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Threshold Concepts and Modalities for Teaching Leadership Practice

49 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2011 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012

Jeffrey Yip

Claremont Graduate University

Joseph A. Raelin

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Date Written: August 10, 2011

Abstract

Can the teaching of leadership transform practice? What concepts and modalities are best suited to do so? This paper builds on Meyer and Land’s (2003) theory of threshold concepts to examine how students learn and experience leadership as a complex and multi-faceted practice. Threshold concepts are conceptual gateways, opening up new and previously inaccessible ways of thinking about a field. In an ethnographic account using participant observation, analysis of student papers, and in-depth interviews, the authors identified two threshold concepts that had a transformational impact on students: (i) situational leadership and (ii) shared leadership. In addition, they found three modalities that supported the learning of threshold concepts: (i) variation, (ii) enactment, and (iii) reflection. The paper concludes by citing the broader implications for the research and teaching of leadership practice.

Keywords: threshold concepts, threshold modalities, action learning, leadership development, learning, practice

JEL Classification: J24, L00, L20, M00, M10, M12, M14, M53, M54

Suggested Citation

Yip, Jeffrey and Raelin, Joseph A., Threshold Concepts and Modalities for Teaching Leadership Practice (August 10, 2011). Management Learning, Forthcoming ; Boston U. School of Management Research Paper No. 2011-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1907975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1907975

Jeffrey Yip (Contact Author)

Claremont Graduate University

150 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Joseph A. Raelin

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.poe.neu.edu

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