Qualitative Research Plan

Qualitative Research Plan

Qualitative Research Plan
Introduction and Opening Statement
Building accountability is one of the key leadership skills that leaders are supposed to have besides other skills such as good communication skills, responsibility, honesty among other essential skills. Building self-responsibility among followers enables a leader gain efficiency and effectiveness in his or her managerial/leadership roles. The relationship between leaders and followers is highly influenced by some critical factors, cultural background being one of the factors (Elmore, 2005). Establishing self-accountability among employees assists in improving motivation, creating team effectiveness, and improving the performance levels of organizations. It is, therefore, clear that leaders should and can develop a powerful sense of self-accountability rather than just selecting followers with self-accountability. Leaders have direct control over assisting followers achieve their psychological needs and foster their mental skills. For instance, establishing a successful environment is not an easy skill, yet leaders will always find ways of ensuring that this is accomplished in order for the followers to find satisfaction in whatever they do. In doing this, effective leaders seek to comprehend individuals differences of followers in motivation, as well as, the cognitive theories in motivation.
All leaders are focused on ensuring and maintaining effectiveness in organizations. For this to be achieved; however, leaders must recognize the characteristics of their followers and comprehend the various distinct types of theories to be applied in their leadership roles and their relations with followers. Therefore, creating self-efficacy among employees is essential in leadership as it assists in improving efficiency in organizations (Wood and Winston, 2007). The research, therefore, is essential as it helps in understanding whether effective leaders create the self-accountability in their followers or just choose followers who already have a sense of self-efficacy. Additionally, the paper seeks to understand how effectiveness in leadership is influenced by self-efficacy and whether leaders’ cultural backgrounds influence the relationship between leaders and followers. A case study will be used to illustrate this.
Background of the study
Te first organizational leadership role is .inspiring accountability (trust). Accountability, in this case, is the confidence which is composed of two dimensions, competence and character. Character involves motive, intent, and integrity with people. On the other hand, competence involves capabilities, results, skills, as well as, track record. Both character and competence dimensions are crucial in organizations (Johnson, 2008). With the increase in concern with ethics in society, the character dimension of trust is increasingly becoming the cost of entry in the new international economy. The often ignored and differentiating dimension (competence), however, is equally vital (Braynion, 2010). A person might be thought of as honest, sincere, but not fully trusted if his or her results are not seen. Additionally, the reverse is also true. For instance, an individual might be having great talents, skills, and a good track record, but lack honesty. This person is not trusted also (Kouzes et al., 2010). The best leaders start by framing accountability in economic terms, in their organizations. When a company realizes that there is low trust, large economic impacts can be expected. Steps and procedures are required by organizations in order to compensate for the lack of trust, and this implies that everything will cost more and take longer to accomplish. The costs are measured, and this is the time when organizational leaders realize that low trust is not only a social concern, but also has an aspect of economic concerns (McKeown, 2010).
The costs of high trust can also be measured enabling organizational leaders to ensure a compelling business case for accountability. The effective leaders then concern themselves on creating self-accountability an explicit goal and objective. This objective becomes like any other organizational goal pursued by organizational members. This goal must be communicated. In other words, organizational members must be told that accountability matters to leadership and management (Keller and Price, 2011). Furthermore, it must be expressed as the economic and right thing to do. An essential way to do this is making an initial baseline quantification of organizational accountability and tracking improvement over time (Kelly, 2012). The real change begins with creating credibility at an individual level. The basis of accountability is leaders’ credibility, and this can distinguish one leader from another. The reputation of an individual is a direct representation of his or her own credibility and assists individuals in any negotiations or interactions they might engage in (Gold et al., 2012). When the reputation and credibility of a leader are high, trust can be established fast, and this reduces costs in organizations and improves performance. There exist four cores of credibility, which include intent, capabilities, integrity, and results (Kim, 2009). An essential component of establishing self-accountability involves understanding and clarifying what the organization needs and what one has to offer within and in the organization. An appropriate example of a leader who is considered the most trusted in the world is Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffet completed a key acquisition of Mclane Distribution from Wal-Mart. As public organizations (firms), both Wal-Mart and Berkshire Hathaway are subject to all forms of regulatory and market scrutiny. In the real sense, a process such as this would take a lot of time (several months) to be accomplished and would cost a lot of cash to pay for essential personnel such as lawyers, accountants, and auditors to validate and verify all forms of information. In this instance, however, as both parties involved high trust in their operations, the process was agreed in only two hours. The deal was completed in less a month, and there was high speed, high trust, and low cost (Carmichael, 2012).
The above studies from different researchers have revealed that establishing self-efficacy by leaders is essential in organizations. Leaders should set aside their personal interests and factors to ensure that they do not affect the effectiveness in organizations (Sarros and Cooper, 2010). Although the studies are sufficient for understanding the importance of accountability among leaders in organizations, a lot of things on what entails accountability in organizations have not been addressed. There are some behaviors associated with high-trust leaders across organizations of the world. These include demonstration of respect, talking straight, creation of transparency, ability to correct mistakes at all times, delivering results, showing loyalty, keeping commitments, confronting reality, clarifying expectations, and practicing accountability (Stacey, 2012). This study is, therefore, essential as it will address the major issues concerning building self-accountability in employees and how this influences effectiveness in organizations. The study is important for leaders who go for followers who already have some sense of self-accountability, rather than creating accountability themselves. The study will help them understand how to develop these skills and apply them in organizations. Additionally, the study is significant for all individuals aspiring to be leaders in the future for they will gain insights into what entails effective leadership skills.
Statement of the Problem
In almost all places that people interact, trust has been on the decline. Trust has declined in the universal culture, institutions, and even in companies has significantly declined when compared to earlier generations. According to research, an approximate of 49 percent trust senior management. On the other hand, only about 28 percent of employees believe that the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are reliable sources of information. Such instances are evident especially in the modern financial markets where there is loss of trust and confidence. From this perspective, it is not wrong to note that the world is experiencing a crisis of trust in the present. This brings up a number of questions such as whether there is a measurable cost of trust and whether there exist a tangible benefit of high trust. Another crucial question that arises from this is how effective or best leaders can create trust within and in organizations to enjoy the benefits of high trust (Johnson, 2008).
In the modern world, most individuals do not like thinking about the societal and organizational impacts that arise due to low trust as they do not understand how to measure or quantify the cost associated with a concept such as trust. For a majority of them, trust is not measurable. In this case, therefore, people may not know how to improve trust in the organization or even places that they interact with others. However, the consequences of low trust are true, staggering, and quantifiable. When there is low trust in organizations, it places some hidden burden on all transactions such as communication, strategy, decision, interactions and thereby increasing costs of the transaction (Kim, 2009). Considerable amount of distrust increases the cost of business, as well as, the time it takes to ensure that things are effectively accomplished.
The ability to establish, grow, expand, and restore trust among key stakeholders is the crucial competency of leadership that is required in the modern world. Trust is something that can be learnt and understood, measured and improved, and leaders cannot be effective without accountability. In simple terms, leadership without mutual trust and confidence is a contradiction in terms. The problem of lack of trust among leaders and followers in various organizations needs to be addressed in order to determine ways of improving the effectiveness in organizations.
Purpose of the study
Self-accountability is the state of being liable, and this means that it involves trust and confidence. Building self-accountability in organizations is crucial as it ensures improved performance and effectiveness. The study will carry out a case study as research design to elaborate on the significance of accountability among leaders in organizations and how this is important in improving the effectiveness in organizations. The study is intended to explore this in order to answer the questions: does the effective leader create self-accountability or simply select the followers who have some sense of self-accountability? How much does self-efficacy impact in the effectiveness of the leader? Does the cultural background of the leader influence the leader-followers relationship? The general purpose of this study is to carry out a research that is aimed at answering these questions through a case study investigation.
Research Questions
General Question
To investigate the importance of leadership self-accountability in organizations
Specific Questions
1. Does the successful leader build the self-accountability in the followers or just select the followers that already have a sense of self-accountability?
2. How much does that self-accountability impact in the leaders’ effectiveness?
3. Does the cultural background of the leader plays a protagonist roll in the relationship leader-followers?
Theoretical or Conceptual Framework
Just like in all field, the management field is also guided by theories that define the major concepts involved in leadership. Leadership refers to a key way in which individuals change other peoples’ minds and move organizations towards achieving established organizational goals and objectives. Effective leadership is an essential factor in the success and life of an organization, and it transforms potential into reality. It is the fundamental act that brings to success all the potent capability available and present in an organization, as well as, its people. Organizational leaders propose new and up to date theories when the old ones lose their effectiveness (Kim, 2009). These theories are based on some characteristics that distinguish effective leaders from those leaders that are not effective. They include personality, charisma, achievement, dominance and personal presence, self-confidence, and the ability to develop a clear vision. There are behavioral theories that are related to self-accountability and effectiveness in organizations.
Behavioral theory of leadership facilitates the value of styles of leadership and emphasize on concern for organizational people and cooperation. The theory facilitates the process of decision making and team building by enhancing the needs of each person and aligning the goals and objectives of individuals and group. The theory focuses on the leaders’ behavior, what they do, and how they act. This theory is significant in this research as building self-accountability is behavior associated with effective leadership (Johnson, 2008). Behavior in the larger context refers to a variety of mannerisms and actions of systems or individuals and includes relations of people with others. In this context, behavior represents how leaders interact with their follower in organizations.
Human behavior is a range of behaviors depicted by human beings and are influenced by culture, emotions, attitudes, ethics, values, rapport, authority, persuasion, hypnosis, genetics, and coercion. Behaviors among human beings are controlled fundamentally by the nervous system and the endocrine system. It is essential to note that behavior can either be learnt or innate. Behavior in human beings is experienced throughout the entire life of an individual. Behavior entails the way individuals (leaders) act based on distinct factors including attitudes, social norms, and beliefs that all constitute culture or even other factors such as genetics. This implies that behavior is affected or influenced by various characteristics possessed by individuals. These traits vary from one person to another and can lead to different behavior or actions from each individual. Because of challenges on trait theory brought by questions and concerns on how to measure characteristics, researchers started thinking about quantifying behavior. As things like honesty, accountability, and confidence in an individual cannot be easily quantified, one can simply define behavior that seems to represent that characteristic (Kim, 2009). Behaviors re defined by researchers as observable actions that makes their quantification mere empirically valid and reliable than attempting to quantify a human personality.
The behavioral theory of leadership represents a paradigm, which takes into consideration the observable reactions and actions of leaders and followers within some given circumstances or situations. This theory focuses on how leaders behave at these given circumstances. The theory assumes that leaders are can be made rather than just been born, and effective leadership depends on learnable and definable behavior. Behavioral theories of leadership are categorized as such as they are concerned with the study of certain behaviors of leaders. Proponents of this theory hold that the behavior of a leader is the appropriate predictor or indicator of his influences of leadership and das a consequence is also the most effective determinant of the leadership achievement of the leader. Behavioral theory concentrates on what leaders normally do instead of their qualities. Distinct behavior patterns are seen and classified as leadership styles. This has attracted the attention of most practicing organizational managers.
Behavioral theory of leadership presupposes that leadership ability can be learnt and is based on the rule that behaviors may be conditioned in a way that a person can have a certain response to certain stimuli. This applies well when leaders build self-accountability in followers, which results in motivation of the followers, thus, improving the overall organizational performance. Instead of looking at the innate characteristics of human beings, the theory focuses on what managers or leaders actually do by investigating their behaviors in relation to distinct circumstances, evaluating achievement by investigating their actions and then comparing essential behaviors with success. The realistic application of this theory is that the behavior of the leader influences his or her performance. Therefore, distinct leadership behaviors could be appropriate at varied times. The effective leaders are those who are allow for flexibility within their behavioral style and select the appropriate that is fit for every situation. This theory holds that individuals can learn to be leaders by observation and teaching. In addition, it states that patterns of behavior may be recognized as styles of leadership.
There are a number of advantages associated with this theory. The theory facilitates the value of styles of leadership with a major focus on concern for collaboration and people. It facilitates the process of decision making within organizations and also advocates for team building. This is possible through the provision of support to individual needs and wants and through aligning of individual and group goals and objectives. The theory assists managers or organizational leaders in evaluating and understanding how their style of leadership as managers or leaders affects their relations with the group and facilitates contribution and commitments towards organizational objectives and goals. The theory assists leaders in identifying the correct balance between different leadership styles and aids them in deciding how to behave as leaders depending on peoples’ concerns, as well as, for productivity.
The theory, however, has been criticized by a number of scholars. The theory became dominant during the 19560s and 1960s after its development associated with the failure the trait paradigm that researchers found insufficient (Elmore, 2005). The theory had also its limitations. The theory presupposes that application of leadership styles. However, a certain leadership style may not be suited in all situations. In addition, while the theory may assist leaders in developing certain leadership behaviors, they offer little guidance on what leads to effective leadership in different organizations and different situations. It is also not easy to establish what leadership style was essential in enabling a particular group of workers to do better in terms of performance than another. The leadership styles that may be adopted by leaders are highly influenced by those working within the organization. In fact, most researchers have concluded that there is no single style of leadership that is suited for all leaders under all situations.
Briefly, the leadership styles highlighted in this theory include authoritarian leadership, democratic leadership, and laissez-fair leadership. Authoritarian leadership involves the provision of clear expectations by leaders for what is required to be done by followers (subordinates in organizations) and how it is supposed to be done. Democratic style of leadership is whereby leaders offer guidance to members of the group, but also take part or participate in the group and allow for contribution of the group members in terms of decision making. On the other hand, the Laissez-fair style of leadership is whereby leaders do not offer any guidance to members of the group and leaves the members to carry out the process of decision making (Kim, 2009).
The theory is applicable in this context in that the behavior of leaders to establish self-accountability in followers influences the effectiveness in organizations. As mentioned, the behavior of individuals is influenced by their cultures. This does not exclude leaders as they are human also. Cultural backgrounds of leaders play a significant roll in influencing the relationship of leaders and followers. This being the case, therefore, the behavioral theory of leadership is applicable in this study.
Nature of the study
Being a research paper, the study is divided into major sections with sub-sections. These include the opening statement, background of the study, problem statement, purpose of the study, research questions, theoretical or conceptual framework, nature of the study, and the significance of the study. This section analyses the nature of the research taking into consideration a number of concepts analyzed below:
Research Design
Being a qualitative study, the research design of this research will be a case study. This is because the study is limited to the population that is available, and the scope of the study could be bounded to the access availability, as well. Additionally, the research design will be a case study as it focuses on individuals with distinct characteristics that is people in the manufacturing sector with different cultural backgrounds. A case study is the only effective research design in this case because the research is interested in studying a qualitative aspect of leaders and followers in the manufacturing sector. Therefore, other available alternatives of research design may be less effective in the study.
Research Methodology
Referring to the research questions of the study, the researcher aims at carrying out a pilot study that will assist in identifying the behavior of effective leaders in organizations, their cultural differences and how they impact on effectiveness, and the relationship between them and their followers. This will help in achieving the objectives of the study which are: to investigate whether the successful leader builds self-accountability in the followers or just chooses followers that already have a sense of self-accountability; to determine how much self-accountability impact in the effectiveness of leaders; to investigate the role of cultural background in influencing the relationship between the leader and followers. This being the case, therefore, this subsection discusses the participants of the study, the research site, the researchers role in the process of data collection, the sampling method and procedure, the sample size, procedures of collecting data, and the data analysis, and interpretation plan.
The participants of the study will be both leaders and followers of the manufacturing sector of the American State. The research aims at establishing the building of self-accountability by leaders in their followers, cultural differences, and how these impact on the relationship between leaders and followers. To achieve this, both leaders and followers have to be participants in the study in order for the researcher to gain maximum understanding to achieve the main aims and objectives of the study.
Research Site
The study will be carried out in manufacturing companies of the United States of America (Berkshire Hathaway and Wal-Mart). This is because this region has been successful in terms of performance and profitability. This success has highly been influenced by effective leadership and accountability among other factors, but these being the most influencing factors of achievement. Therefore, the area seems effective for this study and will provide a reflection of other regions where effective leadership has influenced the success within organizations.
Researcher’s role in data collection procedures
The researcher has a significant role to play in the process of collecting data. The researcher will administer the interview among the participants and records all relevant data. In addition, the researcher will also observe the interactions between leaders and their followers in these organizations and record whatever aspect the researcher finds useful in accomplishing the study objectives. After the process of data collection, the researcher will also be responsible for analyzing and interpreting the information gathered in order to draw conclusions and recommendations in the study.
Being a qualitative study, the study will apply a non-probability method of sampling (purposive sampling) in selecting the sample size of participants required to provide information on what the researcher wishes to have. In this case, the researcher will identify the respondents to choose who fit the characteristics required. Purposive sampling is commonly referred to as judgmental sampling and is chosen depending on the population’s knowledge, as well as, the aim and purpose of the study. This implies that respondents are selected depending on some characteristics. In this case, the researcher requires the respondents to be leaders and followers of Berkshire Hathaway and Wal-Mart in America. This is because the subjects meet the requirements of meeting the aims and objectives of the research. In drawing the sample, the task is relatively easy for the purposive sampling. In this study, the researcher will select the respondents who meet the requirements of research based on their experience in the firms. This implies that employee respondents will be chosen based on the years they have worked in the companies. Employees who have stayed for long in these firms will be selected. Employees in this study will include both leaders and followers of each company and 50 respondents will be selected from each company to make a total of 100 respondents. The 100 respondents will be interviewed and observed for the purpose of achieving the objectives of this study.
Data collection Procedures
Bearing in mind that the research is a qualitative study, the researcher seeks to establish some qualitative aspects of leaders and followers in two organizations, and how these aspects influence effectiveness and performance in organizations. Therefore, the researcher will apply interviews and observation as research instruments. Interviews will be used on leaders and followers with different cultural backgrounds. In addition, the researcher will observe the interaction between leaders and followers to determine their relations and how they affect organizational performance.
Interviews are practical as they ensure that the researcher obtains detailed information on individual opinions, perceptions, and feelings. They are essential because the researcher is able to ascertain how individuals feel and think about leadership and self-efficacy in organizations and whether or not they uphold the organizational culture or the leadership and relationship between leaders and followers in organizations. In addition, they also intensify comprehension because the researcher can elaborate on the issues that the respondents may have hardships or difficulties in understanding. In other words, there is the clarification of concerns or matters that present ambiguities in their nature (Carpi and Egger, 2009). Among the most essential benefits associated with interviews is that they attain high rates of response and are not influenced or affected by other subjects or respondents who might be present during the interview session. Furthermore, the respondents’ own words are reorganized by the individual in charge of administering the interview schedule, who in most cases is the researcher or another person appointed by the researcher to administer the interview on the researcher’s behalf.
Observation is also an essential instrument of data collection in a number of ways. For instance, observation gives direct access by the researcher to the social aspect or phenomenon being studied. The researcher does not have to rely on some form of reports since he or she has direct access to the phenomena under consideration unless there are factors present to influence the outcome. Observation enhances flexibility, diversity, and applicability. The extents of these depend on the researcher. Observation provides a permanent record for the researcher and the research instrument can also effectually complement other instruments. This, in turn, facilitates the quality of evidence that is available to the researcher. Therefore, these two research instruments will be appropriate for this research.
Data analysis and interpretation plan
Referring to the objectives and aims of this research, as well as, the qualitative nature of the study, the researcher will employ descriptive statistics to carry out perform frequencies and percentages. This is because the descriptive mode of data analysis and interpretation provide detailed understanding on the social phenomena that the researcher is studying. In most cases, interpretation in research involves drawing a reasonable empirical statement that elaborates on the data presented. According to Carpi and Egger (2008), empirical interpretations are neither absolute truth nor individual (personal). They are hypotheses, inferences, or suggestions about what the information means based on personal proficiency or expertise and empirical knowledge. Researchers and scientists apply experience and logic in constructing logical explanations for certain data. However, although researchers may make mistakes or errors, a significant majority of them draw explanations that are backed by empirical data and are reasonable, as well.
Reliability and validity
Reliability and validity concepts are essential in research methodology. Reliability refers to the degree to which an experiment, test, or any method of measurement provides the same result on repeated attempts. Validity, on the other hand, is the extent to which a study or research precisely represents a certain concept, which the researcher is attempting to measure. Reliability is an important condition for quality quantification, but not adequate when validity is not involved also. Reliability and validity in this study will highly be maintained (Khan, 2010).
The study may be limited because of a number of reasons. As studying qualitative aspect of behavior is not an easy task, the research may fail to obtain sufficient data through the process of observation. Observation lacks practicability. The process consumes time and is exceptionally resource incentive, thus requiring another strategy to complement it. The study is also limited as only two companies will be selected. However, the researcher will employ a case study as it is the approach that fits the best to the resources limitation as it could be limited to the population available and the scope of the research could be bounded to the access availability, as well. However, the researcher will develop strategies to help in addressing the challenges. The researcher will employ interviews to gather detailed knowledge on the social phenomenon in consideration. In order for the researcher to be successful, the researcher will require to establish a good rapport with the respondents if sufficient data is to be gathered. Creating a good rapport with respondents ensures that the researcher has an ample environment to carry out his or her researcher. Thus, this approach will assist in addressing the challenges related to the research methodology.
The research also poses some threats to quality especially regarding the reliability and validity of the study. Most of these threats have to do with the research methodology and design employed in the research. For instance, objectivity might be compromised especially when using observation as an instrument of research. An essential potential weakness of this instrument is that it is prone to bias from the observer. This undermines the reliability, as well as, the validity of the entire research. It is essential to note that when the quality of the study is compromised then the entire research is considered invalid. When the observer records things that have not been observed that is things that the researcher wants to record, subjective bias is said to occur. This is an essential threat to the study. Another potential threat is the observer effect. This refers to the way in which the observer’s presence in some way affects the behavior of subjects that are being observed. To assist in dealing with this threat, the researcher will ensure that the observation method is as much unobtrusive as possible. To help in reducing the threat of subjective bias, the researcher will ensure that the objectivity factor is highly taken into consideration during the process to avoid recording of data that is not observed, and which might affect the quality of the research in terms of reliability and validity.
Ethical Concerns
For studies especially those that are qualitative, the issue of ethical concern is exceptionally critical. In order to ensure that the research is carried out as thoroughly and ethically as possible, the researcher will ensure that there are no questions that affect the feelings and emotions of the respondents. The topic of accountability and behavior of leaders and followers touches on qualitative aspects of the respondents, and thus, requires the researcher to conduct the entire process ethically (Singh and Nath, 2010). The researcher should assure the respondents that their information will remain as confidential as possible to avoid any ethical issues especially during the interview sessions. This is what is required of a researcher (ethical behavior). Therefore, as part of the procedures of providing informed consent and any ethical concerns, the researcher will ensure that cultural matters are not addressed in a way, which is likely to make respondents change their attitudes during the interview sessions.
Significance of the study
The study is significant for a number of reasons. The study is essential in addressing the present challenges between leaders and followers in organizations. As discussed, building accountability is one of the key leadership skills that leaders are supposed to have besides other skills such as good communication skills, responsibility, and honesty among other essential skills. Building self-responsibility among followers enables a leader gain efficiency and effectiveness in his or her leadership roles. In almost all places that people work or interact with each other, trust has been on the decline. Trust has declined in the universal culture, institutions, and even in companies has significantly declined when compared to earlier times. Instances of low accountability are evident in the modern financial markets where there is loss of trust and confidence. From this perspective, it is not wrong to note that the world is experiencing a crisis of trust in the present. In the modern world, most individuals do not like thinking about the societal and organizational impacts that arise due to low trust as they do not understand how to measure or quantify the cost associated with a concept such as trust. For a majority of them, trust is not measurable. In this case, therefore, people may not know how to improve trust in organizations or even places that they interact with others. However, the consequences of low trust are true, staggering, and quantifiable. All these will be addressed by the study that focuses on promoting the importance self-accountability.
Leaders who are successful are not affected by their cultural differences at work, and this forms the significance of the study where leaders should imitate this kind of relationship among leaders and followers to ensure efficiency and improved performance. This is because building self-accountability in organizations is crucial as it ensures improved performance and effectiveness. The study is essential especially for all members in organizations as they interact with each other (leaders and followers) to deliver results in organizations. When this is followed, then the social implications will be great effectiveness and harmonious relationships between leaders and followers in organizations. In conclusion, it is vital to build self-accountability as it impacts on employee motivation, team effectiveness, and performance levels. Improving self-accountability creates positive perceptions of an individual that is responsible for overall self-confidence. It also creates positive dynamics in all levels of the motivation of followers, their performance, and effectiveness of the team or group. Leaders ought to establish priority objectives and goals to create self-accountability in their followers. This is because research has clearly demonstrated the general significance of improved self-accountability.

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