Developing Leadership: ¿ Questions Business Schools Don't Ask ?


Edited by: Christopher Mabey & Wolfgang Mayrhofer

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  • Front Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: How Do Business Schools Prepare Students for Leadership?

    Part II: How Robust Are the Theoretical and Moral Assumptions of Business Schools?

    Part III: Ethical Leadership: Philosophical and Spiritual Approaches

    Part IV: Reclaiming a Moral Voice in Business Schools: Some Pedagogic Examples

  • Dedication

    All royalties from the book are going to two charities:

    Prospect Burma is dedicated to providing educational scholarships for Burmese nationals. This is funded by the Nobel peace Prize awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi, who observes: ‘If people are educated they can check the government abuse of power, if people remain uneducated the government can rule and oppress as it wishes.’

    MODEM is a UK ecumenical Christian network, which encourages authentic dialogue between exponents of leadership, organization, spirituality and ministry to aid the development of better disciples, community, society and world.


    SAGE was founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge by publishing innovative and high-quality research and teaching content. Today, we publish more than 750 journals, including those of more than 300 learned societies, more than 800 new books per year, and a growing range of library products including archives, data, case studies, reports, conference highlights, and video. SAGE remains majority-owned by our founder, and after Sara's lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures our continued independence.

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    List of Figures and Tables

    • 1.1 Business schools: caged in a collusive cycle 4
    • 1.2 Four ways in which business schools might view leaders and their development 14
    • 8.1 The structure of cultural power and decision-making 111
    • 11.1 Elements of spirituality 155
    • 16.1 Findings from rich picture drawn by male student from Somalia 226
    • 17.1 ‘Habits of the Heart’ conceptual framework 240
    • 18.1 Major clusters of competencies 248
    • 18.2 Competency comparisons by location and job levels 250
    • 1.1 Review of leadership development literature (2000–11) by discourse, journal location and first author location 16
    • 8.1 Leadership roles and responsibilities 116
    • 10.1 Themes for an ethics of mortality 138
    • 10.2 Integrating the rational with the intuitive 139
    • 10.3 Direct and indirect ethics of embodiment 140
    • 12.1 Examples of ethical clashes in healthcare 171
    • 16.1 Students' cultural backgrounds and gender 223
    • 16.2 Students' core meanings of respect from different cultural perspectives 227
    • 17.1 Pragmatism and intimacy in Proverbs 1–7 234
    • 17.2 Secularist dichotomies in the modern world 236
    • 19.1 Change management as energized action 262

    About the Contributors

    David Beech is an organizational psychologist and registered as a practitioner psychologist by the UK Health and Care Professions Council. Since 1989 he has designed and delivered leadership development initiatives in postgraduate and executive education across private, public and not-for-profit enterprises, including projects in China, Europe and the USA, and projects to develop executive director and community leadership capabilities. David is passionate about action centred learning in leadership and organization development that supports individuals and groups with high performance working and continuous improvement and change for the good life in today's tough and turbulent global markets. Currently he is a lecturer in people management at Salford Business School.

    Dr Jerry Biberman is Professor Emeritus of Management at the University of Scranton (retiring from full-time teaching in 2012). For 12 years he served as chair of the Management/Marketing Department at the University of Scranton. He obtained his MS, MA and PhD from Temple University. His current interests are in the areas of holistic coaching and consulting and transformative education. Jerry has co-edited several books and has published many articles in the areas of work and spirituality and on organizational behaviour teaching. Jerry currently lives with his wife Linda in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Karen Blakeley's research interests focus on responsible leadership development. She has worked with leading global organizations in the delivery and assessment of their responsible leadership development programmes and has designed and delivered responsible leadership courses for undergraduate and post-graduate students at the University of Winchester Business School. She has published articles on responsible leadership, a book on leadership blind spots and is particularly interested in the role of spirituality as a means for personal transformation and character development. Prior to joining the business school, Karen was a leadership development consultant working with companies all over the world. She currently heads up the Doctorate of Business Administration at Winchester and is researching the role of values, learning and spirituality in responsible leadership development.

    Dr Warren Chiu's expertise is in the field of leadership and creativity. He has published in various international journals and provided consultancy services to public and private organizations relating to leadership development and human resource management. He is currently the co-director of the Center for Leadership and Innovation. He paints as a hobby.

    Mervyn Conroy is a senior fellow at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham. He is co-director of the MSc Leadership for Health Services Improvement modules, Leadership in Context and Applied Leadership Learning at Birmingham University. He has worked in NHS mental health services as a clinician, manager and researcher. His research, teaching and consultancy over the last decade have focused on change, leadership ethics, the sustainability of health service reform and connected health and social care communities.

    Dr John Coombes is a teaching fellow of the Department of Management and Marketing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He teaches systems concepts in environmental management for business, management and organization, corporate social responsibility and systems dynamics. He researches information systems, learning strategies and technology, idea generation and social media, multimedia information systems and systems support for stakeholder thinking.

    Daniel Doherty enjoyed 30 years of providing organization and business strategy to a number of global multinational players before returning to business school life ten years ago. Daniel is senior lecturer at Middlesex University Business School, London, where he teaches across the syllabus but more recently has been focusing on teaching and research into coaching and organization learning. His research passion is for narrative approaches to learning.

    Audun Fiskerud has been teaching at the Bond University Business School for eight years, following the completion of four Master's degrees at Bond University (MBA, Master of Finance, Master of Communication and Master of Accounting). Audun has for the last three years worked on the Business Spirituality Research Project, a collaboration between Bond University and the Sunland Group.

    Laurence Freeman (OSB) is a Benedictine monk and the spiritual guide and director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, a contemporary, contemplative community. He is also the director of Meditatio, the outreach programme of the same community, which engages with the secular world on the themes of education, mental health, business, addiction and recovery, and medicine. He travels widely as an international speaker and retreat leader, and is the author of many articles and books including, The Selfless Self (2009), Jesus: The Teacher Within (2010) and First Sight: The Experience of Faith (2011).

    Dr Hugo Gaggiotti is principal lecturer in Organization Studies and director of the Bristol MBA at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He studies contemporary ethnic groups by shadowing and by connecting with them during long periods of time. Among the groups he is studying are international MBA students, Italian and Brazilian nomadic engineers and British university administrators, project managers and their teams. Cultural descriptions figure in his writings about power, ethics, post-colonialism, the construction of symbolic spaces, organizational careers, work routines and work rites, like meetings and academic ceremonies. His recent publications examine the exclusion of theorizing in business schools.

    Dr Rickard Grassman is a research fellow at the Department of Engineering Sciences in Uppsala University. His primary research explores social media technologies and their interrelation with innovation and social movements. However, what perhaps more clearly comes to light in this volume is his interest in cultural aspects of knowledge work, which among other sectors has led him to explore our financial world and its influence on identity and the economy. His range of work, including his PhD, testifies to a consistently critical sensitivity that accentuates what is often overshadowed in the mainstream.

    Tim Harle works at the overlap of business and faith. He is programme leader for Sarum College's MA in Christian Approaches to Leadership and a visiting research fellow at Bristol Business School. He has worked in a range of companies in the service sector, and undertook advanced management studies at INSEAD. Tim's publications cover both business and faith perspectives for practitioner and academic audiences. His research interests include post-Newtonian approaches to leadership, and leadership in schools (

    Dr Mary Hartog is the director of Organization and Leadership Practice for Middlesex University Business School, London. This is an externally facing post working with organizations to help them achieve their strategic goals in leadership and organization development. Mary is an academic with a practitioner background in human resource development and change. She specialises in action learning and reflective practice helping leaders navigate the complexities of organizational life, including the political and emotional. She obtained her PhD from the University of Bath in 2004 from the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice. Mary was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2006 for excellence in teaching and learning and she achieved recognition as a Principal Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014.

    Andrew Henley is Professor of Entrepreneurship and director of the Institute of Management, Law and Information Science at Aberystwyth University, having previously been the head of the School of Business and Economics at Swansea University. Between 2009 and 2012 he was director of the LEAD Wales programme for Welsh entrepreneurs. He has written and published extensively on ethics, leadership, entrepreneurial motives and characteristics, and on regional economic development issues. He has served in a range of policy advisory and consultancy roles in the public and private sectors.

    Dr Pamsy Hui received her PhD in organization science from the University of Texas at Austin and is a senior teaching fellow of management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on management education, and the management of stakeholder reactions towards information communicated in the marketplace. Prior to joining Hong Kong Polytechnic University, she taught at the University of Texas at Austin (USA), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), and Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research has appeared in Decision Sciences and Journal of Social Issues, as well as The Oxford Handbook of Inter-Organizational Relationships (2008).

    Phil Jackman is the UK director of the Agape Workplace Initiative, with 37 years of experience in mentoring and leadership development, and a relational network which now extends to 200 countries. As a seasoned communicator and spiritual entrepreneur he is committed to the rehumanization of the workplace. The originator of the course ‘Habits of the Heart’, Phil has built a team of 20 facilitators and mentors over the last six years, teaching and coaching leaders in health, education, business and church.

    Pare Keiha (QSO, MSC, PhD, MBA, MComLaw, FRSA, MInstD, MRSNZ) is the Pro Vice Chancellor for M¯ori Advancement, the Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, and Dean of Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of M¯ori and Indigenous Development at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. He has an extensive background in the governance of public and private companies in New Zealand. He was honoured by the Queen in 2008 when he was made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order (QSO) for his services to business, education and M¯ori.

    Chris Mabey is a chartered psychologist and Professor in Leadership at Middlesex University Business School. Chris has held a career-long interest in leadership development as a counsellor for a charity, as a practitioner with British Telecom and Rank Xerox, and as a consultant. More recently he has researched, taught and written on this topic with four different business schools. He co-authored Management and Leadership Development (2008).

    Wolfgang Mayrhofer is Full Professor and head of the Interdisciplinary Institute of Management and Organisational Behaviour, WU Vienna, Austria. He has previously held full-time positions at the University of Paderborn, Germany, and at Dresden University of Technology, Germany. He conducts research in comparative international human resource management and leadership, work careers, and systems theory and management, and has received national and international rewards for outstanding research and service to the academic community. Wolfgang Mayrhofer authored, co-authored and co-edited 28 books, more than 110 book chapters and 70 peer-reviewed articles. He is a member of the editorial or advisory board of several international journals and research centres.

    David W. Miller serves as director of the Princeton University Faith and Work Initiative. His research, teaching, and writing focus on the intersection of faith and work. He teaches business ethics drawing on the resources of the Abrahamic traditions. He is the author of God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement (2007). David brings an unusual bilingual perspective to his scholarship. Before studying for his PhD, he spent sixteen years in business, including eight years with IBM, and eight years in London as a senior executive in international finance. David also serves as an advisor to CEOs and executives on ethics, values, leadership and faith at work.

    Ricky Yuk-Kwan Ng is a senior education development officer in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong. His research interests are in the workspace personalization in organizations, using photo-ethnography in organizational studies and critique in art and design education.

    Dr Elvy Pang obtained a doctorate in business administration. Her research and teaching focuses are in the areas of leadership, team effectiveness, generic competencies, and technology-assisted learning. Prior to joining academia, she was an entrepreneur and a business practitioner in a diverse range of areas in Hong Kong and mainland China, including executive development and HR consultancy. Elvy has qualifications for the Big-Five, FIRO-B, MBTI, DISC and NLP.

    Ken Parry is Professor of Leadership Studies at Deakin University. He was founding director of the Centre for the Study of Leadership in Wellington, New Zealand. He has written or edited eight books, mainly on the topic of leadership, with several published by Sage. Ken was founding editor of the Journal of Management and Organization, the research journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management. He has addressed the Senior Executive Service of the Australian Public Service at the National Press Club. He is widely used as a speaker at professional conferences and industry events.

    Edwina Pio is the first Professor of Diversity in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In addition to her role at the business school at AUT University, she is a visiting professor at Boston College in the USA, is on the board of the Australia New Zealand Academy of Management and is an associate director of the New Zealand India Research Institute. Her principal area of research interest is diversity in business and education, and through her interdisciplinary scholarship, research, publications and international presentations, she seeks to change the parameters of the debate, particularly focusing on marginality, ethnicity, gender and religion/spirituality. Professor Pio has published widely in internationally ranked journals and is the author of several books.

    Molly Scott Cato is an MEP for the South West of England and sits in parliament's Green Group. She was formerly Professor of Green Economics at Roehampton University. Molly is an expert on economics and finance and has published a number of books and papers, including most recently The Bioregional Economy: Land, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (2012), which develops ideas for a new model of stable and sustainable economic life. She has also written widely on themes concerned with mutualism, social enterprise, policy responses to climate change, banking and finance, and local economies. Molly is the Green Party's national speaker on finance and a member of its political committee.

    Yuliya Shymko is Assistant Professor of Strategy at the Vlerick Business School (Belgium) and a visiting professor of Sociology at IE University (Spain). She has a helpful mix of academic and managerial backgrounds. Trained as an economist with a specialization in international relations, she has also dedicated her time to research the socio-political and economic reality of post-Soviet republics in affiliation with the University of Alberta (Canada). Her current academic interests include the application of feminist theories to business ethics, cross-sector collaboration in creative industries, and the emergence of hybrid organizations to address the problems of sustainable development and social deterioration.

    Peter Simpson is Associate Professor in Organization Studies at Bristol Business School. Throughout his career he has held a range of leadership roles and consulted to senior managers on strategic change. He studies leadership through the theoretical lenses of complexity, spirituality and psychodynamics and has published widely in this field. His latest book is Attention, Cooperation, Purpose: An Approach to Working in Groups Using Insights from Wilfred Bion (2014, with Robert French). Current projects include the ESRC Seminar Series ‘Ethical Leadership: The Contribution of Philosophy and Spirituality’, and the BA/Leverhulme funded ‘Group Decision-making in Times of Crisis: Promoting Peace Dialogue Processes after the Arab Spring’.

    J.-C. Spender retired in 2003 as Dean of the School of Business and Technology at FIT/SUNY in Manhattan. He was previously on the faculty at UCLA, Rutgers, York (Toronto), and City (now Cass). Prior to an academic career he worked for Rolls-Royce and Associates on nuclear power, IBM (in the City), and Slater-Walker. His most recent books include Business Strategy: Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise (2014) and Strategic Conversations: Creating and Directing the Entrepreneurial Workforce (2014, with Bruce Strong).

    Leah Tomkins is senior lecturer at Middlesex University London. Her research concerns different facets of the lived experience of work and organization, drawing principally on phenomenological philosophy. Previously a management consultant with Accenture and KPMG, then Director of Change for the UK Civil Service, she is interested in exploring the things that are relatively silent in organizational conversations, such as feelings, bodies and existential meanings. Her projects seek to expose the implicit functionalism of ‘organizational strategy’ and ‘change management’, not to undermine calls for organizational effectiveness, but rather, to consider alternative ways of thinking about what we mean by ‘effective’.

    Aidan Ward is an organizational systems consultant who looks at how structures drive behaviours. He works across public, private and third sectors. His current work is in how pension fund investment ends up destroying value, and in alternative economic models for local community development.

    Doirean Wilson is a fellow of the CIPD, a Fellow of the European SPES Institute, and an HRM senior lecturer (Practice) at Middlesex University Business School, London. Her previous roles include consultant, journalist and projects manager. She teaches various business and HRM topics and her research interests and publications are in the area of leadership, gender disparity and cross-cultural team working. Doirean recently drew on her study to launch a high profile practitioner diversity conference at Middlesex.

    Praise for Developing Leadership

    ‘A rare thing, this book gives more than the label promises. The title is about “questions,” yet each chapter gives us answers to why important issues are not addressed in business schools – and what to do about it. This is a manifesto for reform, and the next big question is what will you, reader, do about it?’

    Jonathan Gosling, Professor of Leadership, University of Exeter

    ‘Reading this book makes you think about leadership and, most of all, educating potential leaders! The book builds on an astonishing multiplicity of theoretical, philosophical and spiritual traditions, providing the reader with a critical understanding of leadership processes – including moral responsibilities and accountabilities.’

    Jörg Sydow, Professor of Management, Freie Universität Berlin

    ‘Exploring the intrinsic link between spirituality, ethics and business, is a critical step in ensuring the unified vision of individuals, institutions of society and the community, to achieve a harmonious and sustainable future. It is incumbent upon us all to become the “agents of change”.’

    Soheil Abedian, Chairman of Sunland Group, Australia

    ‘This is a very timely publication. Business school education needs a critical examination from people who inhabit that world and know what they're talking about. The presence and prominence of teleological, spiritual and ethical perspectives are especially welcome.’

    Richard Higginson, Director of Faith in Business, Ridley Hall, University of Cambridge

    ‘The authors have undertaken a courageous exploration of the ills that never seem to go away in the capitalist model. Courageous because the authors examine their own roles in perpetuating those ills. It is an important book which I hope the leaders of business schools and leaders of business will read.’

    Vincent Neate, Head of Sustainability, KPMG

    ‘This collection of readings is an excellent antidote to what can be seen as the ignominy of our age – the relentless and unremitting proliferation of corporate scandals culminating but not ceasing with the 2008 global financial crisis. More specifically, it focuses on one of the travesties of the modern university – the incapacity of business schools to challenge the myopic economic instrumental values of business. By raising problems and possible solutions to questions that business schools rarely ask, it facilitates a debate that could help to challenge the inadvertent complicity of higher education to sustain and reproduce an unenlightened individualistic self-seeking managerial cadre. It provides an illuminating insight into current business school and business practices and their failures to provide a more enlightened ethical leadership that would benefit both students and practitioners of business as well as society more generally.’

    David Knights, Professor of Organisation Studies, Lancaster University Management School and Open University Business School

    ‘This book is a badly needed, but underestimated – and perhaps unwanted? – wake-up call for main stream business schools, which are providing smooth, normative, maple syrup flavoured managerialist answers to important, current and future leadership challenges. The book will help academics, students and practitioners to get out of the inner paradigmatic prison, where answers are provided, before the questions are raised, where socially desirable rhetoric shade for critical questioning, and where “what's in it for me?” repress important societal, ethical considerations.’

    Henrik Holt Larsen, Professor of Human Resource Management, Institute for Organisation, Copenhagen Business School

    ‘We live in interesting times. Wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a very small elite, while the dispossessed are complicit because they have made money their god. We are racing towards cataclysmic collapse, as infinite growth is not possible when we live on a finite planet. Within this aberration Business Schools have become the servants of corporate power. Thinking is seen as dangerous because it threatens power, and ethics is equally subversive within materialistic consumerism. Without challenging the idea of business, this book asserts that universities at least ought to be asking questions. However, speaking truth to power is not easy when universities themselves have become just another corporate business. This book is vast and complex in its scholarship, with something for everyone. Enjoy and be challenged.’

    Tony Watkins, Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects

    ‘Finally! For too long the role of business education, and the MBA as its global flagship, has remained shockingly unquestioned in today's crisis of enterprise and economics. This book has to be highly commended for its collaborative, cross-cultural courage, reviewing and renewing not only the underlying assumptions of business and business education, but also for tapping deeply into an impressive variety of philosophical, ethical, cultural and spiritual resources of humanity as vital ingredients for a much needed transformation of an entire discipline and practice. Developing Leadership's main merit is to be a well-composed, deeply substantiated and profoundly challenging “door opener” to a crucial debate – to be held across borders, cultures, disciplines and institutions. It is an example and urgent invitation for co-engagement between management educators, business students and practitioners alike. Congratulations!’

    Alexander Schieffer, Co-Author of Transformation Management: Towards the Integral Enterprise

    The Parrot's Training

    ‘Once upon a time there was a bird. It was ignorant. It sang all right, but never recited scriptures. It hopped pretty frequently, but lacked manners. Said the Raja to himself: “Ignorance is costly in the long run. For fools consume as much food as their betters, and yet give nothing in return.” He called his nephews to his presence and told them that the bird must have a sound schooling. The pundits were summoned, and at once went to the root of the matter. They decided that the ignorance of birds was due to their natural habit of living in poor nests. Therefore, according to the pundits, the first thing necessary for this bird's education was a suitable cage.’1

    Rabindranath Tagore

    Is it too far-fetched to liken business schools to the bejewelled cage in Tagore's exotic fable? As he goes on: ‘crowds come to see it from all parts of the world. “Culture, captured and caged!” exclaimed some, in a rapture of ecstasy and burst into tears.’ But while a succession of pundits, goldsmiths and numerous nephews benefit from elaboration of the cage, the bird inside is neglected and finally breathes its last. Guarded by the kotwal and the sepoys and the sowars, the bird is brought to the Raja and in a poignant ending: ‘he poked its body with his finger. Only its inner stuffing of book-leaves rustled.’

    1Excerpted from: V. Bhatia (ed.) 1994. Rabindranath Tagore: Pioneer in Education. New Delhi: Sahitya Chayan.


    This book is music to my ears … When I first saw the draft, the first line of Etta James' iconic blues ballad, ‘At last, my love has come along …’ kept repeating in my head. I have long thought that there is a desperate need to be critically reflexive about the paradigm of leadership and management promoted by business schools. However, because business discourse is so pervasive, this felt a lonely place to be. I'm really glad that this book has come along!

    According to some scholars, business has become such a dominant force in the West that Western Society is now characterized as being a ‘business culture’. More recently, the colonization of market language has spread to education, medicine, religion, politics, art, sports and leisure sector has even permeated into family life, and into our constructions of love, affection and personal identity. In this sense, commerce and culture have become inextricably combined. Noted anthropologist, Stephen Gudeman, refers to this as the ‘long term shift from community to market’ that ‘is often justified as modernization, progress, and the triumph of rationality’.

    In organizations, this trend is manifested by the wide-spread adoption the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) approach. During my twenty-five years as a Human Resource professional, twenty-one of which have been in the Christian NGO sector, I have frequently wrestled with the incongruity of having to subscribe to a transactional model of organizing based on market principles. It strikes me as ironic that faith-based organizations are attempting to foster life-giving communities, and deal with issues of inequality, poverty, politics and power, using the managerialist practices of a capitalist/business discourse that, arguably, created the inequality in the first place.

    I delight in the fact that this book is a collection of narratives aimed at picking the lock of this twenty-first century psychic prison. It feels emancipatory. They do this by:

    • inviting readers to be critically reflexive about managerial practice;
    • identifying taken-for-granted assumptions of business discourse;
    • challenging what we now take as ‘normal’ ways of perceiving, conceiving and acting in organizations; and
    • imaging and exploring extraordinary alternatives.

    For me, this is a long overdue and must read book.

    PatrickGoh, Head of Global Human Resources, Tearfund

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