Leadership Development Programs Today: A Guide to Effective Strategy Execution or Fads du Jour?

Hester Nienaber, Richard McNeill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Leaders are answerable. Organizational performance is attained by successful strategy execution. Consequently, organizations heavily spend on leadership development to hone leaders' competence aimed at ensuring the organization's competitive success. However, the success of such programs is questioned because of, amongst others, (a) frequently reported strategy implementation failure, allegedly owing to the absence of a competitive advantage and (b) observations that leadership as a mandatory source of competitive advantage has declined, despite leadership development initiatives. Thus, the question arises whether organizations systematically use leadership development foundational metrics (e.g., direction-setting capacity, trust, etc.) for effective strategy implementation. As part of a larger study, this report accounts for organizational use of leadership development metrics in strategy implementation. We followed the guidance of reputable scholars in conducting the empirical study. Limited information on the topic dictated an exploratory approach to gain insights to lay the foundation for future descriptive and explanatory studies. The considerable amount of data required to answer the question necessitated an exploratory survey. We collected data from a purposely selected population with an online questionnaire, based on a literature review and pre-tested with Human Resource professionals, complying with ethical principles. The findings include: The study met norms for exploratory surveys and trustworthiness criteria. More than half of the diverse respondents (concerning demographic variables, strategies applied, and ensuing organizational performance) reported the use of leadership development metrics in strategy implementation. However, few respondents linked the metrics used to competitive advantage. The implications include that the leadership development interventions may not have been optimal in ensuring effective strategy implementation based on competitive advantage. It can be concluded that the leadership metrics the respondents' organizations have used may have been ineffective in ensuring competitive success. The value of this paper stems from its actionable insights based on proven theory and validated by an exploratory survey. However, the main limitation of the study is its cross-sectional nature. Hence, we recommend further descriptive and explanatory research to enable broader generalizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance, ECMLG 2023
EditorsMartin Rich
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Pages322-331
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781914587924
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event19th European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance, ECMLG 2023 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Nov 23 2023Nov 24 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance
Volume2023-November
ISSN (Print)2048-9021
ISSN (Electronic)2048-903X

Conference

Conference19th European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance, ECMLG 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period11/23/2311/24/23

Keywords

  • Competitive advantage
  • Leader competence
  • Leaders
  • Leadership development
  • Organizational performance
  • Strategy execution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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