It has been identified that the relevance of intervention and its impact was greater when it occurred at, or near the time of a significant learning episode. Burgoyne and Stewart (1976), Davies and Easter by-Smith (1984) and McCall et al. (1988) and later McCall (1998) placed emphasis towards greater salience of leadership learning as a consequence of contextualization through hardships, notable people, change of environment or difficult role assignments, rather than general de-contextualized learning through information transfer in classroom settings.
This important assertion has been affirmed through very recent research by Armstrong and Mahmud (2008). The notion of organizational context influencing learning and development also shapes socialized learning and leads to lessons that are relevant to managing and leading in specific contexts.
The importance of contextual influence on learning has been emphasized before with particular areas of learning theory, namely situated learning and community of practice, identity construction and social learning.
Learning from others in developmental relationships has been highlighted (Morrison et al., 1987; McCall et al., 1988; McCauley & Douglas, 1998) as both deliberate (as with mentors) and accidental (through daily contact with good or bad role models).
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