He Waka Eke Noa – an action research approach to Collective Leadership Development for Police leadership teams

Dr Shona Munro1

1New Zealand Police, Whanganui, New Zealand


A longitudinal action research leadership development project exploring a collective approach to leadership  for frontline policing leaders. The research question asks, “What are the most effective learning and development strategies to support area leadership teams to lead in collaborative and innovative ways?” A te Ao Māori lens is interwoven with the latest in neuroscience and collective, systems-based leadership development. Data collected to date suggests that individuals and teams are open and curious to explore approaches that challenge the status quo and that a “long-game” approach is necessary.


Shona Munro PhD Leadership Development and Workplace Wellbeing.

Shona’s research interests are in the relationship between high performance, leadership development and workplace wellbeing. She’s particularly focused on how to design develop and deliver programmes that supports people to be more effective, curious and adaptive, to find more meaning in their work by connecting more deeply with themselves, their colleagues and their communities.
Shona completed her PhD in Australia in 2017. Using an action research methodology she led a team of facilitators in the design and delivery of a leadership development and coaching programme designed to improve supportive leadership behaviours in frontline police leaders in two large metropolitan police stations. Her research question was to explore the barriers and enablers to participants capacity to transfer their learning into practice.

More recently Shona has trained in Collective Leadership (again in Australia). Collective leadership drives cultural transformation through individual and collective “systems intelligence” (the key to leadership capability after “emotional intelligence”). Shona is currently researching alongside a team of Area police leaders in NZ Police as they strive towards the multiplying effect of a truly collaborative/collective effort.
Shona has been awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship to extend this work through the University of North Carolina and local police and community in the USA (COVID permitting!)