Transforming communities through leadership development: a pan-African example
University of Exeter; University of the West of England
Meetings and Proceedings
Recent theories of leadership have shifted emphasis from the traits and behaviours of “leaders” to the social and contextual processes of “leadership”. Despite this, however, much leadership development remains firmly focussed on the individual leader rather than the social context of leadership. In this paper we will draw on our experiences of researching a pan-African leadership development initiative to explore the manner in which individuals can be encouraged to use their learning to facilitate social change within their communities. We identify a number of levels at which the programme seems to be having an impact (self, family, work, community and society) and argue that this programme differs from more traditional interventions by the manner in which it encourages participants to reconsider and debate their sense of identity, to engage in collaborative action with those around them, and to facilitate a process of social construction that helps redefine community values and purpose. We conclude by proposing a theoretical model of how initiatives such as this can act as a catalyst for social change by offering a means by which participants and members of their communities can engage in the processes of seeing, walking and talking together.
Conference paper, British Academy of Management Conference, Belfast, 12-14 September 2006