Advertisement

New Horizons in Transformational Leadership: A Vedāntic Perspective on Values-Based Leadership

  • Satinder DhimanEmail author
  • Varinder Kumar
Chapter
  • 46 Downloads
Part of the Management for Professionals book series (MANAGPROF)

Abstract

This chapter explores the values-based, Vedāntic perspective on transformational leadership. Drawing upon various key Vedāntic texts, it explains why Self-knowledge is so crucial to transformational leaders. As a system of Self-knowledge, Advaita Vedānta is free from sectarian bias or dogma. Its tenets are rational, universalistic, and scientific in spirit. After briefly reviewing some variants of transformation leadership (such as authentic leadership, responsible leadership, and servant leadership), this chapter presents the values-based leadership examples of two stalwarts of modern India—Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Finally, it discusses the leadership style of Dr. E. Sreedharan, widely known as the Metro Man of India, as a case in point of a values-driven leader.

Advaita Vedānta teaches that the phenomenal world, though real at the relative level, is merely a manifestation of an underlying Absolute Reality, known as Brahman. The philosophy of Vedānta advocates Oneness of the Universe. This understanding fosters equality in ethical conduct stemming from realizing the divinity of all beings and serving them with altruistic motive. Vedānta teaches respect, tolerance, and understanding of the other faiths and, thus, nurtures humanity and solidarity in the contemporary fragmented world. As different beings are just the expressions of one universal consciousness, hurting the other means hurting oneself. This realization is the source and foundation of all philanthropy, ethical conduct, and social contract. The teachings of Vedānta have profound relevance in context of transformational leadership and values-based leadership.

Keywords

Transformational leadership Values-based leadership Advaita Vedānta and Self-knowledge; Mahatma Gandhi; E. Sreedharan Swami Vivekananda 

References

  1. Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of Leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 315–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avolio, B., Luthans, F., & Walumbwa, F.O. (2004). Authentic Leadership: Theory building for veritable sustained performance. Working paper. Lincoln, NE: Gallup Leadership Institute, University of Nebraska.Google Scholar
  3. Avolio, B. J. (2010). Pursuing authentic leadership development. In N. Nohria & R. Khurana (Eds.), Handbook of leadership theory and practice (pp. 739–768). Boston: Harvard Business Press.Google Scholar
  4. Balsekar, R. (2003). Peace and harmony in daily living: Facing life moment to moment, being anchored in tranquility. Mumbai, India: Yogi Impressions.Google Scholar
  5. Barbuto, J. E., & Wheeler, D. W. (2006). Scale development and construct clarification of servant leadership. Group & Organization Management, 31(3), 300–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior. The Leadership Quarterly, 10, 181–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bass, B. M., Avolio, B., Jung, D. I., & Berson, Y. (2003). Predicting unit performance by assessing transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(2), 207–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1993). Transformational Leadership: A response to critiques. In M. M. Chamers & R. Ayman (Eds.), Leadership theory and research: Perspectives and direction (pp. 49–88). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bass, B. M. (1995, Winter). Theory of transformational leadership redux. The Leadership Quarterly, 6(4), 463–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boone, L. W., & Makhani, S. (2012). Five necessary attitudes of a servant leader. Review of Business, 33, 83–96.Google Scholar
  11. Brown, M. E., & Trevino, L. K. (2006). Ethical Leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 595–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brunton, P. (1934). A search in secret India. London: Rider &.Google Scholar
  13. Burns, J. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  14. Chakraborty, S. K., & Chakraborty, D. (2008). Spirituality in management: Means or ends? New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Chaudhuri, A. (2011). Vivekananda: A born leader: The attributes and thoughts of an extraordinary leader-manager-a perfect embodiment of the servant-leadership concept. Kolkata, India: Advaita Ashrama.Google Scholar
  16. Covey, S. R. (2002). In Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant Leadership. New York: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  17. Crainer, S. (1997). The ultimate business library; 50 books that shaped management thinking. New York: American Management Association.Google Scholar
  18. Den Hartog, D. N., House, R. J., Hanges, P. U., Ruiz-Quintanilla, S. A., & Dorfman, P. W. (1999). Culture-specific and cross culturally generalizable implicit leadership theories: Are attributes of charismatic/transformational leadership universally endorsed? The Leadership Quarterly, 10, 219–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dennis, R. S. (2004). Servant leadership theory: Development of the servant leadership assessment instrument (Ph.d. thesis). Regent University.Google Scholar
  20. Desai, M. (1946). The gospel of selfless action or the Gita according to Gandhi. Ahmedabad, India: Navjivan Publishing House.Google Scholar
  21. Desai, N. (1999). My Gandhi. Ahmedabad, India: Navjivan Publishing House.Google Scholar
  22. Dhiman, S. (2012). Seven habits of highly fulfilled people: Journey from success to significance. Fawnskin, CA: Personhood Press.Google Scholar
  23. Ehrhart, M. G. (2004). Leadership and procedural justice climate as antecedents of unit level organizational citizenship behavior. Personnel Psychology, 57(1), 61–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fairholm, G. W. (1996). Spiritual leadership: Fulfilling whole-self needs at work. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 17(5), 11–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Farling, M. L., Stone, A. G., & Winston, B. E. (1999). Servant Leadership: Setting the Stage for Empirical Research. Journal of Leadership & Organization Studies, 6(1/2), 49–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Focht, A., & Ponton, M. (2015). Identifying Preliminary Characteristics of Servant Leadership: Delphi Study: International Journal of Leadership Studies, 9(1), 44–61.Google Scholar
  27. Ford, J., & Harding, N. (2011). The impossibility of the ‘true self’ of authentic leadership. Leadership, 7(4), 463–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Freeman, R. E., & Auster, E. R. (2011). Values, authenticity and responsible leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 98, 15–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fry, L. W. (2003). Toward a theory of spiritual leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 14, 693–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gardner, J. W. (1990). On leadership. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  31. George, B. (2003). Authentic leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  32. George, B., & Sims, P. (2007). True north: Discover your authentic leadership. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  33. Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional Intelligence. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  34. Goleman, D. (2013). Focus: The hidden driver to excellence. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  35. Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  36. Hendricks, G., & Ludeman, K. (1996). The corporate mystic. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  37. Hesse, H. (1956). Tr. Rosner, Hilda. The Journey to the East. London: Peter Owen: Vision Press.Google Scholar
  38. Hesse, H. (1951). Siddhartha. New York: Bantan.Google Scholar
  39. Hesse, H. (1932/1956). The journey to the east. New York: Martino Publishing.Google Scholar
  40. Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow (4th ed.). Los Angles: Sage.Google Scholar
  41. Johnson, C. E. (2009). Spirituality and ethical leadership: Moral persons and moral managers. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman, & R. King (Eds.), The workplace and spirituality: New perspectives on research and practice (pp. 75–86). Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing.Google Scholar
  42. Kanungo, R. N., & Mendonca, M. (1996). Sage series in business ethics. Ethical dimensions of leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  43. Kanungo, R. N. (2001). Ethical values of transactional and transformational leaders. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18, 257–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. (2012). The leadership challenge (5th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  45. Luthans, F., & Avolio, B. (2003). Authentic leadership: A positive developmental approach. In K. Cameron, J. Dutton, & R. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship (pp. 241–245). San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  46. Maak, T., & Pless, N. M. (2009). Business leaders as citizens of the world: Advancing humanism on a global scale. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 537–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Maak, T. (2007). Responsible leadership, stakeholder engagement, and the emergence of social capital. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 329–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Maslow, A. H. (1965). Eupsychian management. Homewood, IL: Irwin.Google Scholar
  49. Nazareth, P. A. (2006). Gandhi’s outstanding leadership. Bangalore, India: Sarvodaya International Trust.Google Scholar
  50. O’Toole, J. (2008). Notes toward a definition of values-based leadership. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 1(1). Article 10.Google Scholar
  51. Parry, K. W., & Proctor-Thomson, S. B. (2002). Perceived integrity of transformational leaders in organizational settings. Journal of Business Ethics, 35, 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Price, T. L. (2003). The ethics of authentic transformational leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 14, 67–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pruzan, P. (2008). Spiritual-based leadership in business. Journal of Human Values, 14(2), 101–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rabbin, R. (2009). YOU are the message! The power of authentic speaking. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman, & R. King (Eds.), The Workplace and Spirituality: New Perspectives on Research and Practice (pp. 35–44). Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing.Google Scholar
  55. Radhakrishnan, S. (1914). The ethics of Vedānta. International Journal of Ethics, 24(2), 168–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Raman Maharshi. (1955/2006). Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. Tiruvannamalai, India: Sri Ramanasramam.Google Scholar
  57. Raman Maharshi. (2003). Maharshi’s gospel: The teachings of Sri Ramana. Tiruvannamalai, India: Sri Ramanasramam.Google Scholar
  58. Reave, L. (2005). Spiritual values and practices related to leadership effectiveness. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 655–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rego, A., Cunha, M. P. E., & Oliveira, M. (2007). Eupsychia revisited: The role of spiritual leaders. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 48, 165–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ricard, M. (2006). Happiness, A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill. New York: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  61. Roberts, G. (2015). Christian scripture and human resource management: Building a path to servant leadership through faith. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ross, R. D. S. (2009). I-Thou at the workplace: An interpersonal spirituality from the teachings of Martin Buber. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman, & R. King (Eds.), The workplace and spirituality: New perspectives on research and practice (pp. 87–98). Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing.Google Scholar
  63. Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline, the art and practice of the learning organization. Milsons Point: Random House.Google Scholar
  64. Spears, L. (2010). Character and servant leadership: Ten characteristics of effective, caring leaders. The Journal of Virtues and Leadership, 1(1), 25–30.Google Scholar
  65. Sreedharan. (2017). as quoted in Aklekar, R. B. (2017). India’s Railway Man-A Biography of E Sreedharan. New Delhi, India: Rupa.Google Scholar
  66. Sreedharan. (2012). Speech at the Project management, National Conference, hosted by PMI Chennai India Chapter & PMI Kerala Chapter. As quoted in Aklekar, R. B. (2017). India’s railway man-a biography of E Sreedharan. New Delhi, India: Rupa.Google Scholar
  67. Sri Aurobindo (2009). The Gita in the Vision and Words of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.Google Scholar
  68. Sri Aurobindo. (2009/2013). The Gita-in the vision and the words of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press.Google Scholar
  69. Sri Ramakrishna. (1942). The gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Madras, India: Sri Ramakrishna Math.Google Scholar
  70. Swami Paramarthananda. (2003). Lectures on the Bhagvadgita (set of 3 volumes). Chennai, India: The Samskrita Academy.Google Scholar
  71. Swami Swahannda (2003). Vedānta and Ramakrishna, edited by Pamela Reid, 2nd Print. Kolkata, India: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.Google Scholar
  72. Walumbwa, F. O., Avolio, B. J., Gardner, W. L., Wersing, T. S., & Peterson, S. J. (2008). Authentic leadership: Development and validation of a theory-based measure? Journal of Management, 34(1), 89–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yukl, G., Mahsud, R., Hassan, S., & Prussia, G. E. (2013). An improved measure of ethical leadership. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 20(1), 38–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessWoodbury UniversityBurbankUSA
  2. 2.Government CollegeKapurthalaIndia

Personalised recommendations