Leadership Theories and Stories: An Open-Space Exploration

Shankar Sankaran


Members of ISSS are being invited to participate in an interactive workshop to be held at the 55th ISSS Meeting being held at the University of Hull, UK in August 2011 to explore four emerging Western leadership theories – authentic leadership, servant leadership, spiritual leadership and relational leadership with stories and narratives from non-Western cultures to build connections between these traditions. The workshop will be facilitated using an Open Space Technology Meeting format to initiate dialogue between participants to explore these connections and move from passion to action. The theme for the open space meeting is leadership research in not-for-profit charitable or church-based organizations in which the facilitator is deeply involved. The facilitator will briefly introduce the four leadership theories being discussed. He will then describe the Open Space Technology process and its four principles and one law. Participants will then announce discussion topics at the village marketplace that will be created during the workshop where storytelling is encouraged. Reflection and dialogue will take place in the open space (a circle of chairs with a space within) after these discussions. Summaries of discussions held at the marketplace will be collected and posted to all participants after the workshop.

This is the first of a series of similar workshops that are being planned. The workshop at Hull will be followed by a similar workshop at an action research conference in Brisbane, Australia in September 2011 and a workshop being planned in the US in October 2011. The themes captured from these workshops will form the basis of a paper to be published in the Proceeding of the 55th ISSS meeting in 2012.


Leadership Research, Spirituality, Nonprofit organizations, Open Space Meeting

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