Many authors have called for a more humane and effective type of leadership. This article seeks to propose a research program on the content and process of integral leadership. This type of leadership has been exemplified by leaders known for their ethical and spiritual maturity, such as Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi and Rachel Carson, among others, and by many men and women who have not achieved fame.
As this research requires a multi‐disciplinary, multi‐level and developmental approach, Ken Wilber's integral model is described and used as a frame for the research program, going beyond the limitations of current leadership inquiry.
After having presented both the critics offered on leadership research and the tenets of the integral model, the article proposes a research program articulated by the analysis of individual cases of this leadership pattern and the collective analysis of these cases. Further, it adopts a micro, meso and macro perspective through the use of three methodologies: interpretative biography, institutional analysis and historical inquiry.
This research program contributes to a developmental theory of leadership. Researchers will find in this paper an innovative and sounded research program which can generate results on both the practice and development of a type of leadership we badly need.
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