The Leadership Development Cycle: A Cross-cultural Perspective

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Reed College of Media


Reed College of Media


This exploratory research study is the first known attempt to understand the process and various stages of leadership development in public relations specialists. Using purposive in-depth inter-views with PR practitioners and students from five countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia and the U.S.), this study gathered qualitative data about the seven public relations leadership dimensions(Berger & Meng, 2014) to glean insights as to when these dimensions appear/are learned and how they are manifested. This study indicates that having strong technical skills (the communication knowledge and expertise dimension) is viewed as the main prerequisite to develop into a PR leader. Other personal leadership dimensions found to be learned early in life and developed more fully over time include: self-dynamics (first learned through family/peer interactions and through those of school/organizations/groups), ethical orientation (first learned from family/religious values), team collaboration (first learned through family, sports, church and school projects), relationship-building (first learned through interactions with peers, teachers, family members, coaches). Strategic decision making capabilities seem to develop later in one’s pro-fessional growth, after one has both technical skill and professional experience upon which to draw.

Source Citation

Martinelli, Diana, and Erzikova, Elina. (2017). "The Leadership Development Cycle: A Cross-cultural Perspective." Public Relations Review 43(5), 1062–1072.