Leadership development in a mid-sized manufacturing firm

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Gerrits, Karra-Lee
Distributed Leadership
Family Owned Firms
Leadership Development
Small and Medium Enterprises
Succession Planning
Talent Management
This thesis employed appreciative, action research engagement to explore how a mid-sized manufacturing firm could better develop and leverage leadership within its manufacturing division from a constructionist viewpoint. Three focus groups involving a total of 10 participants, two interviews, and a survey of the firm’s 180 employees were conducted. Five findings pointed to a performance-oriented organizational culture, as employees have responded positively to change initiatives and recognized the importance of good leadership for organizational performance. Three short-term recommendations suggest that management sustain existing change management initiatives rooted in transformational and authentic leadership, introduce greater distribution of leadership, and emphasize internal talent management. Two longer-term recommendations suggest that the organization consider bolstering transformational leadership by introducing more formal leadership development and leveraging servant leadership tenets by way of mentoring approaches. The contribution of this research to the literature consists of a case study illustrative of followers’ perspective of transformational leadership and leadership development in an SME context and the acute resource challenges faced by SMEs in developing leadership capacity.
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