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Developing Managers and Leaders:Experiences and Lessons from International NGOs

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) | Harvard University
Year Published:
Resource Type:
Evaluations and Research | Technical Guidance

This paper – a collaboration of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative – is an exploration of how INGOs approach the development of managers and leaders. It discusses the context, practice and lessons related to management and leadership development in a handful of large INGOs focused on humanitarian and development efforts.

For the past decade or so, INGOs have been paying increasing attention to developing managers and leaders. This has resulted in a myriad of efforts not only within individual organizations but also across organizations (via coalitions and joint initiatives). For-profit and nonprofit academic institutions and consulting firms also increasingly provide management and leadership development services to INGOs.

This paper takes stock of some of these efforts, drawing lessons from these diverse experiences and identifying challenges for the future. It is written both for INGO staff seeking a broad, comparative view of the issues, experiences and lessons related to management and leadership development in INGOs, and for scholars and consultants seeking an understanding of management and leadership development needs and challenges in INGOs.