Developing Leadership for Increasing Complexity: A Review of Online Graduate Leadership Programs

Leadership education must evolve to keep pace with the growing recognition that effective leadership happens in a complex environment and is as much a systemic variable as a personal one. As part of a program review process, a graduate leadership program at a private Midwestern university conducted a qualitative review of 18 online graduate programs in leadership education. In the absence of a discipline or accrediting body to govern leadership degree programs, we utilized the integrating framework of complexity leadership theory (CLT), as well as two professional societies, to understand how the curricula and competencies of online graduate education align and diverge to meet the changing assumptions and challenges of leadership.