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Personal Leadership at Higher Education Institutions in the Netherlands

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Personal Leadership at Higher Education Institutions in the Netherlands

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Samenvatting

This thesis seeks to discover how personal leadership education functions in the Netherlands and to suggest recommendations for its improvement. To this end, personal leadership courses and students’ attitudes towards those courses at six higher education institutions were researched.
Personal leadership is a subject focused on the personal and professional development of students because according to the prevailing approach in personal leadership – the inside-out approach – it is necessary to work on personal traits in order to increase outer performance. This theory emerged from business science, where personal leadership is used by leaders to increase their effectivity. Personal leadership is defined in this paper by a series of basic concepts: self-awareness, paradigm shift, integrity, proactivity, and values.
The first section of findings describes personal leadership courses in schools and the practices used in classes. Each one of the courses differs in format and practices. All of them begin with self-awareness exercises. Students then work on their self-development by participating in group-works, training exercises, the writing of journals, self-reflection documents and the completion of assignments, some of which involve cooperation with external parties. Evaluation of these courses is, however, problematic, as students’ development is highly individual.
The second section of findings focuses on student’s attitudes towards personal leadership. Results have shown that students generally have a positive attitude towards personal leadership courses, although they benefit from the course much more when they are interested in personal development. Nevertheless, almost all the respondents stated that it was beneficial for them. Most of the students gained a greater insight of themselves, leading them to a realization of their strengths, weaknesses, values and life goals. The other benefits most commonly mentioned were an improvement in organizing and scheduling skills and increased effectivity. In their responses, students spoke of basic personal leadership concepts, which they understood and put into use. On the basis of these responses it can be concluded that personal leadership courses are meeting their objectives and it is recommended to further develop and improve them.
The recommendations made as a result of this survey are for more clarity and information on the course, i.e. what is expected from students and how it can be of benefit; beginning the course earlier, so students can benefit from the acquired theory from the beginning of their studies; an increased level of interaction inside class; diverse literature, to motivate students to think rather than just follow; cooperation with external stakeholders, in order to connect personal and professional development; and finally, longer courses (longer than 7 weeks) incorporated into more stages of a student's degree course.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2015
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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