The formative capacity of momentous events and leadership development

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Purpose – The primary purpose of this paper is to explore how momentous events may contribute to leadership development. A second purpose is to show how the formative attributes of momentous events are linked to leader traits needed for effective leadership.

Design/methodology/approach – The leadership tripod is used as the relational framework for exploring the formative capacity of momentous events. The formative capacity of momentous events, however, is realized through the personal memories of those events, that is, through autobiographical memory. Autobiographical memory, then, will provide an additional more rudimentary framework for exploring momentous events; within this framework, the momentous event will be dissected in order to identify its basic attributes, to explore how these attributes affect the leadership structure, and to show how changes to the leadership structure develop leaders.

Findings – Attributes and formative mechanisms of momentous events were identified, as were leader traits necessary for developmental readiness. Also, six propositions were distilled from this research. These propositions guide the implications about leadership training.

Practical implications – First, this research provides insight for leader-situation interactions. Second, this research may provide guidance for strategies used in leadership development training.

Originality/value – This research provides three unique contributions to the literature: a focus on the experiential and relational aspects of leadership development; an analysis of the formative attributes and mechanisms of momentous events, along with the leader traits necessary for developmental readiness; and an exploration of momentous events as personal events memories.

Original Citation

Olivares, O.J. (2011). The formative capacity of momentous events and leadership development. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 32(8), 837-853. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437731111183766