AN EXPLORATION OF CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF WHETHER EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IS A TRAIT, OR IF IT CAN BE TAUGHT
Van Der Bijl, Celine
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study was an exploration of Cardiff Metropolitan University students’ perceptions on whether being an effective leader is a trait, or if it is a process that can be taught. It aimed to seek the students’ opinions on the origins of leadership and whether their leadership skills had developed in university, and also, what had prompted the development. The researcher conducted both primary and secondary research in order to meet the aims of the study. The secondary research was collected to seek the existing trends and beliefs associated with leadership. The primary research was obtained with the use of semi-structured interviews to uncover the students’ perceptions of leadership. The findings from the interviews established that the students believed that possessing certain traits was fundamental to being an effective leader. However, the majority of the students also believed that leadership can be taught and academic knowledge on leadership theories is an important element of this process. It was shown that effective leadership is dependent on the situation that arises and an effective leader in one situation may not be one in another situation. Since attending Cardiff Metropolitan University, the students’ leadership skills have developed and improved and having the opportunity there to be able to practice the role of a leader, by leading other students aided the development. Despite the students stating that the possession of traits was needed to be an effective leader, the conclusion of the study was that effective leadership is a process that can be taught. Cardiff Metropolitan University Students have successfully developed and improved their leadership skills by learning academic leadership theories and practicing the role of a leader, by leading fellow students
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