Gower Handbook of Leadership and Management Development (Fifth Edition).
Article Type:
Book review
Books (Book reviews)
Saini, Debi S.
Pub Date:
Name: Indian Journal of Industrial Relations Publisher: Shri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Economics Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Shri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources ISSN: 0019-5286
Date: April, 2011 Source Volume: 46 Source Issue: 4
NamedWork: Gower Handbook of Leadership and Management Development, 5th ed. (Nonfiction work)
Reviewee: Gold, Jeff; Thorpe, Richard

Accession Number:
Full Text:
Gower Handbook of Leadership and Management Development (Fifth Edition), by Jeff Gold, Richard Thorpe, Alan Mumford (Eds.), Gower Publishing Ltd., Farnham, 2010.

Today's world of business is in a tumultuous and chaotic state. Organizations are constantly searching new strategies, styles, skills and change interventions that can help them take on competitors and thus derive competitive advantage. Globalization is impacting not just the economic but also social, political, environmental and cultural environment. So a substantial departure is being witnessed in the ways in which things are being done or shaped today compared to the days before. The notions of management propriety of yester years are being reexamined. The needs and voice of Gen Y are becoming more salient in devising future course of actions in different spheres of people management. The paradigm is also moving from the modernism discourse to post-modernism, which, among others, underscores individual diversity of perspectives rather than the supremacy of collectivist thinking. Individualism is growing in its space to the length and breadth of the globe through globalization's convergence effect, which is causing some semblance of commonality in the management practices that are being adopted. There are full-blown models of neo-unitarist strategic human resource management (SHRM) that are being successfully practiced by several leading organizations thus threatening pluralism in employee relations, which has ruled the roost since the Second World War at least in the developed world. The discipline of SHRM is increasing in its importance and is becoming a major focus of attention of the strategists. Apart from managing and leading human resource development processes (including management development), leadership building is becoming a major strategic priority of leading companies and a lot of investment is taking place in this area. The leadership concept is now being democratized, and companies want to see thousands of leaders across the length and breadth of the organization through vigorous leadership development programs. These programs are now a major part of management development in several global organizations.

A good number of especially global companies have taken the lead in setting up corporate universities. In India, for example, the Airtel group has set up Bharti Learning Systems where more than 600 full time people are working to support the knowledge updation processes of people employed in the Bharti group of companies. The Infosys has built a 300 acre Leadership Development Institute in Mysore, which is known to be world class. With the rise of the knowledge economy, association of the term leadership is becoming essential with management development; though many people see quite some hype in the leadership concept when compared to managing, which itself was seen to be carrying a superior connotation compared to administration, as early writers on management had argued. Despite the controversies, it is now almost settled that the processes of learning and leadership are seen as central to organizational change.

Perhaps, seeing the above writings on the wall, the editors of the book under review have decided to change its title. The first edition of this handbook was published in 1973. It has so far been published as Gower's Handbook of Management Development; the 4th edition was published in 1995. The present edition of the book is the 5th of this Handbook. The editors have added the words "Leadership" to the erstwhile title of "Management Development." The earlier editions largely focused themselves on the relationship between management development and managerial effectiveness. Some chapters in the book also dealt with the issue of relationship between management development and culture-both national and organizational. Over the years, the 4th edition of the book has been looked at by the reader quite respectfully as a major reference book on management development. The current edition is a reflection of the fact that consequent on the remarkable changes in the global economy and business, new issues in leading people development have come to the fore as the 21st century is in its dawn. From emphasis on management development in general, it now also focuses on leadership development, even as management development is also a major issue in view. There can be seen a shift from pluralistic workplace order to the emergence of a neounitarist workplace order reflecting the supremacy of managerial prerogatives on the one hand, and the wishes and idiosyncrasies of people in the organization on the other; though the book as such does not mention this point. Interestingly, the book's contents reflect focus on both management and leadership--the former being more of transactional nature and the latter focusing on visioning, inspiring, mentoring, and directing organizational members' march towards the goal realization. The book's chapters can also be seen as focusing the analyses in terms of public-private, small-SMEs-large and professional and knowledge-based organizations.

In terms of the leadership canvass a larger number of issues have surfaced in the literature. For example, looking to the Google Company's leadership model, one sees a critical focus on diverse individuals--or what Peter Drucker would refer to as monomaniacs--and innovation. Overall, some of the new issues in leadership and management development today are CSR (corporate social responsibility), ethics, organizational future, and even issues in the downturn. More emphasis is noticeable on these areas in this edition.

The book consists of 30 chapters written by several well-known academics and practitioners in the field of leadership and management development. This includes the first chapter that has been written by two of the three co-editors of this handbook. It highlights the current state of the subject in the 21st century. These 30 chapters have been classified into five parts. Part one consists of two chapters on contemporary issues in the thematic. Nine chapters in Part two have been titled under the rubric of strategic work in leadership and management development. Among others, this part focuses on issues such as crafting a leadership development strategy; leadership, management and organizational development; leadership and management development in SMEs; diversity management; leadership ethics; and developing the board through corporate governance reform. Some of the more recent basics of the subject have been placed in Part three that has been titled as basics: the chapters in it include issues such as assessment of leaders and managers; talent management; learning issues for managers and leaders; choosing exceptional events for informal learning; and evaluation of management development professionals. Eight chapters that are considered as advanced processes and tools by the co-editors have been placed in Part four. This part includes issues such as Neuro-linguist programming (NLP); leading reflection; feedback and 360 degree development; quality issues in executive coaching; intuitive intelligence; critical action learning; mentoring for leaders and managers; and e-learning. The last part titled widening horizons includes six chapters, which deal with issues such as: leadership and management development in voluntary and community sectors; leading and managing in global contexts; conversational learning; public sector leadership and management development; and developing leaders as future thinkers.

If one looks at all the leadership theories that have emerged in the leadership discourse over the years, which have also been dealt with in the book, it is understandable that the paradigm is moving from the traits leadership, hero leadership and charismatic leadership to more of transformational leadership, leaders as reflexive practitioners, and servant leadership. This is quite in synch with the notion of emergent strategy (talked by Henry Minzberg) which perhaps has hinted that the days of rational-strategy making are few and far between, and more strategies will emerge in this chaotic business world as it is becoming more and more unpredictable so as to legitimize rational strategy-making. Likewise, the book has ably dealt with the pointers towards the above approaches to leadership and the scope of management development within each of these. The book takes cognizance of the fact that today's leaders have to give a shared significance to the organizational members that makes available to them direction and guidance about their desired behaviors so as to realize the vision of the organization. This is very close to what has been elsewhere referred to as building organizational leadership brand as one of the roles of leadership and HR department by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood in a recent book on leadership. For, people who are working below them do not necessarily require to be constantly guided. But since they are aware of how things are being done in the organization, their work needs to be facilitated where the leader acts as the catalyst. So the leader converses with them and aligns their activities with the organizational vision. With these perspectives in view, the book has ably handled various issues in management development and how leadership facilitates these roles, functions and competencies. Amongst many thoughtfully-developed chapters I especially liked the one on leading and managing in global context by James and Collins; it deals with the need of the hour in today's business context. It provides a number of case studies reflecting how the leaders in them were managing overseas assignments, cross-cultural working, competency frameworks, CSR, and tailoring their leadership development strategy to their needs. Likewise, the last chapter on developing leaders as future thinkers requires mention; it has presented an interesting model of future management thinking envisaging five future glasses.

This book is a fine addition to the literature on leadership and management development. It takes into view the contemporary needs of those who are entrusted with management development as also of academics and researchers in the field. The book should go a long way in building an edifice for those expected to ensure strategic leadership in management development. Even as the chapters have been mostly contributed by academics from OB-HRM area, the language used is less laden with jargon and therefore is likely to see a greater degree of acceptability for managers and business strategists; even as this reviewer would have liked to see among the contents some discussion on psychological contract, and empowerment as management development interventions. One would have also liked to see in it a fuller chapter expounding leading management development as part of learning organization, though there is an insightful chapter (no. 6) titled: strategies for leadership and executive development, but its focus is quite different. Despite this, it goes to the credit of the contributors that the book's contents though are mainly analytical but also prescriptive. Evidence shows that more and more managers now read management literature brought out by management academics; this has been described as the emergence of "the Heathrow Management Theory'. They are showing greater propensity to evolve themselves as per the changed thinking revealed in the research on which a management book has been written. The editors of this volume and the publishers, Gower, deserve compliments for bringing out this edited volume under the new rubric.

Debi S. Saini

Professor of HRM

Management Development Institute

Mehrauli Road

Gale Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.