An exploratory case study of the mechanisms of leadership development and leadership transitions in the public sector
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The purpose of this research study is to identify and understand the mechanisms of leadership development and how they contribute to leadership transitions in the public sector. The primary research question is: How do leadership development mechanisms contribute to leadership transitions in the workplace? To achieve these aims, the researcher identified four objectives: (1) identify and understand the mechanisms of leadership development and leadership transitions (2) evaluate the effectiveness of leadership development mechanisms and examine the role of trade unions in leadership development, (3) explore how professional development contributes to leadership transitions, (4) examine the benefits and challenges of leadership transitions. A case study approach was undertaken to investigate the civil service in government. Qualitative research has been chosen to conduct five semi-structured interviews. The participants were an employee, a manager, a trade union representative and two directors to provide the researcher with a range of different job roles within the organisation. The data was analysed by reviewing the themes in the literature and then comparing the themes that emerged in the data. This allowed the researcher to interpret findings from interviews by understanding employees’ experiences of leadership development and leadership transitions. The key findings of this research identified coaching and mentoring was the most effective mechanism used for leadership development in the civil service. Self-reflection was the most important aspect of professional development contributing to leadership transitions. The benefits of leadership transitions are the opportunity to take part in longer term programmes such as CIPD. The challenges of leadership transitions were learning a new job role and lack of knowledge. The role of trade unions has been considered as their contribution is a key element for leadership development.