oa South African Journal of Information Management - Developing leadership competencies for the knowledge society : the relevance of action learning

Volume 6 Number 4
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



Leadership has been on the corporate landscape ever since the earliest days of management developing as a discipline. Despite this, little agreement has been reached on what constitutes effective leadership. In addition, the changes brought about by the information age and the impact of technology on society in general, and management in particular, necessitate that leadership approaches be reconsidered. Traditional leadership styles and management methods based on command and control principles that once were perceived to increase the competitiveness of an organization have become a liability, as these methods have not been found to offer competitive advantages. Leadership has been identified as one of the primary barriers to organizational learning in the knowledge society. Leading authors argue that leadership and managerial influences in the knowledge organization should receive specific attention if knowledge management (KM) programmes are to be successfully implemented. Therefore, organizational leadership needs to change to reflect these new realities. The relevance and importance of 'emerging' leadership have been explored by diverse authors who all suggested new approaches to leadership development. This research critically examined these approaches to leadership to determine what new competencies leaders should develop to be successful in the knowledge society. Adopting a qualitative research approach making use of a focus group and correlation study, the author concludes firstly that managers have not yet made the transition to manage successfully in a knowledge society and, secondly, that action learning provides a suitable platform and framework for developing a next generation of leaders.

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