In recent years, much has been written about leadership development as a tool to ensure organisations an adequate supply of leaders. It is generally accepted that said leadership is a set of skills which can be developed by means of a sequence of planned interventions. To date, however, leadership development theory has failed to recognise the possibility of the differential experiences of individuals from diverse backgrounds. This study examines the possibility of differential experiences in a Retail Group‟s leadership development programme by examining the perceptions of four race and gender groups who participated in the same development programme. Data was collected means of series of sequential intersectional focus groups. Responses were gathered with a semi-structured discussion guide, which were recorded by using digital voice recorder and written notes. All recordings and notes were transcribed and imported into Atlas.ti for analysis. Thematic coding was used to identify themes within group responses, as well as across the different groups. The results indicate support for existing literature. In particular, that of black females possibly being at a “double disadvantage” when included in leadership development programmes, that gender and race shapes how experiences are perceived, and that intersectionality is an appropriate approach when investigating possible differential experiences across groups within a development programme. Group differences, however, were not of such a significant degree that it explained large group differences in success rates on the programme. Nor do the findings justify single identity development programmes. The research did, however, lay the foundation for further inquiry.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2012.