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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Polycentric Mission Leadership
by Handley, Joseph W., Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Intercultural Studies, 2020, 250; 27745033
Abstract (Summary)

The world seems to be facing rapidly increasing cycles of disruption, challenges, and disorder. In the face of these challenges, mission leadership is stretched to adapt, trying to catch up with the pace of change and provide wisdom and action that helps navigate these challenges to further the mission God has bestowed on his Church. This research project focuses on the ways leadership is changing in the face of these challenges, suggesting a new theoretical model for mission leadership. It reviews the idea of polycentrism through mission history, mission and church organizations, movement theory, and governance, identifying themes for polycentric mission leadership.

This dissertation isolates six key themes in pursuit of a new theory of leadership. These themes, which were gleaned after reading diverse literature reviews on polycentrism, are charisma, collaborative, communal, relational, freedom, and diverse. They are measured against other global leadership approaches, most notably the GLOBE study which discovered several similar traits for CEOs engaged in global business. Several emerging models of polycentric mission leadership are also reviewed as part of the analysis of this emerging theoretical model. The Northouse methodology is employed for reviewing this model because of its strength as an analysis tool.

Conducting qualitative interviews within the Lausanne Movement among 33 network leaders engaged in global ministry added further validity to the project. The findings from this qualitative interview are juxtaposed to the new theoretical model to confirm the relevance of these themes. Suggestions are also offered for mission leaders and the Lausanne Movement in relation to this potential model.

The central argument discovered in the thesis is that polycentric mission leadership is an emerging theoretical model that deserves further research and one which may lead to the development of a new theory of leadership.

Mentor: Douglas McConnell 290 words

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McConnell, Douglas
Commitee: Bennett, David W., Yeh, Allen L.
School: Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Intercultural Studies
Department: School of Intercultural Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion
Keywords: Global, Intercultural, Leadership, Mission, Polycentric, Polycentricism
Publication Number: 27745033
ISBN: 9798645468484
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