RESEARCH OVERVIEW

The concept of human dignity is broadly accepted by most people groups as a core social construct and expression of human value (Schachter, 1983). It is a normative principle in western society and is encapsulated in many national and international laws (Riley, 2010). In spite of its ubiquity, the meaning and application of human dignity is the subject of much debate. The lack of a universally agreed definition is one of the key challenges facing researchers in the human dignity domain. This problem is widely acknowledged in the literature.

 

Management researchers have made some, albeit limited, attempts to explore human dignity in the workplace. These efforts have primarily focused on unionisation, worker’s rights and a few practical workplace matters. Some work has also been done to explore human dignity in specific occupational fields, such as health care.

 

Very little has been done to explore the connections between human dignity and leadership studies. One of the key aims of this doctoral research effort is to explore these connections, with a particular focus on spiritual leadership. Three promising connections will be explored: altruistic love / mutual flourishing, wholeness of the human person, and service to others as a reflection of perceived worth. The following sections provide an introductory literature review of human dignity and spiritual leadership.

 

CONSIDER THESE QUESTIONS

 

  • Do humans, as Immanuel Kant suggested 250 years ago, have inherent dignity? Or, is dignity something humans can gain and lose through their own actions and experiences they have?

  • In what ways do leaders that exhibit spiritual leadership behaviors also exhibit patterns of character and behavior that are associated with human dignity?

  • In what ways do leaders and followers understand the concept of human dignity as a social construct in the workplace and what impact does this have on perceived leadership practices?

  • Can contemporary theories of leadership be advanced by incorporating the ideas of human dignity? What evidence exists for the assumption of human dignity within specific theories such as the theory of spiritual leadership proposed by Dr. Louis Fry?

  • How can these advancements improve the state of leadership practice? Can a knowledge of moral philosophy in general, and human dignity specifically, help someone be a better leader?

 

PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

Kyle, J. and Wond, T. (2018). A preliminary field study on human dignity and spiritual leadership in the workplace. Presentation at the 1st Annual Pennsylvania Leadership Studies Conference. April 7, 2018. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA.

Kyle, J., Wond, T., and Carlier, J. (2017). Human dignity, higher order needs and spiritual leadership theory. Refereed paper presentation at the 19th Annual ILA Global Conference. October 12-15, 2017. Brussels, Belgium.

Kyle, J., Wond, T., and Carlier, J. (2017). Human dignity and leader meaning making in spiritual leadership. Presentation at the Tobias Leadership Engagement and Discovery Conference. April 20-21, 2017. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Kyle J. (2016). Introduction to human dignity and contemporary leadership theory. Invited presentation at Patrick Henry College. February 12, 2016. Purcellville, Virginia, USA.

 

PARTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Ackroyd, Andrew (2007). Dirt, work, and dignity. In S. Bolton, ed. 2007. Dimensions of dignity at work. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

 

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Aristotle (2001b) Trans. Jowett, B. Politica, in R. McKeon, ed. 2001. The basic works of Aristotle. New York: Random House, Inc., 1113-1316.

 

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© 2019 by John Kyle. All rights reserved.

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