Can a concept map be further developed? An introduction of a definition map for teaching and learning leadership

Presenter: Le Vinh Nguyen


Concept maps have been widely used in teaching and learning. Though a concept map summarises related information, the information is likely limited to only naming the phenomena (i.e., concepts), which are linked together on the map.

For a puzzling concept such as leadership, learners are then brought to view over 500 definitions and 70 theories, and many more theories that are associated with its neighbouring concepts. Thus, confusion is multiplied if the learners try to trace a meaningful connection among dispersed theories. Since the learners cannot learn and transform into practice all competing leadership theories that are quite contradictory and overlapping, it is essential to develop a leadership concept map into a definition map for visualising a clear and understandable trajectory.

This session aims at introducing a definition map of leadership. The map systematically links the definition of leadership, as developed by this researcher, and other selective definitions of its closest neighbouring concepts, namely management, power, authority, resources or property, and rights. Each definition is then branched out to its associated theories and authors. Such a definition map moves beyond a concept map by presenting a unique system of definitions in which the definition of the focal concept (i.e., leadership) is connected with the definitions of its neighbouring concepts and their associated theories.

Leadership learners can use the presented map as an archetype to create their own maps using the definitions and theories of their choice. Thus, a definition map can be a practical tool for the learners to shape their own mental schemas via, for example, constructing group maps (i.e., with project-based learning) and discussions. Consequently, they can grasp, potentially better, and individually, the leadership phenomenon. It may be the deep definition level, not the superficial concept level, of understanding that likely shapes the logical consciousness of human.