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The question of how to efficiently, holistically, and successfully develop leaders has been the focus of scholars and practitioners for several decades. Embedding the process of leader development in organizational contexts allows participants to develop and apply leadership knowledge, skills, and identity awareness. Embeddedness facilitates the holistic integration of the interactive processes of leader development (which focuses on increasing the leadership capacity of an individual) and leadership development (which focuses on increasing the leadership capacity of an organization), which is referred to in this article as leader(ship) development (LD). Two sub-processes involved in LD (i.e., general and situational identity development and knowledge/skill/social capital development) and four mechanisms of embeddedness that facilitate holistic LD (i.e., leader identity integration, opportunities to learn and develop in the organization, organizational support and feedback, and helping relationships) will be described. A discussion on the ways by which management education pedagogy can integrate and facilitate embeddedness and provide guidance for future research will follow.

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The world is changing faster than ever before. Recent advances in technology are constantly making old knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) obsolete while also creating new KSAs and increasing the demand for jobs that have never existed before. These advances place tremendous pressure on people to learn, adapt, and innovate in order to keep up with these changes. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) has been widely and effectively applied in various settings in the last four decades. This theory posits that learning is a proactive process, coming from the holistic integration of all learning modes in the human being: experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Learners must own and drive this process, because ownership of their own experiential learning process empowers learners to do far more than an external person—whether a parent, a teacher, or a friend—can accomplish. More than just a way to learn, experiential learning is a way of being and living that permeates all aspects of a person’s life. Given the demands of the fast-changing world we live in, what do individuals need to do to make sure they stay ahead of the change curve, remain fit with the changing environment, survive, and thrive? At the individual level, a number of important competencies need to be developed, including learning identity and learning flexibility. At the system level, learning and education as a whole must be treated differently. Education should be an abductive process in which learners are taught to ask different types of questions and then connect new knowledge with their own personal experiences. The outcome of education, likewise, should be adaptive and developmental. Instead of promoting global learning outcomes that every student needs to achieve, educators need to hold each student individually responsible for incrementally knowing more than he or she previously knew, and teach students not only how to answer questions but also how to ask good questions to extract knowledge from future unknown circumstances. Helping students foster a learning identity and become lifelong learners are among the most important tasks of educators in today’s fast-changing world.