Purpose and Research Questions:This thesis is a contribution to the scholarly field of leadership development in connection to virtues, by mapping a concrete initiative that seeks to develop a virtuous aspect of leadership (The Virtues Project™). This thesis postulates that the view of human nature must be a fundamental part of any discourse on the nature, purpose and development of leadership, and offers one perspective of the view of human nature, as a contribution to this discourse. The view of human nature that this thesis is founded on is that humans have the virtues in potential and that their purpose in life is to develop these virtues and to contribute to the welfare of society. This view is based on the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and is in line with the view of human nature that The Virtues Project bases its strategies on.
The main and overarching research question of this thesis is “How does The Virtues Project seek to develop a virtuous aspect of leadership?”. The questions “What is a virtuous aspect of leadership?” and “Why seek to develop a virtuous aspect of leadership?” are also addressed.
Methods and Sources:To answer the first question a case study of The Virtues Project’s approach to leadership development is conducted and a Pathway map of this approach is made. This map is based on the information gathered from the written material of The Virtues Project and interviews with four Master Facilitators of The Virtues Project from Australia, Canada, Fiji, and Norway, who have experience with implementing The Virtues Project in organizations and with developing leadership. To answer the two latter questions I conduct a literature review of the literature that seeks to connect the fields of leadership and virtues.
Results and Main Conclusions:The following are the main conclusions:- The validity of the ideas presented in this thesis, is based on whether or not someone agrees with the view of human nature presented in this thesis.
What is a virtuous aspect of leadership?- The innate and praiseworthy qualities of the human character (virtues) should be taken into consideration when an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (leadership).
Why seek to develop a virtuous aspect of leadership?- Developing one’s virtues is the true meaning and purpose of life, therefore fulfilling this purpose is reward enough in itself.
How does The Virtues Project seek to develop a virtuous aspect of leadership?- The strategies of The Virtues Project; speaking the language of the virtues, recognizing teachable moments, setting clear boundaries, honoring the spirit, and offering companioning, are both what The Virtues Project seeks to develop and how they seek to develop a virtuous aspect of leadership. These strategies are meant to complement and enhance the structures, systems, and methods that already exist, by adding a new and deeper, more meaningful dimension and understanding.