Electronic Thesis/Dissertation


The Influence of an Action Learning Process on Transformative Learning and Leadership Behavior in a Government Agency Open Access

Abstract of the DissertationThe Influence of an Action Learning Process on Transformative Learning and Leadership Behavior in a Government AgencyThis phenomenological study examined how 10 leaders from one government agency described their experience in an action learning process that focused on the open-ended question and no group dialogue and how this experience resulted in transformational leadership behaviors. This study used Mezirow's (1991) transformative learning theory, transformational leadership theories (Bass, 1985; Kets de Vries, 1994; Sashkin, 1988; Yukl, 2010; Burns, 1978; Kouzes & Posner, 1987; Tichy & Devanna, 1986), and a modified action learning process modeled after Marquardt's (2004) framework as the context for the study. A phenomenological approach of interviews (Moustakas, 1994) was used to understand the participants' experience. The interviews were coded and analyzed using Atlas.ti analytic software. Two coresearchers coded and confirmed the findings. The action learning process of open-ended questions and no group dialogue allowed each participant to present challenges and to hear different perspectives in the form of questions. The study revealed 12 findings in three broad areas. The action learning process findings revealed that organizational, individual, and program context created the conditions and influenced the degree to which participants experienced transformative learning; The learning findings revealed that all participants learned from the different perspectives; however, not all participants experienced transformative learning. The leadership findings indicated that participants who experienced all or some of the elements of transformative learning developed transformational leadership behaviors.This study contributes to both theory and practice. First, it identifies the role of open-ended questions accompanied by limited dialogue in creating the conditions for self-awareness and transformative learning. Second, the study provides practical information on how to foster transformational leadership development and create interacting networks within an organization as a way to address leadership challenges through diverse perspectives. Third, this study highlights the use of peer-to-peer learning in fostering learning and leadership. Finally, it provides the basis for developing a framework of questions that address key transformative learning elements and transformational leadership behaviors.

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