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Transforming global ideas of leadership to local organizations
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, HELIX Vinn Excellence Centre. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Work and Working Life. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Learning in Working Life and Educational Settings.
2006 (English)In: European Conference on Educational Research ECER,2006, 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The paper focuses on the transfer of global ideas of leadership to local organizations and their in-house leader development. It highlights the paradox of why we simultaneously can on one hand observe global ideas about leadership travel at high speed around the world, and on the other still see very different local realities. The context-actor perspective that I use as theoretical point of departure is influenced partly by the critical realist Roy Bhaskar-s transformational model of social activity, partly by new institutional theory and Bruno Latour and the process of translation. The latter can be described as a chain of actors influenced by global ideas, creating translations of these ideas that becomes new originals that other actors translate and so on. I also highlight the notion of isomorphic processes, containing powers in the context of the organization in combination with local actors. I use the concept educational culture as a way of describing a single organization-s specific way to manage leader development, i.e. their specific and original translation of the global ideas. The study is chiefly based on a case study of six organizations- leader development. All organizations are located in the same European country, Sweden. I have interviewed 13 persons that had the responsibility for creating, carrying out and developing leader development efforts in these organizations. I also studied different documents from these organizations, and observed when actors from one of the organizations met their colleagues from similar organizations for discussions concerning leader development. The analysis of the data has had a distinct feature of abduction, and I used eight constructed aspects and 131 variables when comparing the organizations. My result suggests that each organization has its own specific educational culture despite the traveling global ideas of leadership. Every organization is constructing leader development in its own specific way. Depending on what level (global, national, sector, branch of trade, organizational) you analyze the empirical data there is also some similarities. In spite that actors seem to prefer translating ideas from organizations within the same nation and branch of trade, there exist no simple connections between a certain context or field on the one hand, and the leader development among organizations from that specific context or field. The actors- contributions to the process of translating ideas from outside the organizations are important facts when one wants to understand how an educational culture is created and why it has the form it has. The actors in this study had both a space of action and strong conceptions about leadership that influenced how they dealt with the ideas from outside the organizations. The actors are not to be seen as passive importers, but rather as active translators that changes the original ideas. The actors are in their turn producing new originals. The actors turned out to be part o the organizations- human resources, and they were not seldom human resource managers and women with an academic background. It was above all these actors that had the responsibility for and organized the in-house leader development. There is a need for more research about how the local process of translation of global ideas is performed and how the actors- conceptions and space of action influences the in in-house leader development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-38323Local ID: 43728OAI: diva2:259172
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2011-01-26

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Nilsson, Peter
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Faculty of Arts and SciencesHELIX Vinn Excellence CentreWork and Working LifeLearning in Working Life and Educational Settings
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