Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Culture, gender-related and ethical considerations are Key considerations in assessing the application of each form of leadership.

Written by: on March 20, 2022

Peter Northouse is a Professor of communication in Western Michigan University who is highly esteemed for his work in Leadership studies and communications. Northouse has written the book, Leadership: Theory and Practice, which is both rich in the theory of leadership but also a practical guide on the practice of leadership.[1] Northouse has written on both traditional leadership theories and contemporary leadership theories and its this ‘bridging’ between theories and practices that have roots in the past with those emerging from the modern organizations that makes the book unique and of great value. Northouse is quoted explain his approach in continually improving the book as, “when I revise Leadership: Theory and Practice, what I do is I take a look at what’s going on in the field, I take a look at what the research says and then add a chapter at what I think is the cutting edge of where I think leadership is going.”[2]

Northouse is very exhaustive in writing on the different leadership forms including: trait approach, skills approach, style approach, situational approach, contingency theory, path[1]goal theory, leader-member exchange theory, transformational leadership, servant leadership (new to this edition), authentic leadership, team leadership, and psychodynamic approach. In writing about each of these forms of leadership, he has the reader in mind and follows a chronological structured format where he writes on five key components: 1) a narrative about the model being presented, 2) an analysis of the strengths and criticisms of the theory or approach, 3) a section entitled, “How Does (the theory) Work?”, 4) three case studies which reveal “real-life” aspects of the model, and 5) a questionnaire for the reader to apply the approach to his/her own personal circumstances.[3]

The part of his book that was of great interest to me is his concluding chapters where he explores leadership in three aspects that affect leadership of, women and leadership, culture and leadership, and Leadership ethics. As a woman leader, I realize that there are unique challenges and also unique opportunities for women in leadership. I have observed that in the education sector, in which our organization, Missions of Hope International (www.mohiafrica.org) is heavily invested, there is a high representation of women in the teaching profession but a lower representation of women in leadership which is evidence of gender discrimination. This is also noted in a study in Nigeria which is at the same level of development with my country Kenya where the same was observed.[4] In culture and leadership, I live in a warm culture where relationships are more important than time and the task as opposed to the Western Hemisphere where there is a cold culture which is task oriented and more independent in nature. The warm culture tends to be more permissive and promotes impunity due to considerations of maintaining relationships, and in my opinion has perpetuated and made it difficult to fight corruption in our country and by extension, in most of the southern hemisphere. The resultant Impunity, time wastage and corruption are very costly to our country and only a change in the leadership ethics can bring the necessary changes that are required, to foster development and create opportunities for the majority poor and oppressed. Kempe says of corruption in Kenya as,

“Corruption persists in Kenya primarily because there are people in power who benefit from it and the existing governance institutions lack both the will and capacity to stop them from doing so. This work takes a governance and development perspective to analytically examine the causes and consequences of corruption in Kenya. It identifies the key factors (such as absence of strong and effective democratic institutions, centralized power, lack of public accountability, and impunity) and synthesizes and analyses available data, indicators, and other information in that regard.”[5]

Northouse in tackling the three aspects of women and leadership, culture and leadership, and leadership ethics he notes that all three cuts across all the leadership theories. Through the questionnaires at the end of each chapter, that allow for personal application and evaluation of which leadership theories apply to the individual. As I reflected on the uniqueness of my context of ministry in the poorest and marginalized areas of Kenya and Liberia, I kept analyzing what forms of leadership would be more helpful to bring transformation to these vulnerable communities. It is clear from Northouse that Gender, culture and leadership ethics will have to be important considerations. As Christian leaders, we have a call to care for the poor and the needy in society which is a missional obligation of the church. Can a woman leader like me, in a pronounced patriarchal culture; and where corruption and impunity are more prevalent, in a position to bring the necessary change and transformation in my ministry context of poverty and marginalization? As I research on the case for holistic ministry by the church, the prevalent form of leadership and the requisite form of leadership will be of great interest. Northouse will be a valuable tool for me in my research but also as part of my reference library.

[1] Peter Northouse. Leadership: Theory and Practice. 8th edition, (Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications, 2018)

[2] Peter Northouse. Sage, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3eWfH0_Cb8

[3] Martinez, James. “Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter G. Northouse: A Book Review.” Journal of Educational Administration 52 (January 28, 2014): 139. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-08-2013-0093.

[4] FlorenceU. Akudo, Gertrude N. Okenwa. Focusing on Change in Educational Leadership: The Need for Female Leaders in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(8):959-963. doi: 10.12691/education-3-8-2.

[5] Ronald Hope Kempe Sr. (2014) Kenya’s corruption problem: causes and consequences, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 52:4, 493-512, DOI: 10.1080/14662043.2014.955981

About the Author


Mary Kamau

Christ follower, Mother of 3 Biological children and one Foster daughter, Wife, Pastor, Executive Director of Institutional Development and Strategy in Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org.

One response to “Culture, gender-related and ethical considerations are Key considerations in assessing the application of each form of leadership.”

  1. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Mary, thank you for your thoughts on Northouse. I agree there is so much to process and to identify those elements that fit best for oneself in this book. Have you been able to identify anything in particular that would be helpful.

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