Exploring OD and leadership development with NGOs in Africa

James, R. (2009). Exploring OD and leadership development with NGOs in Africa. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

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Abstract

The research focuses on NGOs in Africa, a study site previously almost ignored by the literature on OD and leadership development. The research produced a wealth of publications, including peer-refereed articles, monographs, occasional papers and features. The findings resonate with, rather than develop, prevailing thinking in the mainstream management literature (Tannenbaum and Schmidt 1973; Daft and Lengel 1998; Kakabadse and Kakabadse 1999; Quinn 2000; Burnes 2004; Balogun and Hope-Hailey 2008). However, they make an important new contribution to knowledge in the specialist NGO management literature. The message that emerges from the research is that OD and leadership development in NGOs in Africa benefit from being both contextualised and personalised. They need to be contextualised by systematically seeking to understand the local context and culture and adjust the change process accordingly. They need to be personalised by taking into account the personal dimension to both individual and organisational change. The research also makes a contribution to thinking about research methodology by explicitly combining a practice-research engagement. The research was conducted using an 'insider' approach, simultaneously operating as both consultant as well as researcher. This research philosophy, combined with character of the researcher and the length of engagement, built trust with respondents and gave access to sensitive information. It enabled the findings to be quickly and extensively disseminated to a ready audience of practitioners and policy-makers. Though this approach was not without its dangers, it proved sufficiently reflexive, ethical and methodologically rigorous to generate knowledge that was externally validated in peer-refereed academic journals. The practice-research engagement meant that the research did not end with the fieldwork and write-up, but constantly renewed itself with questions for further investigation. To academics, this emphasises the benefit of developing and supporting practitioner led research. To practitioners, it encourages taking an action research, reflexive approach, and documenting experience.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Cass Business School
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12066

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