management and leadership. It provides sound practical and theoretical insights that will benefit both practitioners and students wishing to gain an understanding of this field of study. However there are two issues that may restrict the accessibility of this excellent book. The first is the cost, which may prove prohibitive. The second is the title, which implies that the text and its contents are drawn from Ireland. Although the scenario case studies are taken from organisations and individuals based in Ireland, the theory, academic studies and practical implications are drawn from a much wider community.
In the authors’ own words
Management, leader and leadership development are ambiguous and potentially contradictory concepts. They have different meanings for different stakeholders in an organisation … These differences suggest that the search for a universal paradigm or model of management, leader and leadership development is futile. It may be more useful to understand how these processes operate in diverse situations and what contribution these processes can make to individuals, organisations and societies (xii).
Reviewed by Sandra Watson, The Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK.
This review was originally published in Journal of European Industrial Training, Volume 34 Number 2, 2010.