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The spiritual dimension in leadership at Dilmah Tea

Mario Fernando (School of Management and Marketing, Faculty of Commerce, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Frederick Beale (Acute Care Policy Section, Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra, Australia)
Gary D. Geroy (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 28 August 2009




The purpose of this paper is first to report an exploratory study intended to capture the elements of a leader's spirituality; and second to examine these elements against the current discussion of spiritual leadership in general, and the transcendental leadership model in particular.


Within a single case study scenario, the in‐depth interview method captures the elements of the leader's spirituality. Grounded theory is used to analyze the data.


The findings suggest that a spiritually driven leader's high internal locus, a strong passion for giving and caring for his followers, and spirituality epitomize the concept of transcendental leadership.

Research limitations/implications

The major limitation concerns generalizability of the findings. While in‐depth studies of larger samples of spiritually driven business leaders are needed, these leaders could be drawn from different cultural settings. Using different assessment tools to measure various aspects of spirituality might provide helpful perspectives in future research aimed at understanding the relationships between spirituality and leadership styles.

Practical implications

The paper provides an alternative way of characterizing spiritually oriented leaders, as they strive to integrate spirituality to all aspects of their life.


The paper assesses the functionality of a spirituality‐driven business leader as early evidence of the viability of the concept of transcendental leadership. It is of value to academic researchers and practitioners.



Fernando, M., Beale, F. and Geroy, G.D. (2009), "The spiritual dimension in leadership at Dilmah Tea", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 522-539.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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