Key Research Interests and Expertise

At the broadest level, my research investigates how we can create and lead positive change in organizations for our common good in the 21st century.  I posit that the key to creating positive outcomes in organizations lies in awakening the positive potential of organizational members through humane values and benevolent tendencies. As such, I devote my research to documenting the processes through which leaders inspire people and create positive change in human systems.

Benevolent Leadership:

My first research stream, centred on my thesis, focuses on the nature, dynamics, and consequences of benevolent leadership in organizations. My dissertation research has developed a higher-order conceptual model of benevolent leadership based on four paradigms of common good in organizational research: Morality, spirituality, vitality, and community. I have developed Benevolent Leadership Scale to measure the construct of benevolent leadership composed of four dimensions: ethical sensitivity, spiritual depth, positive engagement, and community responsiveness. I am hoping to operationalise this construct with diverse samples and cultural contexts to enhance the generalisability as well as the discriminant, convergent, and predictive validity of the Benevolent Leadership Scale.

Creative Spirit and Spirituality at Work:

My second research stream focuses on the ways that organizations create and sustain positive human potential at work.  I investigate how leaders can incorporate spirituality and positive values at work to create reflective spaces and compassionate workplaces. I introduce the concept of "corporate spiritual responsibility" as a promising field of inquiry and advocacy for organizations of the 21st century. The concept of corporate spiritual responsibility aims to re-examine, question, and reinvent the very basis of business organizations as it encompasses taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on the spiritual wellbeing and happiness of employees, customers, shareholders, and the wider community. This work underlines the importance of taking "the spiritual perspective" into account while designing spirited workplaces of the 21st century; which are engaged with passion, alive with meaning, and connected with compassion.

Positive Organizational Scholarship and Positive Management Education:

My third research stream focuses on creating positive and supportive learning environments and designing joyful learning experiences for managers, professionals, and students.  I draw on positive organizational scholarship to investigate the ways to enable professionals to become more engaged, creative, and passionate in their pursuit of learning and innovation.  Specifically; I am interested in uncovering the ways to inspire my students, nurture the best of them, build on their strengths, passions and dreams; and ultimately build lifetime relationships with them.

Breathing New Life into Leadership Studies

The crisis of confidence and trust in leadership in organizations has been growing - as manifested in corporate layoffs, ethical scandals, and cases of corruption, abuse of power, and uncontrolled greed. This stream of research posits that the leadership literature needs fresh and creative thinking, and an interdisciplinary approach. This stream builds on my expertise and track record in leadership studies (Emerald EFQM Outstanding Doctoral Research Award; 5 funded research projects; 1 book; as well as 10 peer-reviewed publications in the field of Leadership) and drives a bold agenda of multidisciplinary innovation in leadership research and methods to energize and inspire the practice of leadership. The objectives are: 1) To explore and unleash moments of aliveness, inspiration, and generativity in leadership practice in diverse contexts, 2) To expand and refresh the leadership dictionary through new constructs, creative thinking, and an integrative outlook, 3) To redefine leadership through diverse metaphors and insights drawn from arts, humanities and nature, to call for greater cross-fertilization of interdisciplinary ideas in leadership. The principal research method will be qualitative biographical interviews; but diary methods, visual self-reflective methods, and auto-ethnographic methods will also be used. The multidisciplinary inquiry will combine large-scale ethnographic, visual, and narrative data from diverse walks of life. The outputs will comprise of a digital portfolio of insightful artefacts, texts, drawings, collage art, design work, and ethnographic short films on ‘slices of leadership' - lenses on inspirational and aspirational processes that underlie acts or moments of leading.  

As I continue my research on these four interrelated streams; I aim to develop new ways of understanding how we can nurture the human spirit in workplaces and build a collective sense of creativity and vitality in organizations.  The link between my four research streams is the focus on creating positive change to build more humane, creative, and compassionate organizations.  Going forward, I expect to integrate these research streams by developing multi-level theory to enrich our understanding of creating positive change in human systems. 

I am interested in supervising PhD students who intend undertaking research that has synergies with my own research interests in the areas of creativity, spirituality, leadership, personal development, workplace learning, and organizational change. 


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