On-The-Job Experiences of Vocational Administrators that Develop Leadership Capabilities

On-The-Job Experiences of Vocational Administrators that Develop Leadership Capabilities

Jan 1999


Charles R. Hopkins
Judith J. Lambert
Jerome Moss, Jr.
University of Minnesota

Curtis R. Finch
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Executive Summary:

The purpose of this study was to explore the importance of on-the-job experiences as a means of complementing and supplementing leadership development provided in formal education programs. Not only do on-the-job experiences have potential to assist persons who are actively involved in leadership programs; they may also be of value in reaching and impacting vocational education professionals who have not had an opportunity to attend these programs. This study used the following seven questions to guides its procedures:

  1. What are the characteristics of on-the-job experiences that successful vocational education administrator-leaders consider most helpful to their development as leaders? Are there differences that relate to gender?
  2. What leader qualities are perceived to be improved by the on-the-job experience?
  3. What developmental aspects are associated with various types of on-the-job experiences? (What is it about the experiences that make them effective?)
  4. What developmental aspects of on-the-job experiences are associated with improved leader qualities?
  5. What improved leader qualities are associated with various types of experiences?
  6. What types of experiences do vocational education administrator-leaders recommend for preparing future leaders?
  7. What are the perceived developmental aspects of the experiences recommended for future leaders? (What is perceived to make the experiences effective?)

This study builds directly on research findings from the corporate world that indicate how on-the-job experiences relate to leadership development. This research also responds to the need to determine the ways in which these findings apply to education in general and vocational education professionals in particular. And, finally, this study links closely to and builds directly on over six years of leadership research and development conducted by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE). It was the next logical step in NCRVE's long-term research and development program.



Hopkins, C. R., Lambert, J. J., Moss, J., Jr., & Finch, C. R. (1999, January). On-the-job experiences of vocational administrators that develop leadership capabilities. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.