Ottewill, Roger and Laughton, David
Developing Corporate Leadership Skills in a Cross-Cultural Setting: The Contribution of Action Research
Educational Action Research, 11, (3), .
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The development of corporate leadership skills is seen as a crucial ingredient of management education programmes in higher education. Moreover, with the increasing globalisation of business activity, the education of those who will ultimately occupy positions of authority within organisations must take into account cross-cultural differences in the interpretation and conceptualisation of leadership. A key task for educators in this respect is to design and deliver programmes that facilitate an understanding and enhanced competence in the exercise of relevant skills that are sensitive to the complexity of the notion of leadership in a cross-cultural environment. The manner in which such objectives have been pursued on the full-time MSc in International Business and Management course, jointly run by Sheffield Business School, United Kingdom, and the International Business School at Groningen in the Netherlands, is the theme of this article. Working within an action research paradigm, the tutor responsible for the International Management Competencies module has sought, through three cycles, to plan and hone an approach designed to help students develop a cross-cultural perspective on corporate leadership. The nature of the challenge is analysed – specifically the generic nature of the treatment of leadership skills in much of the literature and the difficulties students face in relating what they learn to their own experiences. The three cycles are described. Consideration is also given to the lessons learnt both in terms of the treatment of leadership as a concept and as an international management competence and of further potential refinements in the learning and teaching process.
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