Navigating the Study of Executive Leaders’ Spirituality

[Wejmia_26_1-cover’re pleased to welcome Dr. Stuart Allen, Associate Professor at Robert Morris University in Organizational Leadership. Allen recently published an article in Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Navigating the Study of Executive Leaders’ Spirituality: André Delbecq’s Journey.” From Allen:]

We first began to communicate with André Delbecq in 2014. After reading his articles and hearing him speak at conferences we were eager to include him in an instructional video we were working on that addressed the role of spirituality in leadership and the workplace. André invited us to visit him at his home in San Francisco in early 2015 to video-record an hour long discussion. André is a renowned figure in the Academy of Management, and especially in the Management Spirituality and Religion (MSR) Interest Group, due to his long history of contributions to the management field (over 225 scholarly articles) and his pioneering work on topics such as the Nominal Group Technique. In his late career, in the late 1990s, André began to focus on executive leadership spirituality, publishing various accounts of his approach in delivering seminars on this topic to his graduate management students at Santa Clara University, where he served as senior fellow in the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and professor of management in the Leavey School of Business.

In the months following the interview, while editing the video footage, we realized that we had much more content than we could include in our initial video; we also recognized the depth of André’s rich experience and warm approach in sharing his experiences and perspective. After seeing an article about Fred Luthans (Sommer, 2006) in the unique Meet the Person format included in the Journal of Management Inquiry (JMI), we contacted André and JMI’s editors to gauge interest in an article in this format about André. In August 2016 we met with André for a second interview at the Academy of Management’s 2016 Annual Conference in Anaheim and spent another 90 minutes with André. He elaborated on some of the earlier issues we had explored with him while adding a great focus on his career and experiences as a pioneering teaching practitioner and author. By this time, we had come to know André better, and later that same morning we presented a panel with him and Jody Fry.

Wanting to see the interviews published, we finished the manuscript in September 2016 and sent it to André for his review and approval. He responded on October 1 letting us know that we could publish the article, but also letting us know he was experiencing some health challenges and would be heading to hospital. Twelve days later we heard of André’s passing. This was a challenging end to the beginning of great friendship as we were just getting to know André at a new level. We were also awed by his generosity and commitment to scholarship through the detailed comments we received in his review, even when he was ill and about to go to the hospital.

This article reports on the two interviews, providing a broader picture of André’s career and experiences as a pioneering scholar and teacher. André also shared some of his thinking about the current state of the MSR field and opportunities for new research. He has shared his thoughts on how to approach the challenges of researching new topics and the rewards he received for doing so. It is hard to communicate the full essence of the experience of working with André, who was a wise, patient, generous, bold, and joyful person to be with. He exemplified the transformative presence of a great leader and scholar. We were honored with the opportunity to capture his thoughts and experiences at what unexpectedly turned out to be the end of his life. Anyone who knew André, is interested in MSR research, teaching, and scholarship, or those seeking to learn from the example of pioneering scholar might enjoy reading the interview.

 

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A Passion for Work: Part 5 of 5

Part Five: Creating Passionate Hearts

The search for work passion starts with educating our future business leaders to love what they do. Today we conclude our series on work passion with a piece from the Journal of Management Education. Fahri Karakas of Norwich Business School published “Positive Management Education: Creating Creative Minds, Passionate Hearts, and Kindred Spirits” in the April 2011 issue of JME. The abstract:

The goal of this article is to explore positive management education, a practice-based teaching and learning model centered on positive organizational scholarship. Six signs of transformation in organizations are presented: complexity, community, creativity, spirituality, flexibility, and positivity. A model for positive management education is introduced, based on six related JME(D)_72ppiRGB_150pixwdimensions: fostering integrative and holistic thinking, building a sense of community through high-quality relationships, developing creative brainstorming and skill building through innovative projects, integrating spirituality into the classroom, fostering flexibility and empowerment, and designing positive enabling, nurturing learning platforms. This positive management education model is illustrated through selected best practices from a pilot study of an experiential organizational behavior course.

Read the article in the Journal of Management Education. JME welcomes contributions from all management educators who seek to reflect on their professional practice and to engage readers in an exploration of what or how to teach in order for students to learn and practice effective management. Click here to receive e-alerts about the latest research from the journal.

Spirituality as a Discarded Form of Organizational Wisdom

Nurit Zaidman, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni, Tel Aviv University, published “Spirituality as a Discarded Form of Organizational Wisdom: Field-Based Analysis” on August 19th in OnlineFirst of Group & Organization Management. Professor Zaidman and Professor Goldstein-Gidoni kindly provided the following responses to their article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Researchers, managers, consultants and students who are interested in understanding organizations, and, or workplace spirituality as well researches of New Age.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

We were  surprised to realize that in fact workplace spirituality suggests an alternative to the central assumptions of the organization and that it is not only related to its marginal values or norms. Initially we tended to think that practices associated with workplace spirituality could mainly serve as  a useful addition to the organization and to its members. Following our research we realized that workplace spirituality is quite revolutionary.

How do you see this study influencing future practice?

Both managers and consultants can get in-depth understanding regarding the introduction of a new wisdom to organizations. Specifically, we  believe that the study provides more information for managers to consider the pro and cons of workplace spirituality practices.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

We are intend to discover the encounter between different paradigms. In this research we study the encounter between New Age spirituality and the rational Neoliberal ideology that prevails in Western profit organizations. Our future research is geared to the analysis of the encounter of New Age Spirituality with public schools.

How did your paper change during the review process?

We believe that our paper was immensely improved  thanks to the valuable comments of the editor and the reviewers.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

Write the first draft of the paper according to the comments of the editor and the reviewers (:

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