Leadership in International Development
A Volume in the International Leadership Association series Building Leadership Bridges, published by Emerald Group Publishing

Call for Chapter Proposals Deadline: May 1, 2017

Emerald Group Publishing Logo Experienced leaders in international development are invited to submit a 500-word description of your leadership experience and how you have experienced gender, context, culture, and sustainability as drivers. Following an editorial review, selected submitters will be contacted and invited to work with the editors to write their stories for inclusion in the book.

If your abstract is selected, you will be asked to reflect on a series of guiding questions as you write your stories of leading in international development. These questions are included below to inspire you and give you ideas about how to frame your narratives once your chapter proposal is accepted. We welcome interaction between chapter authors and volume editors during the development and revision(s) of the accepted chapters, so that any questions that arise will be negotiated and addressed. However, please note that an accepted proposal does not guarantee inclusion in the book. Final acceptance will depend upon the finished product.

Please read below to learn more about the potential impact of the book, complete submission details, and guiding questions.

Volume Co-Editors

Randal Joy Thompson Randal Joy Thompson is a scholar-leader in international development who has lived and worked in countries around the globe for several decades. She is particularly interested in how the changing global landscape and emerging challenges have impacted successful leadership. She has advised governments around the world on system changes that will result in benefits to their citizens and has written about her experiences in academic journals. She has recently written chapters for ILA publications on grassroots leadership, inclusive leadership, theorizing women's leadership, and women global leaders.

Julia Storberg-WalkerJulia Storberg-Walker is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Executive Leadership Program at George Washington University, and an Affiliate Faculty at GW's Global Women's Institute. Julia serves as Editor-in-Chief of Human Resource Development Review, a theory and conceptual journal. She is also an Associate at the Taos Institute, a "a community of scholars and practitioners concerned with the social processes essential for the construction of reason, knowledge, and human value." In 2015, Julia was recognized for her contributions to women and leadership theory when she received the International Leadership Association's Women and Leadership Affinity Group's Outstanding Scholar Award. She has published and presented globally on theoretical and conceptual development for applied disciplines and she incorporates a variety of critically informed research strategies in her theorizing projects. She is currently focused on feminist theorizing as a catalyst for leading social change.

Justification for and Potential Impact of the Book

The gap between leadership theories and leadership practice may be no greater than that found in the context of international development. Leaders in multilateral and bilateral development organizations, NGOs, and private foundations and companies, along with leaders in developing countries, have driven the dramatic changes in approach to international development in response to the changing relationship between countries as well as emerging global challenges. Yet, little has been written about leadership in this domain. Whether there is a leadership approach most practiced or most effective in international development has not been systematically conceptualized. There is much to be learned about leading in these contexts, and this volume will offer a new leadership model focused on leading international development projects.

To create the model, the volume offers an innovative process of anchoring the creation of new knowledge in practice—the specific day to day leadership moments of real women and men as they wrestle with the challenges, opportunities, and paradoxes of international development. There are two phases to the creation of the new model: first, experienced leaders in international development will be selected, through this call for proposals, to write chapters for this book. Detailed information about abstract submission and chapter selection is described below. Second, the book editors will analyze the chapters to identify themes and patterns of shared experience. The themes and patterns will then, when appropriate, be offered as a new model of leading international development projects.

The book has the potential to have a wide impact across several audiences, ranging from practitioners in international development projects, to leadership developers, to higher education faculty and students. Practitioners will be offered a rich wealth of contextualized experience to learn and reflect on in order to improve their practice. Leadership developers will have a new model for fostering the development of international development leaders. And faculty will have a new model, as well as a new process of anchoring theory to practice.

Background Information for Potential Authors:

In order to connect the practice of leading in international development contexts and leadership theory, this volume suggests that there are four key drivers to consider: They are gender, context, culture, and sustainability.

Gender: Gender matters in leadership and leadership development but has been under-researched in international development contexts. This volume will explore, through the chapter narratives, how gender impacts leader experiences while the leader is working on international development projects. Multiple forces and factors are likely to interact with gender, and this volume aims to expose the role that gender plays in both the processes within and outcomes of international development projects.

Context: The socio-political-economic system of the country a program or project is implemented in, the country's stability, the human and material resources available, the country's stand on implementing the Paris Declaration, its development priorities, and possibly other contextual factors influence the approach to leadership of international development programs and projects. Further, the sector in which a program or project is being implemented in, including economic growth, democracy and governance, and the social sector, i.e. education, health, and social welfare, may possibly influence the most effective leadership. How these contextual factors influence leadership is a key focus of this volume.

Culture: Cultures have different world views, values, and approaches that should be taken into account in implementing international development programs and projects. Whether a culture is individualistic or collective, whether the dominant leadership model is authoritarian or collaborative, whether power distance is large, how gender issues are codified, and other factors differ from country to country. This volume will explore how these various cultural elements influence leadership of international development programs and projects.

Sustainability: In late 2015, the United Nations announced its 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved globally by 2030. The goals emphasize for the first time an environmentally conscious sustainable approach to international development, with an emphasis on poverty alleviation, gender equality, and inclusive societies. These goals are significantly different than the previous Millennium.

Development Goals and strikingly in contrast to the approach to international development during the Marshall Plan years. This volume will explore how the notion of working toward sustainable development may influence leadership.

Detailed Book Information

Book Structure

The volume will be organized into three sections. The first section will provide an overview of the international development including the changing trends in development, the changing relationships between developed and developing countries, and the emergence of sustainable development.

The second section is the focus of this call for chapters. The chapters in this section, guided by the key questions below, will illuminate the experiences of leading in the typical sectors in which international development leaders work, including economic growth, democratization/governance, and the social sector (education, health, social welfare). Authors of these chapters will tell their stories of leading in international development and their experiences in implementing programs in these sectors and how the shifts in relationships and global challenges have impacted their leading. Guided by the questions below, the authors will recount their own personal stories of leadership and how they became leaders as well as the qualities they believe that leaders should have in order to successfully lead change in international development.

The third section of this volume is based on the narratives in section two, and will focus on the theoretical implications of leading in international development. The editors will analyze the chapter narratives in an attempt to build a preliminary model or theoretical framework appropriate for this domain. In order to obtain sufficient information to create a relevant theoretical framework, each chapter author in section two is asked to address the same fundamental questions regarding leadership, in addition to describing programs and projects they have led and possibly their impact on development. After presenting the preliminary model or theoretical framework, this section will conclude with implications for leaders and leadership development programs focused on international development.

Submission Instructions

To be considered, please submit ONE FILE (PDF or WORD) to Debra DeRuyver at dderuyver@ila-net.org no later than May 1, 2017. Make sure your email subject line is: Submission - BLB Leadership in International Development. The file should contain the following:

Please follow this formatting:

Authors selected to contribute chapters will be asked to consider a list of guiding questions about leading in international development. The guiding questions are provided below; you may wish to consider them in some way in the proposal as well.


Abstracts will be reviewed in May and invitations to submit complete chapters will be sent out by July 31, 2017. If you do not hear back from ILA by August 5, 2017 regarding your submitted abstract, please contact us at dderuyver@ila-net.org.

Guiding Questions about Leadership in International Development

If your abstract is selected, you will be asked to reflect on a series of guiding questions as you write your stories of leading in international development. We envision that each chapter will have stories, reflections, and descriptions relating to each of the four key drivers (context, culture, sustainability, gender) as well as relating to the guiding questions below. These questions are included to inspire you and give you ideas about how to frame your narratives once your chapter abstract is accepted. The questions will also allow for a more consistent foundation from which to develop a new leadership model. We anticipate interaction between chapter authors and volume editors during the development and revision(s) of the chapters, so any questions that arise will be negotiated and addressed.

  1. General Leadership Questions:
    1. Looking back on your leadership history, can you identify a point when you recognized your talents as a leader? Describe. What led you to consider yourself a leader? What is your story?
    2. How do you develop your legitimacy as a leader?
    3. How do you decide what style, strategy, and tactics to use as a leader?
    4. What are you most proud of as a leader?
    5. What do you believe has been your biggest 'mistake' or 'failure' as a leader of international development projects? How did that impact you as a leader? What did you learn from that experience?
    6. What would you like the next generation of leaders in international development to know? (If you knew then what you know now, what would you want the next generation to know?)
  2. Gender Questions:
    1. How do you feel your gender has influenced your leading? Please include multiple stories or anecdotes you believe may have been impacted by your gender.
    2. How do you think your gender limits you as a leader of international development projects?
    3. How do you think your gender provides you with opportunities?
  3. Context Questions:
    1. How does the socio-political-economic context influence how you lead?
    2. How does the sector you are working in (e.g. economic growth, social, or democracy/governance) influence your leading?
    3. How did the Paris Declaration and following Agendas influence how you lead?
  4. Culture Questions:
    1. How does culture influence how you lead?
    2. How do you learn to lead in different cultures?
    3. What, if anything, surprises you about culture as a leader?
  5. Sustainable Development Questions:
    1. How does the concept of sustainable development influence your leadership?
    2. How to the UN Sustainable Development Goals influence your leadership?
    3. What changes have you seen in leadership since the implementation of the SDGs?
  6. What other issues are most critical to leadership that we have no asked you?