Developing a Program Community of Practice for Leadership Development

Smith, Susan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3152-2149, Kempster, Steve and Wenger-Trayner, Etienne (2019) Developing a Program Community of Practice for Leadership Development. Journal of Management Education, 43 (1). pp. 62-88. ISSN 1052-5629

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This article outlines how a community of practice can be designed within management education for effective leadership development. Through a qualitative study of a cohort of 25 owner-managers of small businesses, we explore how a program community of practice (PCoP) acts as a pedagogical device for focusing on the development of leadership practice. Drawn from ‘grounded theory’ analysis, we outline a pedagogic heuristic of a PCoP built upon on an emergent rather than a didactic curriculum, shaped by the PCoP members’ own experiences and practices of managing their businesses. Our contribution is to illustrate the significant value of applying communities of practice theory to pedagogic designs in order to advance the development of leadership practice in small businesses. We critically examine this contribution with regard to the scope that designing a PCoP can bring to leadership development and the challenges for educators designing and facilitating an emergent curriculum.

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