In the summer of 2009, Ivey Business School assembled a multi-disciplinary faculty team to host candid discussions with more than 300 senior business, public sector and not-for-profit leaders from across Canada, New York, London, England and Hong Kong to examine the true state of leadership in the 21st century.
Four central questions were explored:
- What went wrong with leadership that contributed to the 2008-2009 financial crisis?
- Was the problem confined to the few organizations at the epicenter of the crisis or was it widespread in both private and public sectors?
- What can we learn from those organizations and leaders who anticipated the crisis and avoided it or who coped well throughout?
- What do we need to do to prepare the current generation of leaders to deal with the kinds of challenges that they will face in the future?
The research group of Ivey Professors Jeffrey Gandz, Mary Crossan and Gerard Seijts and Ivey Dean Carol Stephenson discovered a powerful consensus that a failure in leadership was indeed a root cause, and that it was not confined to organizations or leaders at the epicentre of the crisis. Public and private sector, regulators, central banks, Wall Street and Main Street companies, institutions responsible for leadership and governance education and theory - all shared responsibility.
The result was a book called Leadership on Trial, which, among other important outcomes, defined the direction of research for the Institute in the areas of leader competencies, character and commitment.
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