lokasaMgraha: An Indigenous Construct of Leadership and Its Measure

  • Dharm P. S. BhawukEmail author
Part of the Management, Change, Strategy and Positive Leadership book series (MACHSTPOLE)


Western models and constructs have dominated research in leadership. Cross-cultural research in leadership has questioned the validity of western models, but because of its focus on etics or universals, it has not provided much insight to managers in non-western cultures. We need to develop indigenous models of leadership that can provide insights to guide people’s daily behavior in work and social settings. To fill this lacuna, a small step is taken, and an Indian model of leadership is presented. The construct of lokasaMgraha is derived from the bhagavadgItA, and its relevance for leadership is examined. The construct of lokasaMgraha is further analyzed in the context of Indian concept of self, stages of life (varNAzrama dharma), and the four objectives of life (puruSArthas). This approach results in a rich cultural model of leadership. The construct of lokasaMgraha proposes that not only leaders but also their followers should act so that all their actions are for the greater public good. In other words, leadership is about serving others. All actions, thus, are to be performed without hankering after the outcomes or fruits of one’s efforts, which is the doctrine of niSkAma karma proposed in the bhagavadgItA. The model is grounded in the idea that willy-nilly we are all on a spiritual journey. Implications of this model for global psychology and future research are discussed.


Bhagavad Gita and servant leadership Human goals Business ethics Service Contribution Common good 



I would like to thank Professors jai ballabh prasad sinhA, rAmAdhAra siGha, ricA awasthI, and Ananda candrasekhar nArAyaNan for their insightful comments that helped me improve the paper. An earlier draft of the paper was presented at the symposium (ICAP2014-SP1482) on “Alternative Models of Leadership and Their Motivational Foundations,” organized by Professor arvinda kumAra sinhA, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India, at the International Congress of Applied Psychology, Paris, France, July 9, 2014.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management & Culture and Community PsychologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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