The Evidence Based Leadership Development Program Award
To encourage more schools to become interested in evidence-based leadership, we have launched the Evidence
Based Leadership Development Program (EBLDP) Award hosted by AOM (MED division) and sponsored by RSM. You
can learn more about the award on: https://award.evidence-based-leadership.org
Walking Our Evidence-Based Talk:
The Case of Leadership Development in Business Schools
Are business schools really evidence-based in their leadership development programs? While academics engage in research and base their work on evidence, it is not clear whether this applies to leadership development programs as well. This work examines this question and the factors that shape it.
Academics have lamented that practitioners do not always adopt scientific evidence in practice, yet while academics preach
evidence-based management (EBM), they do not always practice it. This paper extends prior literature on difficulties to
engage in EBM with insights from behavioral integrity (i.e., the study of what makes individuals and collectives walk their
talk). We focus on leader development, widely used but often critiqued for lacking evidence. Analyzing 60 interviews
with academic directors of leadership centers at top business schools, we find that the selection of programs does not
always align with scientific recommendations nor do schools always engage in high-quality program evaluation.
Respondents further indicated a wide variety of challenges that help explain the disconnect between business schools claiming
A but practicing B. Behavioral Integrity theory would argue these difficulties are rooted in the lack of an individually
owned and collectively endorsed identity, an identity of an evidence-based leader developer (EBLD). A closer inspection
of our data confirmed that the lack of a clear and salient EBLD identity makes it difficult for academics to walk their evidence-
based leader development talk. We discuss how these findings can help facilitate more evidence-based leader development
in an academic context.
Leroy et al. (2022). Walking our evidence-based talk. The case of leadership development in business school. Journal of
Leadership and Organization Studies, 29(1), 5–32. https://doi.org/10.1177/15480518211062563