Leadership: The Bhagavad-Gita Paradigm


  • Chandragupt Institute of Management, Patna, Bihar, 800001, India


Deep scholarly disagreement about the core nature of leadership indicates that it still eludes researchers. Using logical deductions based on the Bhagavad-Gita, this article establishes meaning as the core of leadership enabling its unified view that extends even to the non-people domain such as books and flags. It is not yet another way to lead; it attempts to explain leadership per se. The Bhagavad-Gita paradigm of leadership can redefine organisations as work places facilitating expressions of Svadharma – the way of self, with egalitarian work cultures and morally uplifting impact.


Guna, Leadership, Meaning, Svadharma and Transcendence.

Full Text:


Bass, B. M. and Avolio, B. J. (1990). The implications of transactional and transformational leadership for individual, team, and organizational development. In W. A. Pasmore and R. W. Woodman (Eds.) Research in organizational change and development, (Vol. 4, 231-72). Greenwitch, CT: JAI Press.

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectations. New York: Free Press.

Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: A survey of theory and research. New York: Free Press.

Bennis, W. G. and Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper & Row.

Engardio, P. and McGregor, J. (2006). Karma capitalism [Electronic version]. Business Week. Retrived September 30, 2008 from http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/06_44/b4007091.htm?chan=gl.

Fairholm, G. W. (1996). Spiritual leadership: Fulfilling whole-self needs at work. Leadership and Organisation Development Journal, 17(5), 11-17.

Fiedler, F. E. (1967). A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Fleishman, E. A., Mumford, M. D., Zaccaro, S. J., Levin, K. Y., Korotkin, A. L. and Hein, M. B. (1991). Taxonomic efforts in the description of leader behavior: A synthesis and functional interpretation. Leadership Quarterly, 2(4), 245-87.

Fry, L. W. (2003). Toward a theory of spiritual leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 14(6), 693-727.

Gita Press (2007). The Bhagavad-Gita or the song divine. Retrived October 1, 2008, from http://www.gitapress.org/BOOKS/GITA/455/455_Gita Roman.pdf.

Graen, G. B. and Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship based approach to leadership: Development of leader member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership over 25 years: Applying a multilevel perspective. Leadership Quarterly, 6 (2), 219-247.

Hershey, P. and Blanchard, K. H. (1993). Management of organizational behavior: Utilizing human resources (6th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organisations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

House, R. J. (1971). A path-goal theory of leader effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 16, 321-328.

House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., Gupta, V. and Associates (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership, and organisations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Jermier, J. M. and Kerr, S. (1997). Substitutes for leadership: their meaning and measurement – Contextual recollections and current observations. Leadership Quarterly, 8(2), 95-101

Kejriwal, A. and Krishnan, V. R. (2004). Impact of Vedic worldview and Gunas on transformational leadership. Vikalpa, 29 (1), 29-40.

Kouzes, J. M. and Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mehra, P. and Krishnan, V. R. (2005). Impact of Svadharma-orientation on transformational leadership and followers’ trust in leader. Journal of Indian Psychology, 23 (1), 1-11.

Miner, J. B. (2005). Organizational Behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership. New Delhi: Prentice Hall.

Mulla, Z. R. and Krishnan, V. R. (2006). Karma Yoga: A conceptualization and validation of the Indian philosophy of work. Journal of Indian Psychology, 24 (1&2), 26-43.

Narayanan, J. and Krishnan, V. R. (2003). Impact of Sattva and Rajas Gunas on transformational leadership and Karma Yoga. Journal of Indian Psychology, 21 (2), 1-11.

Pearce, C. L. and Conger, J. A. (2003). Shared leadership: Reframing the hows and whys of leadership. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Pondy, L. R., Frost, P., Morgan, G. and Dandridge, T. (Eds.). (1982). Organizational symbolism. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Rotter, J. B. (1980). Generalized expectancies for interpersonal trust. American Psychologist, 26 (5), 443-52.

Saraswati, N. S. (2008). Samkhya darshan: Yogic perspective on theories of realism. Munger, India: Yoga Publication Trust.

Smircich, L. and Morgan, G. (1982). Leadership: The management of meaning. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18(3), 257-73.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Yukl, G. (1998). Leadership in organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Vol: 5.


  • There are currently no refbacks.