Original Research

A case study of the evolving management of leadership development in the retail banking sector

Ajay M. Jivan
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 18 | a1155 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v18i0.1155 | © 2020 Ajay M. Jivan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 January 2019 | Published: 18 March 2020

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Ajay M. Jivan, Vantage Lab, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: Leadership and its development continue to be an urgent and critical priority for firms. As a field of practice and research, one observes that leadership development continues to be characterised by the failure to achieve its outcomes in spite of the scale of firms’ investment in it and the availability of a rich repertoire of developmental methods. Therefore, there is a need to understand how leadership development is configured and managed within firms as a bounded function, as programmes and as learning and development processes.

Research purpose: The study explored how leadership development is articulated, configured and managed within the retail banking sector in South Africa; in particular, the retail banks and the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA).

Motivation for the study: There is a dearth of research on how the purpose of leadership development is defined by and within firms and, relatedly, how the management of leadership development has evolved within these organisations.

Research approach/design and method: The research comprised a multi-site, qualitative case study that utilised semi-structured interviews at five retail banks, the BANKSETA and the local business school that hosted the BANKSETA International Executive Development Programme (IEDP). Thematic analysis was used for the within and cross-case analysis of the data.

Main findings: The study illustrated how the institutional dynamics, contingencies and compromises inform the evolving management of leadership development within organisations. It traced the evolving purposes and the internal and external differentiation of the Leadership Development Centres (LDCs) of the retail banks and the BANKSETA IEDP. These illustrate how leadership development as a function, centre, programme and process is shaped over time. This includes the sampled stakeholders’ developing capabilities, their internal and external partnerships, their different positions, and the contestations and integration challenges they contend with.

Practical/managerial implications: The study provides insights on the evolving management of leadership development, in particular the capabilities, roles, partnerships and identity work that needs to be grappled with.

Contribution/value-add: The research can help practitioners diagnose and manage their firm’s evolving capabilities and detail a road map for managing and innovating leadership development.


leadership development; innovation; partnerships; platform; disintermediation; intermediation


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