Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The intersection of leadership and spirituality: A qualitative study exploring the thinking and behavioral attributes of leaders who identify as spiritual
by Goldberg, David S., Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2016, 138; 10173954
Abstract (Summary)

While the field of leadership can trace its roots to Plato, Sun Tzu and Machiavelli among many others, it has become a focus of contemporary academic studies in the last 50 to 75 years. And while spirituality can trace its origins to Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha, the exploration of the nexus of leadership and spirituality is much more recent and as a result, a limited body of knowledge exists and thus, is ripe for study.

Many challenges exist, including the fact that the study of leadership is a multidisciplinary academic field that includes a myriad of topics from a vast array of disciplines and spirituality, too, is extraordinarily diverse. This study explored a set of theories and tools to enable leaders to develop and support qualities in themselves and in those with whom they work and interact. Specifically, this work is a qualitative study exploring the nexus of leadership and spirituality, which addresses the gap in the literature that considers this intersection, as evidenced by the Venn diagram that includes leadership, spirituality, and thinking and behavioral attributes.

While a qualitative study, the quantitative element used is Emergenetics, a 30-year-old psychometric tool that looks at the four thinking attributes of analytical, structural, conceptual and social and the three behaviors of expressiveness, assertiveness and flexibility. With more than 630,000 profiles completed in 21 languages by people around the world, the universe for this study consisted of 14 one-to-one interviews and two focus groups of 14 people each, one in person and one online. The myriad of faith traditions with which the participants identified in their youth is provided in Table 2. With regard to the tradition with which participants identify today, of the 42 participants, 24 identify as Science of Mind/Religious Science and 18 identify with other faith traditions or no faith tradition.

The primary question was does spirituality influence leaders' thinking and behaviors. The secondary questions included an exploration around in what ways spirituality influences thinking and behaviors. It also explored the questions as to if spirituality informs the ways leaders challenge things in their organizations and if acknowledging one's spirituality publically helps or hinders building effective teams.

The highlights of the research include the finding that spirituality does indeed influence everything a leader does and is, whether thinking and behavior attributes and how a leader questions things. As well, while publicly acknowledging one's spirituality is thought to be positive, there are some confounding circumstances and those ideas are also presented.

The study also includes the group Emergenetics profiles for the two focus groups and all of the individual interviews as one profile, respectively, with an explanation as to how that informed the research.

Finally, the implications of this research to the study of leadership, the study of spirituality and leadership and the use of the Emergenetics tool in such work is explored.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Raffanti, Michael
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Metaphysics, Spirituality
Keywords: Emergenetics, Management Development, New Thought, Personality Assessment, Psychometric Tool, Science of Mind
Publication Number: 10173954
ISBN: 978-1-369-28507-9
Copyright © 2021 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy