Values-based leadership in a learning organization : possibility or pipedream? : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Administration at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
The purpose of this research was to ascertain whether the concept of values-based leadership in a learning organization is a possibility or a pipedream. The motivation for undertaking this study developed from the researcher's own work with a highly respected CEO in the polytechnic sector during the early 1990's. The qualities that this CEO exhibited in her professional and personal life provided a platform for the research and paralleled the paradigmatic shift in leadership where the intrinsic value of people and organizational learning were being promoted. The researcher selected a qualitative research design based on a case study approach using semi-structured interviews as the primary source of data. The context for the study centred on four practising leaders in senior management positions in the private and public sectors in New Zealand. The literature review provided the historical and theoretical background to the research and evolved from the research questions and main aims of the study. The research limitations and suggestions for further study are outlined in the methodology section in Chapter Three. In Chapter Four, the research findings are presented in the form of six main themes which correspond with the order of the six research questions. The key findings relate to the participants' understanding of a learning organization, the advantages and disadvantages of values-based leadership and the importance of the leader in effecting change in an environment that values people and learning. The significant factors that have shaped or influenced the participants' philosophies complete this chapter. Central to the research findings was whether values-based leadership in a learning organization can work in the participants' current positions. The results support the notion that it does work and this is illustrated in the theoretical model at the end of Chapter Four. In Chapter Five, the researcher discusses the major findings from the study in conjunction with the participants' responses, the working model and the relevant literature. The conclusions drawn in the final chapter attest to the viability of values-based leadership in a learning organization and its applicability in a small number of private and public sector organizations.