The dilemmas of leadership and leadership development

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CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a detailed review of the research design and methodology used in this study. Instrumentation is discussed as well as a review of the sampling protocol. Finally data collection procedures and the approach to data analysis are described.

RESEARCH DESIGN

A research design provides the overall structure for the procedures the researcher follows, the data the researcher collects, and the data analyses the researcher conducts (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). A qualitative research design was used. Qualitative research is used to answer questions about the complex nature of phenomena, often with the purpose of describing and understanding the phenomena from the participant’s point of view (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). The research method has taken the form of a case study which is a type of qualitative research in which in depth data are gathered relative to a single individual, program, or event, for the purpose of learning more about an unknown or poorly understood situation (Leedy & Omrod, 2005). In-depth data will be gathered about the leadership development strategy and program of Ucar South Africa (the case organization). The research consisted of two parts where part one involved obtaining information about the leadership development strategy of the case organisation and part two involved obtaining feedback from the participants about the effectiveness of this strategy.

SAMPLING STRATEGY

A sample is a part of something larger, called a population; the latter is the totality of entities in which we have an interest, that is, the collection of individuals, objects or events about which we want to make inferences (Diamantopoulos & Schelgelmilch, 2005:10). The rationale for sampling is that by checking out part of a whole we can say something about the whole. Part one of the study involved obtaining information about the leadership development strategy of the case study organisation, namely, its design, implementation and objectives. A purposeful sampling method was used which consisted of the human resources manager and the trainer involved in the implementation of the strategy. A purposeful sample is one where sample members are chosen with a specific purpose or objective in mind; the sample is thus intentionally selected to be non-representative (Diamantopoulos & Schelgelmilch, 2004:14). The reason for choosing this method is because the human resource manager would be able to provide the most information about the leadership development strategy and program and the trainer would be able to provide the best information on the execution of this strategy. The sample size for this part of the study is two.
Part two of the study involved obtaining feedback about the leadership development strategy and program from its participants. The population consisted of 68 participants. A sample was not drawn from this population; instead the entire population was studied, thus the sample size for this part of the study was 68.

 DATA COLLECTION METHODS

Data can be classified according to their source into primary data and secondary data. Primary data is data collected with a specific purpose in mind while secondary data are data that have not been gathered expressly for the immediate study at hand but for some other purpose (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). Primary data was obtained by interviewing the human resources manager and the trainer responsible for the leadership development strategy. The aim was to obtain information about the leadership development strategy of the case organisation.
Primary data was also obtained through an anonymous questionnaire that was forwarded by e-mail to the participants of the leadership development program. The data collected were the attitudes and opinions, which indicate the views, preferences, inclinations or feelings of, people towards some object or phenomenon, in this case the leadership development program.
Secondary data obtained was the leadership development strategy, the company’s strategy, and details of the leadership development program, policies, details about the participants and leadership development procedures and practices. This study utilised a survey research design. Survey research involves acquiring information about one or more groups of people, about their characteristics, opinions, attitudes or previous experiences, by asking them questions and tabulating their answers (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). The techniques used were a face to face interview with the human resource manager, a telephone interview with the trainer, and a questionnaire which was administered to the participants of the leadership development programme.
The personal interview
Personal interviews was used as a data collection technique because it can yield a great deal of useful information about facts, peoples’ beliefs and perspectives about the facts, feelings, motives, present and past behaviours, standards for behaviours and conscious reasons for actions or feelings. Interviews allow a researcher to clarify ambiguous answers and seek follow up information. They can however take time but due to the small sample size was not a drawback in this research project. The interview was semi structured and revolved around a few central questions (refer to Annexure A). Choosing this form allows a researcher to get clarification or probe a persons reasoning. The interview with the human resource manager who is accountable for the leadership development strategy was conducted face to face. This form of interview enables the researcher to establish rapport with the participants and gain their cooperation thus yielding the highest response rate. The trainer accountable for the execution of the strategy was interviewed by
telephone. Telephone interviews are less time consuming and less expensive, and are thus more convenient to gather information
The interview schedule
The interview schedule was designed so as to obtain the answers to the dimensions that make up the conceptual leadership development model outlined in Figure 1, namely, the aims of leadership, the targets for leadership development, the characteristics of the effective leader at Ucar South Africa, how leadership development was viewed (as a once of event or continuous), the leadership development methods, and the nature of the organizations climate and environment.
The seven sub-questions of Question 2 in the interview schedule were designed with this specific purpose in mind, that is, to obtain the answers for each of these dimensions of the model. The model also stipulates that a successful leadership development strategy is a top organization priority, has top management approval, and is linked with the business strategy of the organization. Question 1 a to d was designed to obtain information regarding these aspects of the strategy.
The aim of Question 1a was to obtain general information regarding the strategy. Question 2b was designed to obtain information regarding the organization priority of leadership development in the organization. Sub-questions included to measure this was determining if there was a written policy on leadership development, whether there was a dedicated budget, and the average spend on development per employee. These questions were included with the belief that the answers would best reflect the priority of leadership development in the organization. The aim of question 2c was to determine whether there was top management support for the strategy. Sub-questions include the board’s role in leadership development, how management is held accountable for leadership development and what was top management’s role in the development of the strategy. Question 1d’s aim was to determine if there was a link between the leadership development strategy and the business strategy. A question was also included to determine how UCAR South Africa defined an effective leader. Question 2 was designed to determine the targets for leadership development, why
they were targeted, how was the developmental needs established, what methods are being used to develop leadership, how is the effectiveness of the program and strategy being measured, is the program working and how does the organization know this, and finally a question on the environment and climate and whether it is one that facilitates leadership development.
The interview schedule thus comprised of 17 questions that the researcher believed would be able to yield the maximum amount of information on the strategy.
The questionnaire
Questionnaires were administered to the participants of the leadership development program via e- mail with the purpose of measuring the effectiveness of the leadership development strategy. Questionnaires are advantageous in that participants can respond to questions with assurance that their responses will be anonymous, and thus will be more truthful. However, a drawback exists that there will be a low return rate where not all the participants will return the questionnaires and those that do return the questionnaires will not be representative of the originally selected sample.
There is also the danger that the questions can be misinterpreted and that specifying in advance all the questions that will be asked eliminates other questions that could be asked about the issue or phenomenon in question (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). The questionnaire was designed after interviewing the human resource manager and trainer. The reason for this was that the aim of this part of the research was to test the participants’ perceptions of the strategy, and thus information about the strategy had to be obtained first.
The questionnaire consisted of fifty closed ended questions with an open-ended section at the end of the questionnaire for participants to add any further comments about the leadership development program. The response scales took the form of the Likert scale. The Likert scale is one of the most widely used response scales in research and is used to evaluate behaviour, attitude or other phenomenon on a continuum. Rating scales simplify and more easily quantify peoples’ behaviours or attitudes (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). A neutral response option has been given which might prove a bit disastrous if the majority of the respondents decide to choose this, thus posing a danger of not being able to conduct an optimal evaluation.
The first aim of the questionnaire was to measure the attitudes of the participants to the leadership development program. Question 1 to 5 was designed with this purpose in mind. The second set of questions, namely questions 6 to 8 was designed to determine if the participants understand the aim of the leadership development strategy. The aim of Question 9 was to measure the participants’ attitude to people development in general and question 10’s aim was to measure the participants feeling about the accuracy of the assessment centre method in identifying their development gaps.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 
Chapter 1: An orientation to the research report 
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Purpose of research
1.3 Statement of problem and sub-problems
1.4 Definitions
1.5 Limitation of the study
1.6 Delimitation of the study
1.7 Assumptions of the study
1.8 Importance of the study
1.9 Outline of the research report
Chapter 2: A Review of the literature on leadership development
2.1 The dilemmas of leadership and leadership development
2.2 Best practices
2.3 A model for leadership development
Chapter 3: Research methodology
3.1 Research design
3.2 Sampling strategy
3.3 Data collections methods
3.4 Data analysis
Chapter 4: Research results
4.1 Interview with the human resource manager
4.2 Interview with the trainer
4.3 Questionnaire completed by the participants of the LDP
Chapter 5: Discussion, conclusions and recommendations
Annexure A Interview schedule
Annexure B Questionnaire
Annexure C Performance review form
Annexure D Learning and development plan
Annexure E Performance matrix
Annexure F Frequency distribution
References
Article for publication

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An Investigation into the Leadership Development Strategy Implemented by a Manufacturing Organization in South Africa

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