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Growing Leaders in the New Africa – Negotiating Postcoloniality and Context

Organisation Studies

Speaker:Vanessa Iwowo
Date: Wednesday 15 October 2014
Time: 2pm
Location: Streatham Court B

Further details

My research contributes to the emerging critical perspective on global management education and in particular, leadership development in a multi-faceted world. In light of recent criticisms of knowledge imperialism and contextuality that arise with respect to how we ‘see’ and ‘know’ the world, and also what is increasingly suggested as the socially constructed nature of leadership; it takes a critical look at how ‘leadership’ is conceptualised, the foundation for its epistemological leanings and raises important questions for how this knowledge is represented and disseminated in contemporary management learning.  The study investigated the contemporary practice of leadership development in Africa and in particular, its application as a management learning intervention. It explored the pertinent question of contextual dissonance and in this, critically examined leadership development as a catalyst for organisational change within the context of a global non-profit organisation, and again, as a tool for management development in the context of a non-western society.

Findings indicate the presence of a strong community orientation that is seemingly consistent with the philosophical underpinnings of indigenous community practices and which reflect a noticeable degree of contextual dissonance between mainstream paradigms of leadership and the lived experiential reality of programme participants in the context understudied.

Finally, the study proposes a model of leadership development that may begin to address this contextual gap and through which contemporary management education interventions may account for the lived socio-cultural reality of the contexts within which they are applied.