An analysis of the working of the leadership programs in the context of development
This paper reviews the development programs and their efficiency as a tool for development. The argument that professionals need to be more critical when choosing the program for the design, most programs are short of this statement and have little contribution towards development.in this understanding, the leadership political nature is key in the selection of a good programme.
The main body consists of a number of reviewed leadership development programs that aims at building and enhancement of leadership capacity in the developing world. The basic reviews of these programs are primarily present on the internet. Identification and review employed a number of means such as online selection, scanning of academic materials and information from evaluation units on global development organizations. Questionnaires and surveys provided a contact point on such websites for further structured interviews. Despite the existing constraints, this research sample provides a useful basis for identification of the most important themes and issues for policy makers to consider.
Developmental leadership program stand indicate that leadership is naturally political especially in the context of development. Therefore, in addition to individual skills in leadership, fostering must be engaged to overcome the collective action problems that define developmental challenge. Westernized training models in the programs tend to focus on an individual’s attribute of the alleged good leadership and presupposing the existence of robust information in the context of a particular work. However, there’s a tendency of overlooking at the importance of shared and political nature of leadership especially on the context there are no institutions or they are weak. Effective leadership programs for development ought to include a participant being given the understanding tools and experience required to foster coalitions networks and politically work in a motivated sense.
Limitations of the research
The study encountered some limitations to some extent due to some of these factors:
a) The review limited itself to only those organizations that can be accessed through the internet, or those that could respond to the enquiries by telephone or email. Thus, this might have produced an aspect of biasness towards the other organizations that are bigger and better funded and with access to advertising and technology.
b) The only possible organizations to contact were those that use English as their official language or those that have a translation on their websites. The problem of language is of high magnitude that many organizations selected for review could not provide the required information.
c) This review concentrated to a greater extent to the long standing leadership development programs rather than the one time programs that emerge for just a specific purpose. The main reason for this is the ease to access of materials, research facilities, staff members and other support resources.
Despite all these constraints, this sample statistics provide a useful basis in identifying the most important issues and themes for leadership development policy makers regarding the financing and selection of leadership development programs. In instances where the LDPs did not respond to our enquiries, the evidence presented based on the result found on their websites. Donor websites also provided important publications and evaluations which were publicly accessible.
Leadership development program has widely become a global industry. According to this survey, seventy organizations place a Google search on the term leadership development program which gives 400,000 results and points out the programs operating in the world and the rate at which they grow (Saratoga Institute & American Management Association, 1998).
The objectives of the study are:
1) To determine whether the programme have a theory of change
2) To determine whether the program have a clear and articulated understanding of the meaning of leadership
3) To identify who the programme is really aimed at
4) To identify the content and training methods of the programme
5) To assess the impact of the programme on evaluation of leadership
Hypothesis of the study
- The program has no clear understanding on what it means by the word leadership
- There is no determined theory of change in the program
- There is no significant impact on the training program on leadership
When considering LDPs in the development context it is of high importance to account for political institutional, cultural and geographical differences both between the westernized world and the developing nations, and also between communities’ societies and countries. These programs are not only context appropriate but also attempt to address leadership challenges using the same theoretical framework and assuming the same solution these problems. According to most of the programs, the word developing world or Africa refers to one as they were a whole unit.
The developing world differs in certain structures to the western world and the structural power and authorities. This is more specific regarding the balance between the formal and the informal systems of authority and institutional predictability. However in each different context in the developing world, it also has its own unique structures of leadership and the ‘rules of the game’. These different structural types of leadership affects the types of challenges leaders and coalitions face and are therefore require appropriate and unique methods to handle them. They may also need special and distinct leadership models and processes to make them successful.
Findings of the study
The findings are grouped according to the objective questions.
Does the program a clear and articulated understanding of the meaning of leadership?
Leadership programs are found to use same words that bear different meanings. Such words like leadership may be used to mean totally different things from various programs. The aims of these contents, teaching methods and the target audience vary from one another as most programs have no defined meaning for leadership.
As individuals, leadership attribute is perceived as a shared process. On a closer analysis of the program and a deeper understanding of the teaching methods, it’s clear that most programs define leadership implicitly as a personal trait or quality and not as a shared process between leaders and followers.
Perceiving leadership as an organizational development model is more appropriate rather than leadership for development as a whole. Most westernized models originally developed from company management to enhance efficiency in performance rather than programs oriented towards leadership for organizational development and performance efficiency. There is a growing acknowledgement of the process of leadership. Despite having few programs that look towards leadership as a political process, there’s an ever increasing acknowledgement on the importance of working leadership politically. Forming networks and shaping political coalitions have enabled achievement of political outcomes.
Does the program have a change theory?
A theory of change shows how the program leads to behavioral change of the participants and how the changes contribute towards the development. This theory should underpin and guide the program contents and methods and enhance the programs evaluation of the effectiveness. Of all the programs evaluated, 8%reviewed to have a certain theory of change applied to their way of training. Among them, many do not explain adequately the process of developing leadership and how this leadership translates to change. Generally most programs reviewed, show a disconnection between program intended goals and the actual practices.
Who is the program intended for?
A conceivable variety of development programs and types of participants are the major aim of these development training. There are other much variety and specific programs aimed for developmental activities. Such subjects include the existing leaders, high level leaders, women leaders, and potential young leaders, leaders connected to a specific issue like climate change, agriculture or civil rights. There’s no hard rule about which kind of participant should be the target of the training. The important thing is to look at the program that best matches the needs and skills required by a particular clientele. To discover the most promising program, developers have to look at the issue at hand with a deeper understanding. The most interesting finding is that a general comparison of programs is aimed at women leadership with a clear understanding of leadership as a political process. This comes more often basing on other critical objectives and work together with the program developers.
Program training methods and contents
A wide variety of methods, practices and methods have been widely applied to leadership development. These methods vary ancient class-based teaching to action learning and personal competency-based training to support entrepreneurship development. However, most programs apply a combination of all these training methods and contents. In an overall view, there’s a strong tendency to base contents and methods on western organizational leadership training programs. These methods often overlook at the importance of learning about coalitions and networks rather than specific to the participants context. About half of the reviewed programs are based on the western organizations models of training (Box, Hunter & Hunter, 1978).
The kind of assessment and evaluation carried out by the program
The development programs selected for review asserts an aim of contribution to the environment. One may expect such programs to not only evaluate the satisfaction to participants but also have a wider impact on their organization or society. However, many programs only evaluate their impact on the individual level. Most of the programs provide anecdotal evidence of participant’s satisfaction and by so doing; they have no track of whether they contribute to the development of the society.
However, a few programs track the changes at the individual and organizational level and even to the society. These programs attempts to show that this assessment is possible and do more towards achieving it.