Learning to lead: a literary approach

Conference paper

Hafford-Letchfield, T. and Harper, W. 2011. Learning to lead: a literary approach. 1st International Conference on Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Science. Dubai, United Arab Emirates 22 - 24 Nov 2011
TypeConference paper
TitleLearning to lead: a literary approach
AuthorsHafford-Letchfield, T. and Harper, W.

‘Leading and Developing Public Service’ is an accredited Higher Education programme provided by the School of Health and Social Sciences and is aimed at those working in health, social care, community and public services. The acquisitions of skills and knowledge in leadership and management have been cited as key to delivering the UK Government’s vision of quality services. These highlight the relationship between ‘effective leadership’ and transforming services. How students engage with learning about their own leadership potential is a challenge to educators and organisations. Successful leaders at any level and in any arena will be presented with moral and ethical choices. Using an approach that seeks to engage students with these concepts embodied within literary works, our leadership module is designed to encourage students to confront fundamental moral challenges in their everyday work and to develop skills in moral analysis and judgement. This pedagogic approach is used to assist students come to terms with their own definition of moral leadership and how it can be translated into action.
This paper shares our experiences of the above pedagogical approach drawing on early evaluation of the student experience and evidence from student’s individual and group feedback. Drawing on the inspiration of literary figures such as Arthur Miller, Chinua Achebe and F. Scott Fitzgerald, students were allocated to a team and invited to treat works of fiction as case studies in leadership by examining them in depth in relation to theoretical concepts and models. Attention to the process encourages them to safely engage in the experience of taking up leadership and followership roles in their respective groups, engage in rigorous debate and manage the task.
Early evaluation has demonstrated that this method supports:
• Developing critical understanding of own/others leadership style.
• Management of resources such as time and resolving contradictions.
• Developing contextualised personal abilities
• Leadership of learning for others
• Critical appreciation of diversity within the group and case studies
• Knowledge and skill development for implementing and evaluating a work-based project.
• The application of theoretical concepts of creative leadership to statutory and public sector frameworks.
The paper concludes with a critical appraisal of the effectiveness of using literature to encourage deeper and more transformational learning and its relevance to leadership practice.

KeywordsLeadership, literature, education
Conference1st International Conference on Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Science
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Dec 2013
Output statusPublished
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