The Emergence of Spiritual Leader and Leadership in Religion-Based Organizations


In the present research, we qualitatively document the process by which spiritual leader and leadership emerge in religion-based organizations. Data from 26 participants in three religion-based organizations revealed three cardinal themes that depict (1) the development of spiritual leader (e.g., embodiment of a spiritual leaderspiritual lifestyle; inspiration) and spiritual leadership (e.g., follower-based leadership), (2) the process of developing a spiritual leader (e.g., interest/calling, personal experiences) and spiritual leadership (e.g., appointment; training), and (3) outcomes of spiritual leader and leadership development (i.e., personal, follower and organizational growth). Based on the results, we propose a model that depicts the phases involved in the development of spiritual leader/leadership in the religion-based workplace. These phases are proposed to impact the outcomes for the leader, followers, and the organization. The implications of our results are discussed.

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Correspondence to Oluremi B. Ayoko.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Low, J.J.Q., Ayoko, O.B. The Emergence of Spiritual Leader and Leadership in Religion-Based Organizations. J Bus Ethics 161, 513–530 (2020).

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  • Spiritual leader/leadership development
  • Religion-based organizations and qualitative