Toward an Adlerian Leadership Model I: Introduction, Lit Review, and Methodology

Toward an Adlerian Leadership Model I: Introduction, Lit Review, and Methodology

Methodology and Research Design

3.1 Methodology

The inquiry method applied in this study was designed from a narrative phenomenological approach, which utilized an open-ended question interview format. This is a qualitative analysis of narrative data and this approach focused on the lived experiences of the participant’s leadership, as told from their own stories and narration. The main purpose of phenomenology is to distill the individual experiences of a phenomenon and develop a consolidated description of the essence of the experience for all the participants (Creswell, 1998).
The narrative approach is appropriate and utilized in this study as this type of research explored and provided insight into real-life situations, problems, and perspectives of leadership. The conclusions of this study provided a better understanding of the traits of today’s successful leaders in Canadian organizations. The questions that were developed and posed to participants during the interviews were based on further clarification from the review of literature and business journals.

3.2 Research Design

The qualitative interviews were approximately 30 minutes in duration. Open-ended interview questions were conducted in real time in person (at the participant’s business office), by phone or via Skype. Prior to the start of the interview, participants were given a brief description of the purpose of the study, as well, the duration of the interview and confidentially was discussed. Once the consent form was signed and returned, the investigator asked if there were any questions before the interview started. Interviews were recorded and the investigator took notes during this time. To ensure confidentiality of the participants, their names, the companies they work for and other confidential information have been omitted. Recordings and notes will be securely stored with passwords and encryptions and then deleted after one year of the date of the interview. Where the participant expressed interest in receiving a copy, a final report will be sent to them either by email or hardcopy.

3.2.1 Questions for Participants

Each participant was asked the same set of questions.

3.2.2 Sample and Population/ Participant Selection

To be eligible to partake and volunteer in this research, participants currently held leadership roles and lead a small to medium-sized organization. They also met the following criteria:

– Professional title: CEO (or equivalent i.e. president or managing director)

– At least five years of leadership experience (in the capacity of CEO, president or managing director)

– Age: 18 years and older (or legal working age within the local area the individual is based)

– Gender: not specified

– Physical health: in good health

– Language: English (able to speak and have full comprehension without a translator)

– Employment status: currently/recently employed as a leader of a Canadian-based organization

– Organization: operations within Canada (with a minimum of 50 employees)

– Read, understood, complied and signed the consent form

Participation was on a volunteer basis. No remuneration, reward or incentive was offered.

A total of six participants were interviewed, all were mainly based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, and they all worked for different organizations and industries. A number of recruitment practices were employed in seeking out qualified volunteers, the majority of volunteers were from the investigator’s network. Interviews occurred via in-person, phone or Skype and data was collected in Toronto, Canada.

Data Analysis

An interview approach using questions that focused on the participant’s narrative leadership experience was used. Data collected consisted of the participant’s spoken words focused on recounting their experiences in leading their current organization. This approach emphasized identifying the common themes shared by the participants.

Each of the six interviews were recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were analyzed line by line to identify common themes, content, approaches, styles, leadership traits, and any other general information/insights related to leadership. These themes were consolidated on a spreadsheet and colour coded for ease of identification. Once identified, these common themes were then categorized into one of the three Adlerian constructs: social awareness (including social interest and embeddedness), purposive behaviour (including goal directedness), and encouragement.

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About the Author

Joyce Lai

Joyce LaiJoyce Lai is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in clinical and organizational psychology at The Professional School of Psychology. She also holds a masters degree in clinical and counseling psychology from the Adler Graduate Professional School and completed the core Co-Active program from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Leveraging her corporate background and experience, Joyce supports executives and professionals in transition build greater confidence, navigate through their careers, develop stronger leadership and interpersonal skills within the workplace and social communities.

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