Corresponding Author

Hannah E Jones


This research reinforces arguments for the use of adult vertical development theory to transform traditional leadership development practices to prepare leaders for the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Vertical leadership development strategies and practices were assessed in fifteen large organizations. Multiple factors impacted implementation of vertical development practices. The primary factor was the overall leadership development mindset (the organization’s learning strategy and its theory of individual change). Secondary factors include senior leader engagement, space for openness and vulnerability, capability and experience of practitioners, alignment in business processes, and expanded understanding of risk-taking. Our results illustrate that accelerating leadership capacity through the implementation of vertical development practices requires significant personal and organizational commitment.

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