Developmental Journey; Learning Methods; Developmental Objectives; Executive Education; Leadership Development; Identity; Transitional Space;
In the context of a multi-module executive education program designed to foster an introspective developmental journey, the authors give voice to participants to address two questions: Why do executives attend this type of program, and are their objectives being met?The authors focus on the developmental objectives, the developmental journey, and the learning experiences in this type of program. Taking a mixed methods approach, the authors began by isolating four learning dimensions — traditional, socially-mediated, situated and narrative methods—through a review of the literature. Next, through a thematic analysis of application essays, the authors grouped participants’ developmental objectives into adaptive and exploratory pathways. Then, to see if the objectives were being met, the authors surveyed 119 alumni of one such program.The authors found that each learning dimension contributed to predicting program effectiveness, and also that many participants switched their developmental objectives during the program.Interestingly, there were no differences in the perceived effectiveness of the program between participants with exploratory cf. adaptive developmental objectives.The findings highlight the need for programs with a varied methodological approach, and the tension that may arise as participants’ seek to align their transformed personal and professional goals to their current organizational role.