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Evaluating the impact of leadership development: a case study

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Purpose ‐ The relevance of business education is coming under increasing challenge from many quarters, who argue that business schools are not delivering research and programmes that are relevant to the needs of business and society. The purpose of this paper is to test these claims by evaluating the impact of a leadership development programme on middle managers within a city council organisation. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A qualitative methodology was employed within an evaluative research approach. Interviews were held with 32 line managers of the Leading Managers (delegates on the programme). A thematic analysis was undertaken using categories of "knowledge", "skills" and "attributes". Key stories were also collected as "vignettes" to illuminate where the line manager had considered the impact of the programme to have been particularly significant to their department or to the organisation as a whole. Findings ‐ The research was able to identify how the programme had benefited those managers who had taken part on the programme, and how the programme had positively impacted on the organisation as a whole. Research limitations/implications ‐ The paper counters the claims that business schools and business education have little impact at organisational level. The paper provides evidence to support the value and relevance of training and development within the workplace. Originality/value ‐ There is little hard evidence available highlighting the impact of management education on organisations. This paper provides such evidence.
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Keywords: Case studies; Leadership; Management development

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 2, 2007

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