Volume 1: 2002 Abstract 3

Journal of Spirituality, Leadership and Management

Volume 1: 2002

Towards a new model of leadership that combines spirituality and pragmatism

Michael Lim and Judith Chapman

University of Western Sydney


From a Western perspective, leadership is primarily concerned with exerting influence on others to achieve set outcomes and generate maximum profits. Leader effectiveness is framed in terms of such results. During the past century, ideas about the correlate of effective leaders has changed as attention has shifted among various factors, including the leader’s traits, the situation, relationships with followers, and goals. Overall, such shifts have produced a rather fragmented picture of the leadership role, rather than uncovering the complexity of leadership and providing a more holistic and integrated one.

Although Eastern management is heavily influenced by Western management theory and practice, Eastern leadership practice is underpinned by the strength of the spiritual bond between leaders and followers. This bond, “Nakama”, which means “in-between” in Japanese, is the measure of leader effectiveness. Nakama is the major force to align or integrate a leader, followers and goals within an organisation. When a leader creates the consciousness of Nakama, the spiritual energy is enlarged and dissipated through all people.

The aim of this paper is to present two different views of leadership, one based on the pragmatic Western approach and the other based on Eastern tradition and philosophy, which is more spiritually based. After briefly discussing the main differences between these two approaches, the paper constructs a new model that combines spirituality and pragmatism.