INTERDISCIPLINARY LEADERSHIP: A Leadership Development Model for Scholar-Practitioners

Leadership scholar-practitioners seldom need to be sold on the benefits of working together. Rather leadership educators want to know how to teach adult leadership scholar-practitioners how to work together across differences. The aim of this paper is to guide leadership development practitioners on how to nurture leadership that can address the complex problems the changing global arena demand of us today and into the future. We argue when preparing adult leadership scholar-practitioners, using adult learning theories and paying attention to the interdisciplinary roots of the field of leadership might lead to better learning and engagement with real world challenges. In this paper we present a leadership development model we call interdisciplinary leadership. First, we discuss the interdisciplinary roots of leadership. Second, we describe interdisciplinary leadership as a tapestry – an intricate combination of identities, practices, and outcomes used to prepare people to address complex problems. Finally, we describe the mission, structure, curriculum, and instructional strategies that can be used by leadership educators when applying interdisciplinary leadership. This model acknowledges the identity, practices, and outcomes needed to develop scholar-practitioners of leadership and provides practical techniques to help leadership educators prepare leaders to work together across differences to address complex problems.

Keywords: leadership development, interdisciplinary leadership model, complex problems, scholar-practitioner, adult development