Rethinking Leadership Development: Contributions from Theory and Research

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Organizational Behaviors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 2879

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Psychology, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
Interests: human adaptation to stress; leadership and team performance; life skills; human performance training

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Education and Psychology, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, 4169-005 Porto, Portugal
Interests: leadership; performance; ethical and effective leadership; group dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Leadership and leadership development in numerous contexts (e.g., healthcare, organizations, and sport) have received a particularly large amount of interest from scholars and practitioners around the world. More recent approaches (e.g., ethical leadership, servant leadership, and empowering leadership) have continuously highlighted the critical role that leaders play in the success (or failure) of their organizations. ‘Good’ and effective leaders can enhance team members’ well-being, performance and commitment to the organization, while ‘bad’ leaders may increase members’ stress, dissatisfaction and turnover intentions. These impacts are even recognized in the field, with billions of dollars being spent annually on developing leadership across different organizational levels (cf. Training Industry, 2019).

In this Special Issue, we are seeking theoretical and empirical contributions regarding the development of leadership. This includes (but is not limited to) empirical research testing the effectiveness of intervention programs, systematic reviews involving leadership training, and theory-based guidelines for leadership interventions and leadership development. Other conceptual or qualitative research studies that explain how to develop positive and effective leadership are also within the scope of this Special Issue.

Dr. A. Rui Gomes
Dr. Catarina Morais
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • promoting leadership
  • leadership interventions
  • development of leadership
  • leadership training
  • leadership efficacy
  • performance

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Review

17 pages, 576 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Motherhood on Women’s Career Progression: A Scoping Review of Evidence-Based Interventions
by Ana Júlia Calegari Torres, Letícia Barbosa-Silva, Ligia Carolina Oliveira-Silva, Olívia Pillar Perez Miziara, Ully Carolina Rodrigues Guahy, Alexandra N. Fisher and Michelle K. Ryan
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14040275 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1832
Abstract
(1) Background: Despite the progress made by women in the workplace, mothers still face systemic barriers that prevent them from advancing professionally. This “motherhood penalty” involves a variety of discriminatory practices and experiences that mothers can face at work, including being held to [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Despite the progress made by women in the workplace, mothers still face systemic barriers that prevent them from advancing professionally. This “motherhood penalty” involves a variety of discriminatory practices and experiences that mothers can face at work, including being held to stricter standards regarding salary and recruitment. Despite ongoing research on the association between motherhood and career outcomes, few studies specifically explore how motherhood impacts career advancement and, consequently, access to leadership. This scoping review seeks to gain an understanding of how motherhood impacts women’s career progression, and how interventions can address the underrepresentation of mothers in leadership. (2) Methods: Following the PRISMA-ScR framework, we analyzed 52 articles from 2010 to 2022, drawn from 10 databases. (3) Results: The results showed both negative and positive impacts of motherhood on career progression, affecting mothers’ attitudes, feelings, and behaviors and yielding changes in interpersonal relationships and work conditions. Intersectionality is highlighted, urging a nuanced examination of challenges faced by mothers from a diversity of backgrounds. Recommendations for interventions include individual and institutional efforts, comprising societal support structures, organizational policy changes, and cultural shifts. (4) Conclusions: This scoping review offers an updated perspective on a classic challenge, providing practical insights for a more inclusive and structural understanding of the career trajectories of working mothers. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Rethinking Leadership Development: From Programs to Developmental Systems
Authors: Day, David
Affiliation: Claremont McKenna College
Abstract: We argue for rethinking leadership development based on systems design principles. A primary advantage of systems thinking is that it encourages holistic approaches to development and avoids program-based training and piecemeal thinking. The latter approaches are both limited and limiting yet tend to be the preferred approach to leadership development in organizations. Systems approaches to development offer numerous advantages both conceptually and pragmatically, especially through the incorporation of ongoing feedback cycles. Core practices that define a leadership development system are presented and implications are discussed.

Title: How to make an internal team coach: An integration of leadership training research
Authors: Gabriela Fernandez Castillo; Rylee Linhardt, Eduardo Salas
Affiliation: Rice University
Abstract: Team coaching has been found to increase group effort (Liu et al., 2009; Rousseau et al., 2013), improve interpersonal processes (Edmonson, 1999; Graen et al., 2020), and increase team knowledge and learning (Schaubroeck et al., 2016). However, the team coaching literature is renowned for its inability to define team coaching itself (Jones et al., 2019; Van Wyk et al., 2019) – crippling its ability to solidify its place in the world of team science. Furthermore, if team coaching is to be used by internal team leaders, they must undergo the necessary training in order to properly execute team coaching’s benefits. So far, there is no consensus on what specific training would serve internal leaders best, and how they would connect to the team coaching literature. We know leadership training is effective in improving organizational outcomes (Lacerenza et al., 2017), but the gap in the literature lies in identifying what specific competencies internal coaches need, and what training could fulfill these. In this piece, we seek to 1) identify what competencies team leaders need based on the outcomes we know team coaching yields, 2) identify specific leadership training that could fulfill these competencies, and 3) integrate the literature to form an evidence-based guide on what training to provide to internal team coaches. By doing so, we hope to provide a definitive understanding of what internal team coaches need to be successful.

Title: Motherhood and Career Progression: A Systematic Literature Review
Authors: Lígia Oliveira-Silva; Michelle Ryan
Affiliation: Australian National University
Abstract: In many Western cultures, being a woman is directly associated with being a mother and with domestic and caregiving roles, but in organisations the attributes and behaviors expected of a woman in a position of power are those considered "masculine", such as competitiveness and assertiveness. As leadership has been historically associated with masculine characteristics and behaviors, all known-to-be female characteristics are evaluated less positively than the corresponding ones in males, representing relevant obstacles for women aspiring to leadership in their careers. Motherhood, for instance, represents one of these exclusively "female" features, potentially affecting both the maintenance and the performance of leadership roles for women. The fact that the demands of children are primarily assigned to women can push them to reduce their working hours or be absent at certain times, in addition to the mental overload that can harm their productivity (Hryniewicz & Vianna, 2018). The contrast between the penalties suffered by women who choose motherhood - the "motherhood penalty" - and the bonuses that fatherhood brings for men - the "fatherhood bonus" (Morgenroth et al., 2020) makes the career progression for mothers more challenging so they consequently occupy fewer leadership positions. Thus, motherhood has a cumulative aversive effect on women's career progression. The association between motherhood and career has been consistently investigated over the years, resulting in a vast literature that points out the penalties suffered by mothers in their professional trajectories. However, few studies are dedicated to specifically analyzing how motherhood can affect career progression and access to leadership for women, as well as what interventions could foster mothers to assume and remain in more leadership roles. Summarizing and analyzing the main evidence on the topic can guide both scholars and practitioners on how to design interventions and public policies that focus on facilitating the reconciliation between motherhood and career progression. Therefore, this systematic literature review seeks to answer the following question: what is the impact of motherhood on the career progression of women and how interventions can influence mothers' leadership development? This review followed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) recommendations protocol for conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The chosen keywords and boolean operators were combined in the following search string: (“parental role” OR “mother” OR “mothers” OR “motherhood” OR “mom” OR “moms”) AND (“career pathways” OR “career trajectory” OR “career breaks” OR “career interruptions” OR “child penalties” OR “motherhood penalty” OR “motherhood bias” OR “career success” OR “career achievement” OR “career progression” OR “career advancement” OR “professional advancement” OR “job progression” OR “job advancement” OR “work advancement” OR “work progression” OR "maternal wall"). The string was used to search the following databases: Lilacs, Pepsic, Scielo, PsycInfo, EBSCO, Web of Science, Scopus, MEDLINE/Pubmed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL. The inclusion criteria used were: articles published in peer-reviewed journals; articles in English; articles with full-text available; articles published between 2010 and 2022; articles with quantitative, qualitative, or mixed research design; articles with a sample that includes women; and articles that address the impact of motherhood on career advancement. The search and selection of articles were performed by three independent judges. Initially, 895 articles were found in the ten databases and included in the Rayyan platform. After excluding duplicate articles, 413 articles were analyzed based on the reading of titles, abstracts, and keywords. Currently, the eligibility analysis phase is taking place, in which 91 articles are being fully read. Results will comprise aspects such as the most common antecedent and consequent variables; most common moderators and mediators; most used theoretical perspectives and research methods; which problems are being over/under addressed by the literature; how gender-sensitive is the literature on leadership; what interventions have been used to foster mothers' career progression. Discussion will consider issues such as why don't we have enough mothers in leadership, which social markers (e.g. ethnicity, sexuality, class) represent women leaders the most, what are the cultural differences in maternity arrangements, which are the grey areas and sticky points of parental leave, how is motherhood differentially experienced by women and which are the different levels of partner, organizational and societal supports mothers should have to aspire to leadership. Additionally, considering the reviewed literature, we will propose guidelines for best practices regarding organisational policy and interventions following Ryan (2022) and Oliveira-Silva & Barbosa-Silva (forthcoming) recommendations, which involve avoiding: overemphasis on numbers and metrics, excessive focus on training individuals rather than changing systems, over-optimism, lack of solid theoretical background and evidence-based practice, lack of multilevel approaches, absence of intersectional perspectives and not considering women's specific needs.

Title: Developing Servant Leadership through Experience and Practice: A Case Study in Service-Learning
Authors: Matt Robinson; Sean Dahlin; Mar Magnusen
Affiliation: 1. Schreiner University 2. Schreiner University 3. Baylor University
Abstract: Characterized by altruistic calling as the core motivation, servant leadership comprises enduring qualities of genuine caring, humility, and empathy, and in recent years, has become a style of leadership recommended to be addressed in sport management classrooms because of its’ associated positive outcomes and emphasis on ethical behavior and decision-making (Robinson et al., 2018). Within the realm of interscholastic sport, servant leadership of athletic directors has been viewed as an effective style by head coaches (Robinson et al., 2020). As the relevance and popularity of servant leadership continues to grow, it gives rise to matters of how this approach to leadership can be better studied and taught to current and aspirant sport professionals. Volunteer service opportunities, for example, is one way for undergraduate students to learn about servant leadership. Indeed, the Association of American Colleges and Universities recommends service-learning and community-based learning experiences because they can enhance student engagement and retention. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is three-fold. First, explore how service-learning projects can be used to teach servant leadership in undergraduate sport management classrooms. Next, provide a qualitative evaluation of undergraduate student reflections on service projects within a servant leadership framework (i.e., genuine caring, empathy, humility). Third, discuss the impact of service-learning projects on improving students’ understanding of servant leadership and overall leadership development. This case study included nineteen upper-level college students enrolled in a Sociology of Sport course at a liberal arts university in the Southwestern US. These students participated in serving as mentors for elementary students during a community center after-school program aimed at helping these students with homework and after-school recreation. Participants were presented with information on the importance of mentoring and structured guidelines for how to serve as an effective mentor. Students then volunteered at the community center for two hours a day, one day per week, over seven weeks, to 14 hours of service. Student volunteers were required to keep a daily log of their activities and a final reflection stemming from their service's impact on their personal growth and leadership development. These reflections were analyzed using thematic analysis within the servant leadership framework. Overall, students were unanimous in stating how the project positively impacted their growth and development and the perceived development of students they mentored. Detailed findings of the thematic analysis will be shared, along with ideas for future teaching projects and suggestions for future research.

Title: The effects of a reflective identity leadership intervention on perceived identity leadership, team identification, and psychological safety in cricket
Authors: Matthew Slater; Adam Hoult; Paul Mansell
Affiliation: Staffordshire University, United Kingdom
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a social identity framed reflective practice intervention in cricket. Building on previous work, an eight-week design included three experimental group coaches and their athletes (n = 32) and three control group coaches and their athletes (n = 34). Measurements of perceived identity leadership, psychological safety and team identification were used at week 0 and week 8 for both groups. Experimental group coaches completed three reflective tasks in weeks 1, 3 and 5, while the control group coaches continued their regular practices. Controlling for baseline scores, analysis indicated that the experimental group athletes reported significantly greater identity leadership behaviours, psychological safety, and team identification compared to the control group. Social validation data highlighted shared identity, relationships and learning as potential mechanisms for the positive results seen.

Title: Lifting Leaders and their Employees to Higher Levels of Well-being: Results from a Transformational Leadership Field Development Program
Authors: Margaret McKee; Cathy Driscoll; E. Kevin Kelloway
Affiliation: Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS Dalhousie University, Halifax NS
Abstract: Intervention studies have demonstrated that it is possible to enhance transformational leadership abilities; however, few longitudinal studies have explored the impact of such development programs on employee and leader well-being. In Study 1, we randomly assigned organizational leaders to either a treatment or a wait-list control group. We assessed the effects of a transformational leadership development program on the mental well-being of leaders and their direct-reports, using multilevel analyses of survey data collected from both leaders and their direct-reports prior to the start of the leadership development program, and three months post. Following the intervention, employees reported that trained leaders demonstrated enhanced transformational leadership and this, in turn, was associated with increases in the employees’ reported mental health. Separate analyses revealed leaders who were trained also reported increases over baseline in their own mental health. In Study 2, we conducted follow-up interviews with a select group of leaders whose employee survey results showed the most significant improvements in their transformational leadership ratings to explore the transfer of training. These interviews provided insights into the leaders’ training experiences and the impact on their mental well-being. Implications for practice and research from these results are discussed.

Title: Developing Servant Leadership through Experience and Practice: A Case Study in Service-Learning
Authors: Matt Robinson; Sean Dahlin; Mar Magnusen
Affiliation: Schreiner University Central Washington University Baylor University
Abstract: Characterized by altruistic calling as the core motivation, servant leadership comprises enduring qualities of genuine caring, humility, and empathy, and in recent years, has become a style of leadership recommended to be addressed in sport management classrooms because of its’ associated positive outcomes and emphasis on ethical behavior and decision-making (Robinson et al., 2018). Within the realm of interscholastic sport, servant leadership of athletic directors has been viewed as an effective style by head coaches (Robinson et al., 2020). As the relevance and popularity of servant leadership continues to grow, it gives rise to matters of how this approach to leadership can be better studied and taught to current and aspirant sport professionals. Volunteer service opportunities, for example, is one way for undergraduate students to learn about servant leadership. Indeed, the Association of American Colleges and Universities recommends service-learning and community-based learning experiences because they can enhance student engagement and retention. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is three-fold. First, explore how service-learning projects can be used to teach servant leadership in undergraduate sport management classrooms. Next, provide a qualitative evaluation of undergraduate student reflections on service projects within a servant leadership framework (i.e., genuine caring, empathy, humility). Third, discuss the impact of service-learning projects on improving students’ understanding of servant leadership and overall leadership development.

Title: It’s Leadership, but (maybe) not as you know it
Authors: Tania Cassidy; Gary Byrne
Affiliation: University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Abstract: For the most part, in the English-speaking world at least, leadership is still taught and researched from ‘an Anglo-Western-male capitalistic perspective’ (Williamson, in Chin et al., 2018, p. 323). If leadership practices are to be relevant and beneficial for our increasingly diverse communities then orthodox views of leadership need to be challenged, especially since the behaviours adopted by the leaders may not be the same across cultures (Chin & Trimble, 2015). Asking questions of the orthodox views of leadership may go some way to explain who, and what, is considered congruent with the concept of ‘leader’ and why women are underrepresented in elite sports coaching and in national and international sport governance positions. In tandem with important questions of equity and emancipation we contend that the aforementioned leadership orthodoxy, so-often characterised by ‘designed order thinking’ in response to knowable technical challenges (Fanning & O’Kane, 2023), is inadequate in the face of a growing hidden curriculum of ever-emerging demands and expectations, pushing us ‘in over our heads’ (Kegan, 1994). One way to challenge this leadership orthodoxy is to shift the discussion away from primarily focusing on the individual leader-member exchange towards a broader discussion that includes sociocultural, pedagogical, and indigenous orientations towards leadership; that focus more on collectivist meaning-making rather than towards competitive unidirectional leader-centrism. In the literature, and in practice, there are examples that suggest we are on the brink of a paradigm shift in how we understand and practice leadership in sports coaching and in sports organisations. In this paper we contribute to this paradigmatic shift by introducing sociocultural, pedagogical, and indigenous orientations to leadership. We use examples from the sports coaching context to illustrate leaders whose work is informed by these orientations.

Title: Growing Greener: Cultivating Organisational Sustainability Through Leadership Development
Authors: Sarah Lily Resanovich
Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Kent
Abstract: Human-created climate change is the driver of natural disasters globally, affecting every nation (IPCC, 2021). Organisations significantly contribute to climate change through the use of resources and carbon emissions. Organisations can begin to address this by implementing policies that support pro-environmental behaviour (PEB) among employees. PEBs at work vary from reducing electricity usage to choosing sustainable suppliers and fostering collaborative sustainability efforts. Many social-psychological factors impact an employee’s likelihood of performing PEB. Among social-psychological factors influencing employee PEB, leadership stands out as unique as it is a factor that can simultaneously control or influence other factors. Leadership in the workplace is critical and makes performing PEB at work and at home different, emphasising the need for continued exploration of factors that promote PEB specifically in workplace settings. This review provides an overview of how leadership uniquely affects employee PEB. After identifying leadership as a unique factor in encouraging PEB, this review provides an account of leadership development strategies to increase leaders’ ability to increase PEB, drawing from social psychology research. Then, it offers suggestions for how leadership development can better prepare leaders to increase their employees’ PEB and create organisations that work better for the planet.

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