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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Lee Waller, Megan Reitz, Eve Poole, Patricia M. Riddell and Angela Muir

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether challenging experiences on development programmes would simulate leadership challenges and therefore stimulate the body’s…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether challenging experiences on development programmes would simulate leadership challenges and therefore stimulate the body’s autonomic nervous system response. The authors also aimed to determine whether increase in autonomic arousal would be related to learning, and/or moderated by personality variables.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used heart rate (HR) monitors to measure HR continuously over a two-day simulated learning experience. This was used to calculate autonomic arousal which was taken to be the difference between resting HR measured during sleep and HR during critical incidents (CIs) (HR). The authors correlated this with self-reports of learning immediately after, and one month after, the programme to assess the impact of autonomic arousal on perceived learning, as well as with variety of psychometric measures.

Findings

The research found significant correlations between (HR) during CIs and perceived learning which were not related to personality type. The research also found a significant correlation between (HR) and learning during a control event for individuals with “approach” personalities.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst a significant result was found, the sample size of 28 was small. The research also did not empirically assess the valence or intensity of the emotions experienced, and used only a self-report measure of learning. Future research should replicate the findings with a larger sample size, attempt to measure these emotional dimensions, as well as obtain perceptions of learning from direct reports and line managers.

Practical implications

The findings from the research help clarify the mechanisms involved in the effectiveness of experiential learning, and contribute to the understanding of the influence of personality type on perceived learning from experiential methodologies. Such understanding has implications for business schools and learning and development professionals, suggesting that development experiences that challenge leaders are likely to result in learning that is longer lasting.

Originality/value

The research extends the literature regarding the value of learning through experience, the role of autonomic arousal on learning, and the impact of negative emotions on cognition. The research makes a unique contribution by exploring the impact of experience on arousal and learning in a simulated learning experience and over time, by demonstrating that simulated experiences induce emotional and physiological responses, and that these experiences are associated with increased learning.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Patricia M. Riddell

In the last 10 to 15 years, research studies have focused on the effects of differences across generations that result in differences in cultural expectations within the…

Abstract

Purpose

In the last 10 to 15 years, research studies have focused on the effects of differences across generations that result in differences in cultural expectations within the workplace (e.g. Arsenault, 2004). Different generations create shared attitudes to work and preferences for types of work which result in differences in their perception of, for instance, what makes a good leader or even the value of leadership within an organisation. While these generational differences are real, these analyses do not take into account differences that might result from the age, and therefore developmental stage, of the populations being assessed. The neuroscience literature clearly shows that there are maturational differences in the brain which are not complete until late teens to early 20s. It is therefore possible that some of the generational differences result from differences in processing ability resulting from structural immaturities in the brain. In particular, there are differences in the rate of maturation of areas of the brain related to reward sensitivity, threat sensitivity and regulation of behaviour which result in substantial differences in behaviour from adolescence through into adulthood. The purpose of this paper is to consider the effect of maturational changes in the brain on behaviours related to leadership and to outline ways in which these changes can be addressed in order to encourage young people to develop as leaders. This will include providing suitable experiences of leadership to encourage the faster development of the neural structures which underlie these capabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

Recent advances in neural imaging have resulted in a substantial increase in research investigating the development of the brain during adolescence. A literature review was conducted to find adolescent research that investigated decision making and risk taking. The data obtained were integrated and implications for leadership were drawn from an analysis of the resulting theoretical framework.

Findings

The research into decision-making processes in adolescents and younger adults points to a number of ways in which these differ from mature decision making. Younger people: (find it harder to inhibit behaviours) are more responsive to immediate reward; are more optimistic about the outcome of risky decisions; and are more responsive to social rewards (Jones et al., 2014). They also lack the experiences that adults use to distil the gist of a situation and therefore are more dependent on conscious, cost-benefit analysis of the outcome of decisions.

Practical implications

An understanding of the differences between adult and adolescent decision making points to the role of experience as a key factor in mature decision making. If adolescents are to make mature decisions, they have to be offered suitable challenges in safe environments from which they can gain expertise in leadership decision making. These can be designed to account for differences in sensitivity to reward and punishment in this group. In addition, young adults would benefit from learning the gist interpretations that have been extracted from situations by experienced leaders. This suggests that adolescents and adults would benefit from simulated leadership experiences and leadership mentoring.

Social implications

The Baby Boomer generation who currently hold many of the leadership positions in organisations are coming close to requirement. They will have to be replaced by members of Generation X and the Millennial Generation resulting in potentially younger leaders. In addition, flatter organisational structures that are currently being implemented in many organisations will require leadership at many more levels. Thus, we need to be able to develop leadership skills in a more diverse and younger section of society. Understanding how the brain develops can help us to design appropriate leadership experiences and training for this upcoming generation of young leaders.

Originality/value

Recent advances in neuroscience of adolescence provide a unique opportunity to bring new evidence to bear on our understanding of decision making in young adults. This provides practical implications for how to develop leadership within this group and to support them as they gain experience in this domain. The evidence also points to a benefit for the increased risk taking seen in adolescence since this leads to greater motivation to try new, and potentially risky, ventures. Through a better understanding of the differences in decision making, we can both help adolescents to develop more mature decision making faster while benefitting from the optimism of youth.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 13 April 2021

Patricia Jean McLaughlin

Abstract

Details

Expatriate Leaders of International Development Projects
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-631-0

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Lee Waller, Carla Millar and Vicki Culpin

Abstract

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Abstract

Details

Expatriate Leaders of International Development Projects
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-631-0

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1991

Scott G. Burgh

In prior articles in both volume 8 (number 4) and volume 10 (numbers 3/4) of Collection Building, bibliographies of U.S. government publications on AIDS were covered. The…

Abstract

In prior articles in both volume 8 (number 4) and volume 10 (numbers 3/4) of Collection Building, bibliographies of U.S. government publications on AIDS were covered. The first bibliography covered both executive branch and legislative branch materials from 1981 to September 1986. The second bibliography covered only legis‐lative materials from 1986 to 1989. This article complements the second bibliography in its coverage of executive branch materials from 1986 to 1989 and also updates the first work. While 1986 to 1989 is the framework, some items inadvertently omitted from the earlier work are included here.

Details

Collection Building, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0160-4953

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1999

Nicole La Bletta and Walter Block

For all too long the government of the United States has been dreaming a very long and costly dream. In this dream, the government is the ultimate hero, battling poverty…

Abstract

For all too long the government of the United States has been dreaming a very long and costly dream. In this dream, the government is the ultimate hero, battling poverty. But like all other dreams, this one is not what it seems. The ideals of the welfare state are, in fact, a nightmare of economic and social decline. It is time to restore the values upon which this country was founded. It is time to abolish the welfare state.

Details

Humanomics, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0828-8666

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Book part
Publication date: 11 May 2007

Abstract

Details

Education for All
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1441-6

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Abstract

Details

Leadership and Power in International Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-116-0

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Book part
Publication date: 15 May 2018

Crystal Abidin

Abstract

Details

Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-079-6

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