Do Karma-Yogis Make Better Leaders?

Journal of Human Values 15 (2):167-183 (2009)
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This article validates James MacGregor Burns’ hypothesis that moral development is a critical qualification of transformational leaders. In India, morality is conceptualized as Karma-Yoga, a technique for performing actions such that the soul is not bound by the results of the actions. Karma-Yoga has three dimensions—duty-orientation, indifference to rewards, and equanimity—and constitutes a comprehensive model for moral development in the Indian context. We studied 205 leader–follower pairs to investigate the impact of a leader’s Karma-Yoga and a follower’s belief in Indian philosophy on the follower’s perception of transformational leadership. We found that a leader’s duty-orientation was related to a leader’s charisma and inspirational motivation. The relationship was strengthened when a follower’s belief in Indian philosophy was high. The findings support a model of Indian transformational leadership built on the fundamental beliefs in Indian philosophy and duty-orientation.



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Affect, Culture, and Morality, Or Is It Wrong to Eat Your Dog?Jonathan Haidt, Silvia Helena Koller & Maria G. Dias - 1993 - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65 (4):613-28.

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