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WHAT DID WE LEARN?

The conference turned out to be a remarkable event. We succeeded in creating a community committed to debate together new ways of leadership practice and leadership education. The participants were fully dedicated to share their professional experience and to argue together for a strong paradigm shift in our understanding of leadership and management. This could be observed especially in the plenary debates with a very intense atmosphere. The design of the conference achieved its goal of engaging the whole conference for a cooperative effort to promote the topic.

But there was also some ambivalence in the reactions to our design. The new and most surprising element within the conference-design were the "reflecting groups." The participants were somehow irritated and hesitated in the beginning to get fully engaged. They could not quickly find out what was expected from them and hoped the facilitators would give more detailed instructions. It took some time until they found out for themselves just to rely on their initiative and creativity. The reflecting groups then picked up the challenge and the participants realized, they were in the position to convey the issues they wanted to and after a phase of irritation each group became very self-determined and used the opportunity to make their own program—in content and methods. They created their own process in their rhythm and chose the issues that were important to them. The exchange of the individual experiences became the thriving force and created an atmosphere of being fascinated by the diversity of the group. The key-note speeches, symposia and paper sessions triggered always a process of different ideas and reflections in each participant. For the reflection of the groups it was more attractive and productive to exchange their own thoughts and to learn together from each other in this group setting rather than just to collect comments on the key-note speeches. The dynamic of the groups completely changed its direction from reacting to inputs from outside to developing together own ideas from inside.

This had the effect that each group developed in its own way, made its own program and created its own learning culture. This diversity was fascinating. but it also taught us that the idea of the white paper as a condensed text, produced by the whole community was completely contradictory to the idea of the self-development of the reflecting groups. We realized that the concept of the reflecting groups with the emphasis on self-reliance stimulated a process of creativity and diversity, whereas the idea of the white paper would have required an effort to reduce diversity and complexity and to select some focal points of the whole debate. But there was no energy left and no will to cut down a process that has just begun for all—with enthusiasm.

And after 3 days of intense debate the whole bulk was full of new ideas and insights and at the same time exhausted without any ambition to get stressed by the effort to achieve a consensus about the text of the white paper. So we abandoned the idea of producing a draft of a white paper at the conference. Instead we invited the participants to continue the debate via a virtual communication platform. This proposal was very welcomed by participants at the end of the conference. We were sure that some new contacts would continue and quite some initiatives of the participants were started back home.

REFERENCES

Global Responsible Leadership Initiative. (n.d.). Retrieved from grli.org/

Grossmann R., & Scala K. (2012). Organizational consulting and development. In R. Grossmann & H. Lobnig, & K. Scala (with Assistance of M. Stadlober) (Eds.),

Facilitating collaboration in public management (pp. 37-54). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Mintzberg, H. (2004). Managers not MBAs: A hard look at the soft practice of managing and management development. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Mirvis, P. H. (Principal Author). (2010). Responsible leadership emerging: Individual, organizational, and collective frontiers. Retrieved from web.up.ac.za/ sitefiles/file/40/1055/10099/

EMS%20Responsible%20Leadership%20Emerging%20FINAL.pdf MOT (School of Management, Organizational Development & Technology) (2010, December 1-4). International Conference on Management Learning, Vienna, Austria. Retreived from wwwiff.ac.ai/oe/ content.php?p = 1&lang=mot&nr= Wankel, C., & Stoner, J. A. F. (Eds.). (2009). Management education for global sustain-

ability. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Wankel, C., & DeFillippi, B. (Eds.). (2010). Being and becoming a management education scholar. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

 
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