Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Dean Sorenson

Commitee Members

Roberta Evans, Jerry Evans, John Lundt, John Sommers-Flanagan


Transformational Leadership, Vipassana Meditation


University of Montana


The mechanistic, seventeenth century paradigm that has informed the leadership of our organizations has evolved into the quantum realm. This scientific renaissance is revealing a depth of knowledge that is stirring a new found interest in wisdom traditions as the truths of modern science appear to mirror knowledge found in ancient philosophic and meditative practices. Such Eastern spiritual practices have entered into the American mainstream and are becoming validated from a scientific perspective.

Continuing research on meditation has revealed its effectiveness in producing many of the characteristics deemed essential in the field of transformational leadership. Congruently meditation centers are proliferating, many offering courses specifically designed for those in leadership positions. While awareness practices are continually being researched, practiced, and identified as obligatory in the field of transformational leadership, there is little research to date that explores the relationship, impact, and experience of meditation and leadership.

This phenomenological study explores the leadership experience of individuals that practice Vipassana meditation. Seven purposefully selected organizational leaders, all of whom have completed at least one, ten day meditation seminar, participated in extensive, semi-structured, telephone interviews. The development of intimate familiarity with the rich data elicited from the interview protocol produced meaning units. These common experiential themes in the leadership of meditators were analyzed and synthesized to reveal the basic, essential essence. Building upon the knowledge gathered through the data analysis and synthesis, this study establishes findings that contribute to the field of leadership.



© Copyright 2008 Kevin M. Mays