Human Resource Development International, Call for Papers – Special Issue: Good Leadership: A Matter of Learning, Development,Practice or Skepticism?

Special issue purposes

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 already published several dozen papers on leadership. Yet we remain disappointed with, dismayed about, and even frightened of our leaders (Hamlin, 2005; House & Aditya, 1997; Patel & Hamlin, 2012; Ruiz et al., 2014). Still, we hope for better days. And we invite academics and practitioners to contribute 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 aim is to assemble some cutting-edge research 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.

Topics and more questions


Below is a non-exhaustive list of suggestions for more specific sub-themes. Contributions on any of these are welcome, as well as on any 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 ways 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.


Important Dates and Submission Instructions

September 01, 2015—Submission (electronic copy) 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 1, 2015—Submission deadline
  • September 15, 2015—Papers go out to reviewers
  • October 15, 2015—Reviews due to HRDI (submitted through the online system)
  • 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


For additional information or to discuss a potential proposal or idea for a paper please contact: *email address protected*. Please be sure to follow the author guidelines provided on the HRDI website: ( All papers will be reviewed following the regular Human Resource Development International double-blind review process.

Download the full call for papers

About author:

Posted by
Name of institution/organization
Deadline1st September 2015
Contact personProf. Amders Ortenbland email: *email address protected*