Stakeholder voices: exploring responsibility, trust and sustainable outcomes in a community leadership program


  • Joy Murray
  • Donna McClelland
  • Jodi-Lee Rash
  • Rej Creaton


Participatory action research, action learning, participative evaluation, constructivism, cybernetics, systems theory


Five years after the end of a leadership development program four stakeholders explore responsibility for and sustainability of its outcomes. The stakeholder voices are those of the project leader and three participants; the context is a community leadership program for residents of government housing estates in Eastern Sydney. We take the position that the program leader is primarily responsible to the participants, rather than funding body, for the outcomes of the program. Being responsible to the participants in a community leadership program brings a whole new set of possibilities, in particular it means that leadership of the program is in the hands of participants. They must be the leaders from the beginning and across all facets: projects, monitoring, administration and evaluation. But first we have to define leadership. Later we have to define sustainable outcome. Behind the management of this program and the definitions that evolved lies a cybernetic/systems approach to action learning and action research.