Successful deployment of managers in challenging international contexts

The Project

The aim of this applied research is to help build resilience for individuals and teams working in conflict-affected regions of the world, and other tough environments. Findings will be shared through research publications, reports and conference papers.

Practical outputs will be available for use in selection and development. These solutions will help to ensure that managers are well equipped to deal with the pressures they face when working in difficult and possibly dangerous situations outside their own country.

The evidence base will be our recent research on personal resilience, team resilience and leadership impact (Flint-Taylor & Davda 2013), together with other published research and our practical experience of working with clients in contexts such as stabilisation, international development and emerging markets.

Why is this research important for organisations?

When resourcing assignments in these contexts, it can be difficult to ensure that those deployed meet the competency/behavioural requirements of their role, in addition to possessing the necessary technical or professional skills. This is especially the case for those with management or team leader responsibilities, where failure is often attributed to having a negative impact on the team.

Standard assessment and development interventions can be helpful, but often are too general to accurately pick up on the specifics of these types of roles. On the other hand, customised assessment and development solutions are often costly or impractical to develop, implement and evaluate.

Researching new solutions will help to build resilient teams – providing direct support for strategic outcomes such as security, conflict prevention and humanitarian goals.

 Key questions that are being investigated:

  • How can organisations develop robust selection methods that help identify those managers best suited to working in tough international environments?
  • How can organisations apply these selection methods to judge when people are ready for this kind of assignment and what pre-deployment support may be required?
  • What training and development can organisations provide before, during and after the assignment, to help people strengthen their personal resilience and manage their impact on others?

What are the benefits for participating individuals and organisations?

During the course of the project, participating managers receive feedback on assessments, and/or opportunities for personal development. This helps them to build their personal resilience and the resilience of their team.

Participating organisations benefit from the practical knowledge generated by the research, and from use of the assessment and development solutions produced and evaluated during the course of the project.

These organisations will also benefit from forming a knowledge network with colleagues in other organisations who are dealing with similar challenges, as well as with a strong practitioner/academic network.


How can I find out more?

Please contact or if you or your organisation wishes to find out more about the project, including how to participate.