In today's global, dynamic, and uncertain business environments, the need for developing leaders and managerial talent throughout the organization is increasingly evident, especially for multinational companies. While the important role of job assignment for leadership and managerial development has been well recognized, there is no aligned, comprehensive global leadership development model. This study focused on understanding leadership development assignments and experiences of successful Japanese managers who are functioning in for-profit multi-national Western companies in the consumer products industry in Japan. A sequential explanatory mixed method design incorporating phenomenological interviews was used to first explore work-related strengths and developmental experiences and key competencies of 24 high performing managers working in the consumer goods industry, representing three different companies. 6 individuals were selected to participate in the phenomenological interview process. Key findings from phase 1 research among 24 respondents are (a) while challenging job is the most effective method for leadership development, that alone cannot always develop effective leaders, and (b) effective leaders have more number of challenging assignments and work experiences. Phase 2 research, phenomenological interview was conducted among 6 most effective leaders selected based upon 360 feedback survey results. There were 3 types of developmental experiences those effective leaders found very effective: (a) business challenges, (b) interpersonal and cultural challenges, and (c) developmental relationship. Key findings from phase 2 research are (d) effective leaders have experienced dual challenges from key developmental work - both business challenge and interpersonal (or cultural) challenges, (e) they possess both business skills and interpersonal skills, (f) they have learned and strengthened both business management and interpersonal skills through overcoming challenges on the job, (g) they have a positive and open mindset and positive attitudes toward new challenging, learning and achievements, (h) they have learned through self reflection during and after developmental experiences. Of note, all of them have had a significant learning and influence from their boss(es) in their career. Incorporating the findings from this research, I recommend a systemic leadership development approach that integrates challenging assignments with reflective learning, skill development supports, 360 feedback, and thorough performance review system, involving boss.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational change; International business enterprises -- Management -- Japan; Leadership -- Study and teaching -- Japan; Management -- Japan

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;