On becoming historically conscious leaders: Exploring the underlying effects of transgenerational transmission of collective traumas
This doctoral thesis investigates how leader identity and values are shaped by historical collective traumas. Drawing on the phenomenon of transgenerational transmission of trauma, we analyze the role of historical narratives and historical consciousness in leader development. The study sheds light on three areas related to leader development from a historical perspective. First, the study explores the role that historical narratives and collective memories play for leaders, and how the process of historical consciousness becomes a basis for their sense of self, their motivations, and identities. Second, the study explores how historical inheritances offer a lens on ethnicity and ethnic inheritances, whereby leader participants identify their ethnic and historical inheritances as components of their way of seeing the world. Finally, the study examines how management and leadership executive learning programs can help incite historical consciousness by introducing the topic of transgenerational transmission of collective traumas as a pertinent instrument for participants to critically engage in self-reflexive processes. Overall, this thesis contributes to extending the study of leaders and leadership and the role that historical collective traumas and historical narratives play in the general make-up of leaders, their identities and their values, consequently attaining a deeper understanding of leadership in organizational ecosystems.
About the author
Lara A. Tcholakian is a PhD candidate at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s School of Business and Economics, in 2020. She is an organizational leader with experience and expertise in the areas of leadership, organizational development, organizational behavior, HR and change management. She has lived and worked in Canada, France, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Armenia. She holds a Master’s Degree in socio-economic development from Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, and an Executive Master’s Degree in consulting & coaching for change from INSEAD. Her biggest accomplishment is being the mother of Rupen, Aram and Kami.