Examining the relationship between leader development readiness and the cognitive, emergence, and effectiveness outcomes of leader development

Andrea Steele

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The ability to identify emerging leaders and to accelerate their leader development is paramount for maintaining sound leadership within organisations across time. This longitudinal study sought to broaden current perspectives on the ability and motivationally based attributes that promote positive trajectories of leader development. This paper offers a framework for looking at readiness to develop as a leader as a proximal antecedent of the cognitive, emergence, and effectiveness outcomes of leader development. Leader developmental readiness specifically refers to one’s ability and motivation to engage in leader development experiences, accommodate new skill-based knowledge and feedback into one’s long-term memory, as well as the ability to employ this leadership-relevant information during the formation of self-concept beliefs (Hannah & Avolio, 2010). Meta-cognitive ability, self-concept clarity, learning goal orientation, developmental efficacy, and interest in leadership are all proposed as dimensions of leader developmental readiness (Avolio & Hannah, 2008). An individual with a high level of leader developmental readiness is proposed to be better prepared to engage in a greater breadth of learning experiences, and is better able to engage with, reflect upon, and learn from these experiences (Hannah & Lester, 2009). Extant research into leader developmental readiness remains in its infancy and is limited in elucidating how readiness predicts leader development across time. The role of self-attention as a moderator of the leader development process was also explored. The leader development of a sample of 1163 managers at an Indian IT company was tracked over three time periods, across a total of approximately 12 months of employment. Random coefficient modelling was employed to model participants’ developmental trajectories of leader identity, leader self-efficacy, leader emergence, and leader effectiveness, over time, as a function of their leader developmental readiness. Results showed the dimensions of leader developmental readiness as significant antecedents of initial levels of leader identity, leader self-efficacy, and leader emergence; however, results varied when predicting initial levels of leader effectiveness. Interest in leadership and meta-cognitive ability showed some utility in predicting leader development over time. Reflective self-attention and ruminative self-attention were shown to relate differentially to the leader development process. The results of this research have important implications for identifying the variables that may accurately assess whether an individual is developmentally ready to engage with the content of a leader development program at the appropriate level.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015

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