LDI International, in addition to the programs and services described on our website (www.ldi-intl.com), is pleased to announce a new, innovative, and collaborative program called the Scholar-in-Residence Program © (SRIP) designed by LDI Chief Leadership Development Officer, Dr. Karin Klenke, which is intended to foster practitioner-scholar alliances. In leadership, practice and research must go hand in hand, be integrated and mutually reinforce each other. The research/practice complimentarity in leadership and management mirrors other interdependencies such as those of nature and nurture or heredity and environment. In many instances, these alliances are controversial. This is no different when it comes to the respective contributions of practice and research/theory to our understanding and advancement of leadership. Leadership practice without research is unfounded and leadership research without practice is self-destructive.
The LDI International SIRP is analogous to Executive-in-Residence programs offered by many business schools. So far in leadership, the dialog between practitioners and scholars has been more or less unidirectional with practitioners sharing their expertise and experience with students and faculty in business schools. In other word, academics are learning primarily from executives. However, few attempts have been made to narrow the academic-practitioner gap by making the exchange a two-way highway with practitioners also learning from scholars in their respective business environments. Consequently there are few platforms where scholars and practitioners jointly and interdependently debate or share knowledge.
The relevance of academic research for practitioners has been the subject of a lively debate for many years. Practitioners often see the scholar as the all-knowing professor, out of touch with practice instead of a collaborator in knowledge generation and sharing. Consequently, many on both sides of the fence have questioned whether two-way dialogue between scholars and practitioners is doable although it is a requisite for a viable organizational knowledge base if it is to serve as a major source of competitive advantage. Among the few attempts that have been made are conferences that promote practitioner engagement in scholarly debates and journals for which academics review recent research and summarize it for practitioner consumption. However, conferences designed to engage practitioners in actuality do not attract large numbers of practicing managers and leaders. Similarly, with respect to publications, the fact remains that practitioners seldom read academic journals and when they do, are often disillusioned by the language and esoteric content presented. As a result, for the most part practitioners do not make the most of the research produced by leadership and management scholars.
The purpose of the LDI International SIRP is to provide a counterpart to the Executive-in-Residence program offered by business schools by bringing scholars into the business environment of practitioners. The scholar brings to the partnership a body of knowledge including leadership theories and empirical research on a wide array of leadership and management topics and invites executives, managers and other members of the sponsoring organization to challenge theories and research findings, debate applications first in the context of their own companies, then examine them in similar contexts such as competing companies or related industry and finally in a broad range of organizations.
Hallmarks of the LDI International SIRP are:
- the identification of organization-specific problems or issues around which the practitioner/scholar interactions are structured;
- the integration of the Scholar-in-Residence into the daily life of the sponsoring organization, and
- opportunities for practitioners to deploy their conceptual and analytical tools in the critical evaluation of leadership and management research.
The goal of SIPR is to contribute to the organization’s knowledge base by generating information of practical value based on the premise that successful practitioner-scholar partnerships can lead to research that is relevant to practitioners, encourages greater utilization of academic research by practitioners and keeps the scholar cognizant of the realities of the practice of leadership and management.
Scholar-in-Residence Program Structure, Processes and Methods
SIRPs can take on a variety of forms and are driven by the needs and interests of the participating organizations. They may involve broad leadership issues such as enhancing leadership effectiveness or may be more narrowly focused on specific topics such as creating an effective leadership succession plan. Nevertheless, the projects developed and implemented under the auspices of SRPs typically share several characteristics and procedures:
- Projects are designed around the interests in a leadership or management research that is of relevance to many constituencies within the organization
- Regularly scheduled research briefing prepared by the Scholar-in-Residence followed by panel discussions among members of the organization
- Establishment of knowledge and learning networks in the sponsoring organization
- Focus on quality and state-of-the art leaning experiences for both parties
- Determination of measurable SRIP outcomes
- Opportunities for personal and professional renewal.
Once a topic of shared relevance has been identified – usually through organizational surveys and interviews with member at different levels of the organization, an individualized SRIP is developed and presented to the organization’s executive team outlining the goals of the project and the methods by which the goals are to be achieved. Methods typically involve a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitatively, individual, team and organizational assessments will be used to develop a composite picture of the organization, its leaders and managers and the nature of the problem/issue the organizations selected to focus on.
Qualitatively, interviews, participative observation, appreciative inquiry, ethnography, appreciative inquiry and leadership cartography are research strategies particularly relevant to SIRPs. Interviews represent a fundamental qualitative research method that underlies many specific techniques such as case studies. Participant observation is often used to augment data collected through interviews. Appreciative inquiry (AI) is based on the 4-D cycle of inquiry (Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. Ethnographic SIRPs require a minimum of six months engagement and result in a comprehensive description of the culture of the organizations and subcultures that may exist within a company. The Scholar-in-Residence as an ethnographer is immersed in the day-to-day activities of the organization and its members recording behaviors, language and interactions to gain an insider’s view of organizational dynamics, problems and challenges. Finally, leadership cartography© is a research tool created by LDI International’s Chief Leadership Development Officer, Dr. Karin Klenke, that combines geographical, cognitive, and strategic mapping tools to produce a causal map of the organization with structural, procedural, interorganizational, global and ethical peaks and valleys.
Benefits of Scholar-in-Residence Programs
Why should your organization engage in an SIRP? What benefits will your organization derive from the engagement, interactions and communications between your executives, selected members of the organization and the Scholar-in-Residence? Some take-aways of practitioner/scholar partnerships include:
- An increased understanding of the dynamics and workings of the organization and its leaders;
- Recognition that leadership is not only the responsibility of management but is dispersed throughout the organization so that each individual has opportunities to exercise leadership based on his or her expertise and nature of the task at hand and can be held accountable for his or her contribution to leadership effectiveness of the organization;
- Development of new insights pertaining to organizational and leadership effectiveness and greater preparedness to compete more effectively in the organization’s industry;
- Return to the workplace with new skills and perspectives;
- Experience of personal and professional renewal
- Consultation with representatives of organization leaders, executives, division/department heads, and employees to develop the SIRP;
- Finalization of the SIRP program for formal approval to the organization;
- Development for timetable for the execution of the SIRP;
- Selection and coordination of seminars, workshops, and assessments;
- Maintenance of communication using a variety of media including onsite visits, e-mail, telephone and video conferencing;
- Completion of interim and final reports;
- Initiation of jointly determined follow-up research that builds on the outcomes of the SIRP.
- Negotiation of a SIRP contract that is mutually agreeable to both parties to cover consulting fees, travel expenses, lodging, meals and miscellaneous expenses incurred by the Scholar-in-Residence;
- Provisions for space to conduct SIR related programs, meetings, and activities on organizational premises or selected off-site locations;
- Support employee participation by granting time off work.
Successful SIRPs are based on shared expectations of how to create the conditions for the effective exchange of information, open communication between all participants, transparency of assumptions and a willingness to interact with external stakeholders. SIRP engagements may range between 3-12 months; the frequency of meetings is determined by the nature and complexity of the project, availability of managers and senior executives to participate in research briefings, and resources the organization is willing to commit to the SIRP.