Exploring a Multi-organizational Leadership Team’s Problem-Solving Styles

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Virginia Tech


As multiple Roanoke based companies began to move out of the region, a large number of community leader began to fear for long-term economic stability. Three of the largest organizations in the region came together to envision a healthcare, education, and life science district on the outskirts of downtown Roanoke. The leaders of the City of Roanoke, Carilion Clinic and Virginia Tech ideated about a mile-long district from Roanoke Memorial Hospital to downtown Roanoke. Their vision was to recruit businesses and industries that were healthcare or life science based or companies that supported these sectors. These sectors were targeted with the hope of attracting knowledge based companies with highly skilled positions that paid higher salaries. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to determine the factors that aided in building a strong leadership team to address economic development issues. The study explored how a multi-organizational leadership team addressed problems by leveraging social capital. The population assessed was the leadership team that is currently leading the Innovation District in Roanoke. A total of 10 individuals participated. All of the participants completed a one-hour semi-structured interview and completed the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI) as a measure of problem-solving style. Findings of the study include: 1) strong relationships of team members from past experiences form strong teams; 2) through the original members’ social networks the multi-organizational team was formed; 3) team members responses reflected their personal KAI scores as they related to team dynamics; 4) mitigation of Problem Bs in this group increased the effectiveness of solving Problem A for this high performing multi-organizational team; and 5) social capital may leverage effective problem solving when there is mutual respect of team members. The limitations of a case study methodology provides findings that may only be attributed to these participants.