Guest Editors: Anders Örtenblad, Jacky Hong, Robin Snell

Submission Deadline: September 01, 2015
Additional information available: *email address protected*

Special Issue Purpose

Leadership remains a perennial pre-occupation (Burns, 1978). There are thousands of research articles on leadership, and hundreds of books (For a review, see Day, 2000). HRDI has published several dozen papers on leadership, yet we remain disappointed with, dismayed about, and even frightened of our leaders (Hamlin, 2005; House and Aditya, 1997; Patel and Hamlin, 2012; Ruiz et al, 2014). Still, we hope for better days, and invite academics and practitioners to contribute to this special issue on leadership education and development. We have three broad aims. Our first is to build models, which take account of lessons from prior mistakes and tragedies that have arisen from over-romanticizing the leadership role, and which are oriented toward inclusion, participation, and social responsibility. Our second, is to assemble some cutting-edge papers on leadership education, development, and practice, that help us to understand how to provide education or mentorship that contributes positively to benign and effective leadership. Third, we aim to attract contributions that explain and justify the value of novel or paradigm-breaking perspectives on the learning and practice of effective leadership.

Questions all the Way

How can good leaders be taught or developed (Warhurst, 2012)? How can good leadership be learnt (Day and Harrison, 2007; Antonacopoulou, and Bento, 2006)? Perhaps the large body of existing theory on leadership education and leadership development implies that positive instructional guidance is available? Perhaps the undergraduate programs or concentrations on leadership available in the USA, and their emergence across the globe, with a similar pattern of educational offerings at the taught Master’s level, imply the existence of effective educational and developmental practices? Or perhaps not. There are reasons to be skeptical about whether such courses and programmes can achieve their goals. Scholars have claimed that good leadership is not readily defined (Bass et al, 2005; Blakeley and Higgs, 2015; Carden and Callahan, 2007; Yukl et al, 2002). If there is no expert consensus about the nature of good leadership, then how can we know how to teach it or learn it? Perhaps the plethora of existing educational offerings represents confusion and cacophony rather than confident consensus? Even if good leadership can be taught and learnt, then why does there appear to be so much bad leadership at all levels in organizations and communities? Is this because the people we educate and develop don’t practice what they have learnt? Is it the case that good leadership cannot, after all, be learnt? Or is it because otherwise good leaders don’t actually want to be good leaders? Questions relating to whether, and if so how, the quality of leadership can be improved through contrived developmental and educational processes, underpin this Special Issue of HRDI. All contributions should relate in some way to such questions. Contributions of any academic type are welcome: literature reviews; empirical studies (qualitative as well as quantitative); conceptual papers; essays etc, as long as they explicitly frame an argument that relate to the main theme of this

Topics and More Questions

Below is a non-exhaustive list of suggestions for more specific sub-themes. Contributions on these are welcome, as well as on other issues that relate to the special issue title, and which fall within the overall remit of HRDI.

Epistemological and ontological questions and stances :
• What are the moral foundations of good leadership? If good leadership is essentially a matter of character, then what, if anything, can leadership education effectively teach?
• In what way could aspects of good leadership be defined to make them readily teachable and learnable? Would this trivialize leadership?
• Are the seeds of the strongest, most influential leadership qualities innate, such that those born without them cannot acquire the necessary qualities and can only be followers or, perhaps, dissidents? If so, what should be the aims and prerequisites of leadership education and development?
• Is the very concept of leadership dysfunctional? Do we need alternative, non-leadership, or anti-leadership paradigms, to point the way toward building better organizations, communities, and eco-systems?
• Is it possible for practices of good leadership to co-exist at multiple levels of power, status, and seniority? How can this be facilitated within and between organizations and societies?
• Aligning charisma, reason, and social benefit: how can leadership education encourage and motivate charismatic leaders to use their powers for the common good rather than for narrow personal aggrandizement?
Empirical research (qualitative and/or or quantitative):
• Studies of how undergraduates or postgraduates may acquire leadership attributes through ‘taught’ courses or programmes.
• Studies of how knowledge may be acquired through “off-the-job” leadership development or education programs. Studies of how such learning may be transferred (or not transferred) to actual work practices.
• Studies of the effectiveness, or perceived effectiveness, of in-company leadership development programmes, ranging from graduate trainee schemes to career acceleration initiatives under the banner of talent management.
• Lessons from cases of leader derailment or leader corruption. What did the failed hero or anti-hero learn that he or she should not have been learned? What did the failed hero or anti-hero not learn that he or she should have learned? What can we learn from leader decline or leader degeneration?
• Studies of how employees acquire leadership identity through participation in a nexus of interconnected and situated practices.
Practices and commitments :
• Leader development adventures and extremes. “Extreme” leadership developmental activities that stretch the boundaries of knowledge and reason but may nonetheless produce better leaders.
• Good leader retrospectives. Leaders, who are respected by those who know them, share their thoughts about how they got there, what drove them there, what helped them along the way, and what keeps them going.
• Indigenous perspectives on leadership development. Culturally distinctive contributions, e.g. Chinese, Indian, African, etc.

HRDI is committed to questioning the divide between practice and theory and between ‘practitioner’ and ‘academic’. We, therefore, welcome contributors of papers to this special issue to address the interface of both practice and academic scholarship. Connecting concepts or issues to empirical results and exploring applications to international HRD are strongly encouraged.

Call for Reviewers

Along with this call for papers, we are calling for volunteers to review a submitted manuscript. Interested persons may offer to review a manuscript (with or without submitting a manuscript) and may contact the guest editors for additional information. Volunteers wishing to review a manuscript should indicate their research area(s), and qualifications as a reviewer (e.g, level of methodological expertise, education, publication experiences) as it relates to the area(s) expressed. Each reviewer will have up to thirty days to complete his/her review. Individual contributions to this effort are greatly appreciated.

Important Dates and Submission Instructions

September 01, 2015 Submission (electronic) due to HRDI at On the online submission form, authors must indicate that the submission is for the Special Issue on ” Good Leadership: A Matter of Learning, Development, Practice or Skepticism?”.
September 15, 2015 Papers go out to reviewers
October 15, 2015 Reviews due to HRDI (submitted online)
October 30, 2015 Decision letters sent to authors
January 15, 2016 Revisions due
March 15, 2016 Final files (camera-ready copy of the manuscript, plus the author information file), due to HRDI office
September 2016 Anticipated publication of Special Issue

Please follow the author guidelines provided on the HRDI website: ( papers will be reviewed following the Human Resource Development International double-blind review process.


CALL: 2015 – 2016

The International Doctoral Program in Economics is a four year program designed for highly qualified and motivated students who wish to acquire the research and analytical skills of the international scientific community in economics. It is designed for students seeking jobs in academia, as well as those who wish to acquire the skills of professional academic research to work in government agencies, financial institutions, international agencies, private companies.

Students will be offered one year of intensive course work by an international faculty including both permanent teaching staff of Sant’Anna, and a large group of authoritative Visiting Scholars, and will then proceed to supervised research work, yielding an original dissertation to be discussed in a final, public examination. It is expected that students will produce articles publishable in international journals.
The Program, jointly sponsored by University of Strasbourg, is part of a European network – involving the Universities of Sussex, Aalborg, Manchester, Paris XIII, Oslo, Maastricht, and several other universities supporting inter-European exchanges of research students and faculty.
Four positions with fellowship (€14.000 gross amount per year) are offered. Fellowship includes: free lunch – working days – at school’s canteen and Campus facilities.

Candidates should apply online: by May 7, 2015, 11.00 am CET.
More information and details on courses and faculty can be found at