Publications (2)0 Total impact
Article: “But we can't go back”[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In 2004, a provincial cancer agency in Canada developed and implemented a provincewide Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) to enhance organizational leadership and relationships. Research using a quasi-experimental survey design determined whether LDI implementation influenced the emotional health and leadership practices of LDI participants. An ethnographic approach (18 focus groups and 13 individual interviews) explored participants' perceptions of the LDI. This article presents qualitative findings that contribute to understanding the statistically significant findings of increasing levels of cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and burnout for most LDI participants. The LDI was regarded as a critical strategy for helping leaders grow and cope with change and help in changing organizational leadership culture to be more collaborative and inclusive. However, an organizational history of short-lived, flavor-of-the-month development initiatives and growing skepticism and disengagement by leaders represented in the themes of Catch-22 and “there is no going back” contributes to understanding why these quantitative measures increased. Few studies have explored the hypothesis that real organizational development happens through a series of planned stages. In this study, leaders experienced escalating frustration because change was not seen to occur fast enough in “others” and reported that this was necessary before they would alter their own behavior. Leadership development programs in general need to reflect the reality that it takes considerable time, patience, and effort to effect fundamental change in leadership culture.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the formation of the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) and to demonstrate how the program was collaboratively tailored to meet the organizational and developmental needs of leaders in the organization, using a learning cohort approach for implementation. Design/methodology/approach – This paper describes how the LDI was designed, implemented, and assessed through its various stages of formation. Beginning with theory, a learning cohort approach was envisioned to not only bridge organizational departments by bringing leaders from all divisions to learn together, but would also be more sustainable in the long term. A participatory action research study was used to enhance program development and to ultimately explore the effectiveness of the LDI. Findings – The LDI was critical to developing leadership and management competencies/skills, organizational networking, relationship building, and fostering a philosophy of leadership as collaborative visionary practice toward a common goal. Research limitations/implications – The conceptual framework of the LDI using a learning cohort approach may provide an approach for further development of leadership programs in other healthcare organizations. Practical implications – The LDI demonstrated how internally developed leadership programs can be an effective approach, with evaluation and application of research findings to continually improve and enhance the program, when resources are limited but the desire to learn is not. Originality/value – The LDI program is a peer based, cohort approach established through a conceptual framework based on advanced leadership theories and practices.