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Leadership and spirituality

Robert Burke (Program Director at Melbourne Business School, Mt Eliza Centre for Executive Education, Mount Eliza, Australia.)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Publication date: 1 November 2006



This paper seeks to suggest that effective leadership can be achieved by, and can drive, an integral spiritual connectedness between governments, organisations and society as a whole.


A literature search to map the history and the underlying philosophies that have led to the current popular concept of leadership, and to suggest a different worldview to bring about a change to these underlying philosophies in order to enhance leadership effectiveness.


Effective leadership is multi‐disciplinary, involving not only those disciplines of sociology, psychology and technology, but that of spirituality as well. This new approach is effective because of the different ways it offers of gaining deeper insights into a leader's own spiritual self, but also beyond this to others with whom the leader interacts, and others who are affected by the results of their leadership.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is not an exhaustive literature search and is primarily limited to selected authors of futures studies, psychology, psychotherapy, economics and business.

Practical implications

The paper proposes steps to guide how organizational leadership can lead to more effective workplaces as well as benefiting the global society as a whole.


The paper is current in today's environment and offers a practical epistemological explorative approach into what effective spiritual leadership could mean and to consider the impact of leadership decisions and actions as a result.



Burke, R. (2006), "Leadership and spirituality", Foresight, Vol. 8 No. 6, pp. 14-25.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited