DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Research Gold

Written by: on November 5, 2015

“Adlerizing” this book by reading dust cover, acknowledgments, table of contents, and headings led me to two specific chapters in which to focus, and here I felt like I’d hit the golden mother lode of material to support my D Min interests.

The enormous project of assembling the compendium called “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice” was undertaken by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana in order to promote and engage in scholarly research about leadership and leadership development and education. The beauty of such a book is the wide range of topics they are able to cover, and that each topic is addressed by a specialist.

The two chapters/papers that particularly caught my attention were Chapter 13, “Leadership and Cultural Context,” (written by Mansour Javidan, Peter Dorman, Jon Paul Howell, and Paul Hanges), and Chapter 20 “Leadership in a Globalizing World,” (Written by Rosabeth Moss Kanter).

The paper entitled “Leadership and Cultural Context” examines and seeks to discover if there are links between national culture, organizational culture, and leadership. The authors’ discovery is a clear “yes.”

Javidan, et al, present what is called “Implicit Leadership Theory.” [1] Based on our cultural upbringing and our own experience with leadership we form in our minds a concept of the ideal leader. This mental picture is called a “schema.” [2]

The authors write, “What people view as good, appropriate, effective leadership is shaped by their culture. Based on cultural values and our experience with leadership in all arenas, we form an understanding (a schema) of good leadership. [3]  We study leaders and make our decisions about who is effective and who is not.

HongKong2015. 1364

HongKong2015. 1346

While reading this, I began processing my own experiences and concepts of leaders and leadership. My schema has been shaped by my father who was a man who did not deeply connect emotionally with my brother and me, and he was a bit autocratic. In middle adulthood I reflected that it seemed like my dad cared more about my behavior than my heart. My father was a steady and secure presence and taught me many practical life-skills, but out of longing for deeper connections I set my sights to be more involved personally with my children and with people I had to supervise.

I further considered leaders I have admired through the years, and I thought about men and women who were clear in their direction, approachable, unthreatened, servants, committed to prayer, and personally invested in lives.

I have also realized my own strong “control-freak” tendencies and have worked hard to move the opposite direction by being collegial with church staff, consensus building, and intentionally putting others into places of influence. But all the while I sought to do this as a pastor the process drove me crazy.

The authors of this article display research that confirmed what I had long suspected: different cultures have different values concerning what they would call good leadership. The list of leadership characteristics that were culturally valued or not valued included: Status conscious, Bureaucratic (procedural), Autonomous, Face saving, Humane, Self-sacrificial/Risk taking, and Internally competitive (conflict inducer). [4]

The article also identified five leadership characteristics that were universally endorsed in all cultures: Integrity, Charismatic-inspirational, Performance Oriented, Charismatic-Visionary, and Team oriented. [5]

To complete the picture, there are also two characteristics that are universally rejected in all cultures: those who are Malevolent and/or Self-Protective. [6]

These culturally affected views of effective leadership point to what the chapter calls “Culturally endorsed Implicit Leadership Theory.”

My D Min project is focusing on offering ministry training to students who come from many different cultures. We have known that because of the variety of cultures represented “one size fits all” will absolutely NOT be the case when offering leadership education to these many students. The material in this chapter is golden because it lays a foundation with its careful research into many different kinds of cultures and the type of leadership their schemas seek. In fact, the chapter itself can be a beginning point for a conservation or a class, to help students come to grips with the type of leaders their country and faith communities need.

In brief, Chapter 20, “Leadership in a Globalizing World,” discusses the amount of uncertainty that has been introduced into our lives because the world is increasingly interconnected. This will affect how leaders lead well.

Dr. Kanter writes, “…a list of qualities that leaders should possess…systems thinking, initiative-taking, persuasion and diplomacy, a cosmopolitan outlook with a concern for collaborative solutions good for many people. Leaders need intellectual skills in pattern recognition, seeing similarities and differences, systems thinking, and framing and conceptualizing. Leaders need emotional skills in empathy, self-awareness, warmth and respect, and ego management. It helps to be curious. It helps to like people. It helps to communicate with drama and clarity.” [7]HongKong2015. 0287

As I read this description, it challenged me. My plan at this point is not to train leaders to lead multi-national companies, but to be effective leaders in their faith communities within their own countries. That process will require me to be the multi-national leader, so I must take seriously the above list of traits, since I will be the one working across national and cultural lines.

[1] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.” Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010, page 336

[2] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.
page 340

[3] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.”
page 343

[4] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.
page 347

[5] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.”
page 371

[6] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.
pages 371-372

[7] Nohria, Nitin and Rakesh Khurana. “Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.
page 606

About the Author


Marc Andresen

I have a B. A. in Music from San Diego State University and received an M. Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1977. July 1 2015 I retired after 38 years in pastoral ministry. The passion and calling that developed in the last 20 years is leadership training in cross-cultural contexts, as my wife and I have had many opportunities to teach in Eastern Europe and Africa. I have been married for 38 years and have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter. My hobbies are photography and British sports cars.

7 responses to “Research Gold”

  1. Pablo Morales says:

    I’m so glad that you found two key chapters directly linked to your research. I found the book so fascinating that I wish I did not have to “Adlerize” it. Instead, I would have liked to dig into it word by word to enjoy the richness of so many insights. I also found chapter 13 intriguing, and it will become a bibliographic source for me next semester.

    Based on my experience in Hong Kong, I think you have strong relational skills. You come across as friendly, humble, genuine, caring and easy to talk to. I believe those traits will facilitate your work with the international students, because the ability to influence required in leadership is highly rooted in connecting well at the human level. I will never forget when the first non-English speaker in our church told us “I came here to learn English and you taught me love.”

    Yet, the cultural dynamic in leadership does play a role that complicates things. We learned it the hard way when we brought the first Spanish-speaking pastor to work with us. I was excited because he understood very well the diversity of Hispanic cultures found in the myriad of Latin American nations represented in this country. The one big factor that I overlooked was his lack of understanding of the American culture. So, even working on a calendar of events was different, because he was not used to working by quarters, but annually. It drove him crazy to see the ministry projection divided into quarters. Sadly, the project did not work well for a diversity of reasons. Yet, we did learn that as we develop this multi-ethnic ministry, we will have to gain a better understanding of the impact of cultural worldview on leadership. So, I share both your excitement and your concern. I hope to learn from you as you gain insights from your research.

    Thank you for sharing about your experience with your dad. Mine was similar. So, I am also challenged to make sure that my kids know I care more about their hearts than about their performance. Great blog!

  2. mm Marc Andresen says:


    You are very kind and gracious with your comments about my personality. I suspect it reflects something of your own openness, etc.

    And I agree about ‘word for word’ in this particular book. It is now in my bibliography for my ultimate research. I know there’s more there to mine.

    You had quite a learning experience with your Spanish speaking pastor. How complicated; to know American culture and, as you say, the several Latin American cultures represented (since we know all do not have the same culture).

    As to kids: it would be a fascinating conversation to have with them (at ages 35 and 30) to hear their assessment of my parenting style. It might take courage on my part, right?

    I suppose it’s not unusual that my appreciation for my father has increased since he died. It would be fun to talk to him and tell him what I appreciated about him as a dad. Oh well.

    Actually, I’ve learned something about Christian fellowship and corporate worship from my family experiences. My brother and I used to enjoy talking together and telling ‘dad’ stories. Our appreciation for him grew through this, as does our appreciation for our Heavenly Father when we, His children, talk together about Him.

  3. Aaron Cole says:


    Great summary of the book. It seemed that it really resonated with you as well a wealth of information for your research. As I read, I noticed the material was seasoned with some self- reflection of yourself and your leadership style. Based on reading and self-reflection, any changes or tweaks you would make or wished you would have made in your local church leadership style? (I ask, because you have been a longterm successful local church pastor and I am wanting to learn from your perspective),


    • mm Marc Andresen says:


      Thanks for assuming I was a successful local pastor… The vote on that one could be mixed.

      Your question is superb, and demonstrates what I think our leaders want for all of us in the D Min: to reflect on who we are and what we do.

      Changes to style: the list could be long.

      1. My biggest weakness in leadership was not being very strategic and intentional about leadership training. (Ironic considering this D Min) Through the years I learned to delegate and I think I successfully “got out of the way” so others could lead. The fact is some of THE best ministry in our church came from the grass roots and not from the top. BUT – I did not establish good training for elders when they entered office. I made the mistake of assuming that these bright, mature, and gifted people would know how to function as elders. They really wanted more from me.

      2. Staff supervision: In my attempts to compensate for being a control freak I probably backed away from structured staff supervision too much. This was mostly true for the several youth pastors we had through the years. They did ministry very differently from how I would have done their jobs. I was smart enough to recognize that my 1980s style of youth work wouldn’t work in 2012, so I gave the youth pastors a very wide berth in how they did what they did. What I realized too late was that they really needed me to guide them because they didn’t know all that much about ministry. So I would change how I dealt with staff.

      Neither of the 2 examples mean I should have been more heavy handed: but rather I should have been more “along side” in moving people forward in leadership skills.

      3. I would spend less time in my office and more time with people.

      4. One of my best successes as a pastor was to develop a small preaching team of three elders. They would each preach 2or 3 times a year, and we would meet together both in their prep time and in follow up. I am very pleased with that one.

      5. Listen to your staff. I think your job is to make them successful, and their job is to make you successful. When I was preparing for transition and retirement I went on retreat for a couple of days and then had the staff join me for a day. When I rolled out the details of transition they began to sing to me “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” They said, you’re over thinking this. I needed to hear that and relaxed a bunch.

  4. mm Phil Goldsberry says:


    Thank you for joining in with our confession time. I believed that this book was going to be a wonderful resource for my dissertation so I dug in.

    I also enjoyed your response to Aaron. Your critical thinking kicked in when you recounted what you would do different. That was great to hear your heart.


  5. mm Phil Goldsberry says:


    Thank you for joining in with our confession time. I believed that this book was going to be a wonderful resource for my dissertation so I dug in. I was not disappointed.

    I also enjoyed your response to Aaron. Your critical thinking kicked in when you recounted what you would do different. That was great to hear your heart.

    “Alderizing” was important to begin, but then I found myself diving in to the deep end.



    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Phil – My hunch is that “listening to your staff” would have to be processed very differently when your exec pastor resigned the way he did. There may have been some anger that didn’t need to be spewed all over you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *