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The resurgence of human values in today's organizations: pointers from the Buddha

Joan Marques (Author of Joy at Work, Work at Joy: Living and Working Mindfully Every Day (Personhood Press) and co‐editor of The Workplace and Spirituality: New Perspectives in Research and Practice (SkyLight Paths), an anthology with contributions from 25 authors from all over the globe)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 1 January 2012




This paper aims to emphasize the behavioural shift in contemporary leadership and relate it to ancient traditions.


First reviewing contemporary trends, the article links these to widely available statements from Gautama Siddhartha, also known as “The Buddha”. It adopts a philosophical approach toward existing literature and experiential impressions. The subject scope is awareness and application of social skills in leadership.


The foundational concept of leadership has remained unchanged over many centuries, and an awakening about that is happening.

Practical implications

Encouraging leaders in all settings to develop and nurture “soft” skills (e.g. empathy, emotional intelligence, listening, leading from behind, tolerance, and yielding) along with the “hard” ones (e.g. knowledge, passion, charisma, decisiveness), which are often prioritized.

Social implications

The impact on society will be that a greater sense of gratification among those who are treated respectfully will positively affect their behaviour, leading to expansion of this mentality, and finally resulting in greater societal happiness.


This paper is a critical note to all who currently fulfil or aspire to leadership positions in any setting. It will not only ensure greater success in their career, but also result better organizational performance.



Marques, J. (2012), "The resurgence of human values in today's organizations: pointers from the Buddha", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 5-7.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited