We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Spiritual Leadership: A Buddhist Approach

VU, MAI,CHI (2018) Spiritual Leadership: A Buddhist Approach. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This study examines spiritual leadership from a Buddhist perspective in the context of a transitional economy: Vietnam. Vietnam is undergoing significant changes in blending traditional values with contemporary ones, which creates a complex and dynamic social setting for exploratory research. Changes include incorporating traditional spiritual practices and engaged Buddhism in the contemporary context. The study explores and examines how spiritual leaders in organizations interpret and enact Buddhist teachings and principles in Vietnam. The outcome of the preliminary quantitative study examining spiritual leadership in the context of Vietnam informs a mixed methods study in which the qualitative phase is guided by a critical-realist-informed grounded theory approach. This mixed-methods study explores how spiritual leadership is distinctively interpreted by organizational leaders who are Buddhist practitioners. The findings suggest that Buddhist-enacted leadership is a process of self-transformation and operates as a skilful means involving multiple leadership identities to flexibly and mindfully respond to contextual challenges. Context emerges as having a primary role in the understanding and application of Buddhist principles in leadership, manifested by the Buddhist concepts of impermanence, non-attachment, and wisdom. Buddhist-enacted leaders’ authenticity was challenged and moderated by the adoption of multiple identities, resulting in inconsistencies in leadership styles, the overall skepticism in Vietnamese society due to the lack of trust of the Vietnamese people as a result of the political and social features of the country’s regime, and the level of maturity of leaders in respect of Buddhist practices. The study introduces a Buddhist-enacted leadership model that contextualises spiritual leadership and reaffirms that neither the promotion of commonly known good practices nor any mimetic isomorphism of social responsibility or Western sustainability practices would be able to address the complex nature of a developing nation like Vietnam.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Aug 2018 11:03

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter