Munich Center of the Learning Sciences

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Mirja Schwarz

Countries: Germany & USA

Thesis topic:
The Effectiveness of Development Centers for developing ethical leadership skills

Abstract: It is time to look beyond a one day training course and consider alternatives that make an investment in training worthwhile even and especially in times of financial pressures and constant change. In uncertain times developing key people of an organization, such as leaders and high potentials, are essential. Leaders on every level of an organization drive change and represent the values and culture of an organization. A Development Center could serve as an alternative to leadership training, as a Development Center provides the unique opportunity to obtain continuous individualized and specific feedback after each task in order to then apply the lessons learned in the tasks thereafter. This way of combining experiential learning with timely feedback promises to speed up learning transfer. My research considers the effectiveness of a Development Center as a training intervention to develop leadership skills and foster ethical leadership behavior. The aspect of ethical leadership is considered, as leaders serve as role models and with that set the boundaries of what is considered to be accepted behavior and what not. In light of the recent business scandals and mismanagement this has become ever more important for companies. Methods to improve learning are integrated by introducing peer feedback (360° feedback) and supporting training transfer to the daily business in the form of online peer consultation. It asserts that Development Centers designed as a training intervention are a worthwhile investment, as this intervention is expected to lead to successful training transfer and with that essentially adds to an organization’s success.

 Supervisor: Professor Dr. Strijbos, tbc

Home discipline: Organizational Psychology