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Developing Executives through the Exploration of Personal Histories: A Phenomenological Study of Transformative Learning in the Executive Development Process Open Access

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Although thousands of books and studies related to leadership have been completed over the past several years, there is no commonly held definition of leadership, leaving those who work to develop leaders in our organizations in a challenging position. This phenomenological study of transformative learning and executive development sought to further understand the nature of the transformative learning experience through the study of an executive-feedback process designed to help developing executives mature and learn, connecting early-childhood experiences to present-day behavior. This process, conducted by clinical psychologists in an organizational setting, is intended to bring these executives to a new level of awareness regarding the emotional and behavioral patterns manifested in their daily actions.This researcher used the framework of transformative learning to better understand this executive-development experience. This study answers calls in the literature for a better understanding of the transformative-learning process and the practical way transformative learning happens and explored what Buchel and Antunes (2007) called the "greatest opportunity for further research" (p. 308), which is assessing outcomes of executive development programs. Additionally this study informed research and practice related to executive development within organizations. An idealized model for executive intrapersonal skill development is developed and presented.

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