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Developing leaders to perform in uncertainty: the mindfulness solution

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posted on 2022-03-28, 18:21 authored by Elizabeth Lorraine King
This thesis provides insight into the challenges facing leaders, navigating increasing levels of systemic pervasive change and resultant uncertainty. It explores the role that mindfulness might play in developing leaders and their organisations to succeed in such conditions by addressing two research questions. First, how might we develop leaders to perform in uncertainty? Second, what might the role of mindfulness be in supporting leaders to do so? These questions have been investigated using the following five approaches: 1. A qualitative field study of a development program for senior leaders working within uncertainty ; 2. A quantitative field study of mindfulness and its links to the performance of senior leaders ; 3. A cross - disciplinary review of the literature of mindfulness in organisation s ; 4. An integration of empirical and theoretical findings to current approaches to development ; 5. Methodological reflections on the mindfulness field study using an auto - ethnographical approach . Key contributions of these studies are presented as thesis by publication with five papers that outline eight methodological, four empirical and three theoretical advances including: identifying the key significance of reflective skills in leadership development and the lack of rigor in evaluation of interventions; demonstrating positive relationships between mindfulness and leadership performance; providing a conceptual framework of mindfulness and its contributions along with an integrated view of both first and second generation mindful leadership interventions; and outlining key themes in mindful field research. With the intent of fostering generative dialogue, research and the practice of mindfulness in organisations, this thesis provides a path to conducting theoretically - guided research and development interventions of mindfulness in organisations. The role mindfulness might play in organisations depends on what we understand it to be and want it to do. This thesis suggests that our understanding and contribution may be increased through: the development of individual leaders ; the enhancement of collective leadership to wards increased productivity and the pursuit of substantive goals ; and the co - creation of knowledge through collaborative mindful research. Leadership development is a vast, arguably under performing industry requiring a multifaceted approach to improvement . The thesis explores and seeks to support mindfulness being a crucial part of that approach, offering support to researchers, leaders and organisations wishing to use mindfulness to improve performance, well being and the urgent and significant social and ecological issues facing our world.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: an overview of the thesis and publications -- Chapter 2: Introduction to the literature -- Chapter 3: Methodology -- Chapter 4: Conclusion, development and evaluation -- Chapter 5: Mindfulness and performance -- Chapter 6: Mindfulness in organisations -- Chapter 7: Mindfulness and mindful leadership -- Chapter 8: Mindful leadership research -- Chapter 9: Discussion and conclusions -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 225-258

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Graduate School of Managemen

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Richard Badham


Copyright Elizabeth Lorraine King 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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