Title: Are you willing to do what it takes to become a senior global leader? Explaining the willingness to undertake challenging leadership development activities

Authors: Ingmar Björkman; Kristiina Mäkelä

Addresses: Department of Management and International Business, Aalto University School of Business, P.O. Box 21210, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland ' Department of Management and International Business, Aalto University School of Business, P.O. Box 21210, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland

Abstract: Although the importance of on-the-job-learning as a global leadership development tool has been widely acknowledged by both scholars and practitioners, there is limited research on the willingness of employees to undertake such challenging assignments. Building on social exchange theory, we examine potential factors explaining the willingness of individual employees to undertake challenging global leadership development activities, such as cross-functional and international assignments and assignments related to reorganisations or new businesses. Our analysis of 427 individuals from 14 multinational companies reveals that the willingness to accept on-the-job challenges is positively associated with knowing that one has been formally identified as talented, identification with corporate values, and acknowledgement of the effectiveness of developmental assignments. Previous experience of working or studying abroad, and cross-functional experience also turned out to be positively related. Interesting differences emerged with regard to international versus domestic assignments.

Keywords: leadership development; global leadership; HRM; challenging assignments; international assignments; on-the-job learning; employees; cross-functional assignments; reorganisation; new businesses; multinational corporations; MNCs; international management.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2013.056478

European Journal of International Management, 2013 Vol.7 No.5, pp.570 - 586

Available online: 20 Sep 2013 *

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