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‘Building Leadership Capacity for Change as the Norm’


Deadline for paper submission April 3rd 2017


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JOCM Call for Papers "Building Capacity for Change as Norm"



Guest Editors

Dr. Kerrie Fleming, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Ashridge Executive Education at Hult International Business School, UK

Professor Carla Millar, Ashridge Fellow and Professor of International Management, University of Twente, NL



This Special Issue will address the challenges for those leaders facing pervasive and endless organisational change, disruption and uncertainty. Despite prolific leadership theory which assumes predictability and reliable command and control options, many executives need to operate in environments of constant change, both externally and within their organisations. They face challenges of uncertainty, disagreements and unpredictability and need to develop some key competencies to navigate this wildly challenging and changing context. Yet these are the business leaders who are too busy to take the time, firstly to understand what capacities they need as individuals, and secondly how to build these skills through relevant leadership and management development. With this in mind, this Special Issue aims to focus on what is involved for leaders in effectively navigating and embracing these “change as the norm”, highly complex and global environments and how to hone their individual skills.


Al Haddad and Kotnour (2015) describe this transition of dilemmas and priorities as the shift from managing mass markets and tangible properties to innovation, human resources and knowledge management. With these challenges in mind, contemporary change leaders need skills such as; tuning into the environment, challenging the prevailing organisational wisdom, communicating a compelling wisdom, building coalitions, transferring ownership to a working team, learning to preserve and making everyone a hero (Kanter, 2000). However, in order to develop and hone such skills, the reality is that most global leaders are often too committed to navigating complex survival and growth strategies to attend extensive leadership development programmes to cultivate these abilities. With this in mind, this Special Issue aims to collate the latest research which will encapsulate how leaders both navigate these dynamic environments and develop their abilities through experience and reflection. Pritchard and Chesterman’s (2011) seminal work on complex projects is a prime example of this approach which has strong evidence of both learning transfer but also evidence of increasing reflection abilities, instigating a feedback culture to help increase self-awareness and awareness of others, communication and performance. This allows leaders to identify some structured actions which can continuously extract the learning from each situation and consolidate these lessons to ultimately increase leadership abilities within their own specific context. This approach to learning using mindful engagement to develop leadership and management capacity is also gaining traction across the literature (Ashfort and Ross, 2012; Bartsch and Mehrwert, 2012, De Rue and Scott, 2009; Gitsham, 2012; Janson, 2012, Muir, 2014).  Further theoretical and empirical work will improve our understanding of how, on a daily basis, the reality of leadership and management today involves learning new skills, demonstrating multiple competences and managing multiple situations.


Proposed Special Issue outcome

This Special Issue will encourage academic researchers across the globe to search for and gather evidence of the impact of various approaches on evolving leadership and management capabilities in driving systematic growth in “change as the norm” environments. It will help to revolutionise the existing leadership literature which has endlessly offered formulas to engender heroic or transformational type leadership often with little consideration of the individuality of both leaders and their ambiguous change contexts. The theoretical contribution and practical importance of the special issue would be to address these gaps in the international literature, provide a focus on the future, on innovation, taking leadership and management development aspects of change management forward through theory and analysis of practical implementation.


We are seeking contributions reflecting different perspectives and methodological approaches that explore innovation in leadership development for change at the macro, meso or micro level of analysis, and across a range of international contexts, cultures or industry sectors. While empirical contributions are encouraged, theoretical and conceptual papers which address the contextualization of leadership and management development in the current global context of change, wider aspects of the debate within leadership development are particularly welcome.


Specific topics that would be of interest to the special issue editors include, but not exclusively so, the following, in the context of the title of the SI: “Building Leadership Capacity for Change as the Norm”


•           Leadership and management through current complexities – key skills required for a VUCA environment

•           The multiple capabilities of the change leader i.e ability to frame and reframe during change, managing resistance and resistors of change.

•           The mundaneness of leading organisational change – change in the small gestures in contrast to the heroic

•           Maintaining sustainable leadership practices during rapid change– stakeholder versus shareholder perspectives

•           Reshaping the reflexes of leaders incorporating self-awareness and openness to dialogue as a means of enquiry

•           Action research in evolving leadership and management effectiveness during the change process

•           How to develop leadership capabilities in the changing workplace



We welcome both empirical and conceptual papers on topics related to the theme of the special issue. We are looking for a sound theoretical or practical motivation which helps to build some key literature and prompts some future research, as well as offering proven examples of what change leaders will look like in the future. For any queries contact either of the editors: Kerrie Fleming [log in to unmask] or Carla Millar [log in to unmask]


Review Process and Submission

      Papers should be between 5000 and 6000 words in length. This includes all text including references and appendices.

      Manuscripts will be double-blind reviewed.

      Manuscripts are submitted with the understanding that they are original, unpublished works and are not being submitted elsewhere

      Manuscripts should be submitted by April 3rd 2017

      Manuscripts should follow the style guidelines of the Journal of Organizational Change Management: http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=jocm

      All papers must be submitted, and will be reviewed and accepted through the ScholarOne online system: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jocm

      Please indicate clearly that your submission is for the special issue on “Building Leadership Capacity for Change as the Norm”.   




Al Haddad, S., and Kotnour, T. (2015) ‘Integrating the organisational change literature: a model for successful change’, Journal of Organisational Change Management, 28(2), 214-262.


Ashford, S., Ross, S.M, (2012) ‘Developing as a leader: The power of mindful engagement’. Organizational Dynamics, Vol 41(2), Apr-Jun, 2012. pp. 146-154.


De Rue, D., Scott (2009) ‘Developing leaders via experience: The role of developmental challenge, learning orientation, and feedback availability, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 94(4), Jul, 2009. pp. 859-875


Bartsch, G., A. Mehrwert (2012) ‘Emotional learning: Managerial development by corporate volunteering’. Journal of Management Development, Vol 31(3), 2012. pp. 253-262.


Gitsham, M. (2012) ‘Experiential learning for leadership and sustainability at IBM and HSBC’. Journal of Management Development, Vol 31(3), 2012. pp. 298-307.


Janson, A. (2008) Extracting leadership knowledge from formative experiences.

US: Sage Publications.


Kanter, R.M., (2000) ‘Leaders with passion, conviction and confidence can use several techniques to take charge of change rather than react to it’, Ivey Business Journal, Vol 64, No. 5, p.32.


Muir, D. (2014) ‘Mentoring and leader identity development: A case study’ Human Resource Development Quarterly, Vol 25(3), Fall 2014. pp. 349-379.


Pritchard, S., Voller, S., Chesterman, D. & Nicklen, S. (2011) Leading Complex Projects: a collection of working papers, limited to members of the Leading complex Projects Action Research Consortium.



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