Original Research

Developing positive leadership in health and human services

Elizabeth A. Shannon, Pieter Van Dam
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 39, No 2 | a1134 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v39i2.1134 | © 2013 Elizabeth A. Shannon, Pieter Van Dam | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 2013 | Published: 29 October 2013

About the author(s)

Elizabeth A. Shannon, Department of Health and Human Services, University of Tasmania, Australia
Pieter Van Dam, Department of Health and Human Services, University of Tasmania, Australia


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Abstract

Orientation: Measuring the target outcomes of leadership development programmes provides evidence for the effectiveness of these interventions and the validity of their theoretical underpinnings.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to determine whether staff from the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services (Australia) experienced increased levels of self-efficacy, social support within the workplace and positive affect, following participation in a leadership development programme.

Research design, approach and method: Quantitative and qualitative methods were used, allowing for triangulation of results. The General Self-Efficacy Scale and the Berlin Social-Support Scale (perceived available support, instrumental) were applied in an online survey administered before and nine months following the programme. Participant satisfaction surveys captured immediate responses and semi-structured interviews captured longer-term reflections.

Main findings: Descriptive statistics indicated a moderate overall increase in self-efficacy, with strong increases in resilience, dealing with opposition, resourcefulness and problem solving. There was some evidence of greater overall social support and a strong increase in the development of social support networks. There was no support for an increase in participants’ positive orientation towards their jobs in the quantitative data. The impact of adverse environmental factors on participants’ perceptions also became evident through the interviews.

Practical implications: Leadership development programmes that strengthen positive psychological resources provide participants with confidence and resilience in times of change. Organisations benefit from increased levels of employee self-efficacy as engagement and problem-solving abilities are enhanced.

Contribution/value-add: These results contribute to the body of knowledge associated with effective leadership development.


Keywords

Leadership; Management; Development

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