Academic journal article Irish Journal of Management

Spreading Leader Knowledge: Investigating a Participatory Mode of Knowledge Dissemination among Management Undergraduates

Academic journal article Irish Journal of Management

Spreading Leader Knowledge: Investigating a Participatory Mode of Knowledge Dissemination among Management Undergraduates

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

In this paper we discuss the need for a practitioner-academic partnership in disseminating leader knowledge among undergraduate management students, and find that in order to cultivate actionable skill development, business and academic communities should collaborate to offer a participatory approach to leadership education. The core objective is to discover sources of actionable knowledge and to decipher its optimum dissemination among management students, encompassing technical, conceptual and human skill development, through interaction with both theory and practice, in order to prepare students for active participation, and potential leadership, in the business environment. Based on a comprehensive literature review, we propose a participatory leader knowledge dissemination model, where business leaders can stimulate the academic environment, and leadership skill development can be promoted through practitioners' active involvement in the education process. The article concludes with a perspective on the evolution of knowledge transfer among management students and the current trend towards dynamic collaboration between academics and corporate leaders.

Key Words: Leadership skill development; Practitioner-academic partnership

INTRODUCTION

Historically, an important objective of management education was to 'prepare students for successful and socially useful careers in business' (Bossard and Dewhurst, 193 1 : 55), and fulfilling this goal was primarily the domain of business schools. The underlying expectation was for management education to encompass technical, conceptual and human skill development (Katz, 1985), through interaction with both theory and practice (adapted from Mingers, 2001), in order to prepare students for active participation, and potential leadership, in the business environment (Elmuti et al., 2005; Sandwith, 1993). Despite these objectives, existing pedagogical approaches have been criticised for having a rational (technical) emphasis to the detriment of conceptual and human skill development among pre-experience management students (Augier and March, 2007; Cunningham, 1999; Elmuti, 2004; Huff and Huff, 2001; Sadler-Smith and Shefy, 2007; Starkey and Tempest, 2005), particularly in relation to leadership skill development (Atwater et al., 2008; Day et al., 2004; Doh, 2003; Gallos, 1997; Hess, 2007; Mello, 2003). Specifically, a classroom emphasis on task completion and the transfer of explicit knowledge can result in narrow skill development (Cianciolo et al., 2004; Elmuti, 2004; Ewenstein and Whyte, 2007; KoIb and KoIb, 2005). As companies depend, to some extent, on business schools to produce 'emerging leaders' who can ultimately step into leadership positions in their organisations (Murphy and Riggio, 2003: 2), undergraduates need to understand both the implicit and the explicit skills of business leadership (Eriksen, 2007). To do so, these students need to develop human leadership orientated capabilities through inter/intrapersonal and practical skill development (Elmuti, 2004; Tranfield et al., 2004; Watson, 1993, among others) as well as developing technical expertise. It is the authors' contention that the development of all three management skills can be enhanced through participatory leader knowledge dissemination in the classroom. Based on these insights, there is a benefit in exploring current higher educational practices in leadership skill development, and identifying means by which the knowledge gained from experience and that gained from scholarship can be intertwined in a more participatory mode of leader knowledge dissemination, ultimately reducing the gap between education and practice.

The paper proposes a model of leader knowledge dissemination in higher education that enables actionable leadership skill development among pre- experience management students. Following a critical literature review, the leader knowledge dissemination model proffers a means of enhancing leadership skill development in undergraduate students through participatory modes of knowledge dissemination in the education process. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.