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The impact of the Fulbright programme on participants’ leadership capacity

Vogel, B., Graça, A. M., Ahmadi, A. and Vlachou, M., (2018) The impact of the Fulbright programme on participants’ leadership capacity. Technical Report. Fulbright

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The Henley Centre for Leadership at Henley Business School, University of Reading, partnered with the US–UK Fulbright Commission, UK, to conduct a study with the aim of capturing and evaluating the impact that the experience of the Fulbright award has on its students’ and alumni’s leadership capacity – both during the award period and in the mid to long term, over the alumni’s careers. This research explores: the extent to which the Fulbright award helps to develop leadership capacity in programme members; what type of leadership capacity and tangible leadership behaviour is developed during the award; and how Fulbright students and alumni use this learning in their areas of responsibility and influence. The study utilises in-depth interviews with thirty-nine UK and US Fulbright students from a range of backgrounds and industries. In doing so, the study takes into account individual, contextual and programme factors that influence the impact of the Fulbright programme. The study derives the following headline insights:  Part 2 shows that none of the interviewees had originally considered the enhancement of leadership capabilities to be part of the Fulbright experience. Nevertheless, the study consistently found that Fulbright influences the development of both personal growth in underlying developmental factors (such as core beliefs, confidence, experimentation, proactivity and identity) that function as generic precursors of leadership capabilities, and leadership capacities of attitudes, skills and behaviours. Such development builds not only on activities, events and processes directly provided by Fulbright, but also on the studies and experiences that are made possible by Fulbright through their award programmes. Fulbright alumni also collectively show a distinct understanding of what leadership means to them along a set of individual and relational attributes, as well as an understanding of leadership as a collective process with broad focus and outcomes (see Figure 1, page 8, for an overview).  Part 3 highlights findings of how the Fulbright programme (pre, during and post award) influences the development of leadership capacity (see Figure 2, page 43, for an overview). The findings show: • how the Fulbright experience helped students to develop how they see themselves as leaders (heightened self-awareness; self-confidence; personal purpose and career trajectory; experimenting, autonomy and risk taking; proactivity; and resilience); • how the Fulbright experience helped students to develop leadership in situations of working with others (empathy; relationship skills; inspiring and involving others; speaking up; supporting others; and building confidence in others); • how the Fulbright experience developed students’ leadership regarding wider society and intercultural diversity (multicultural diversity and inclusion; legitimacy for voice and action; multidisciplinary diversity; tolerance; critical and independent inquiry; purposeful and outward-focused research; and humility and gratitude, for giving back to society). Furthermore, findings point to the impact of students’ changes in leadership capacity on their lives and careers. These findings revolve around students’ identity transformations, their personal and professional trajectories, and their continuous preference for experiences with multicultural contexts. The findings also revolve around Fulbright being a continuous resource with long-term impacts on inclusive, multicultural leadership capacity.  Part 4 offers a set of distinct conclusions and recommendations separated into the following periods: • pre-programme – for example: encourage students who see themselves as a non-fit to apply; identify candidates’ motivation to experiment with leadership; sustain multi-layered diversity in cohorts • during programme – for example: create awareness of leadership learning at programme start; provide a Fulbright ‘philosophy of leadership’ • post-programme – for example: strategic shift of Fulbright activities to the post-award phase; leadership learning element of programme debrief; continuous post-programme reflexive activities for personal growth These conclusions provide a springboard to consider future initiatives that advance the leadership capacity outcome of the Fulbright journey (see Figure 3, page 46).

Item Type:Report (Technical Report)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:87442


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