Research Topic

Leadership and Mindfulness: Current Directions in Theory and Research

About this Research Topic

The interest in mindfulness has grown exponentially in recent years. A still limited but growing body of research is focusing on the effects of mindfulness in the workplace. Besides theoretical works, a number of empirical studies have appeared indicating that dispositional mindfulness as well as mindfulness-based interventions relate to relevant outcomes in the workplace including physical and psychological wellbeing of employees as well as indicators of job motivation and performance. Despite this widespread interest in mindfulness and its potential applications in organizations, far less scholarly attention has been devoted to the role mindfulness may play for effective leadership.

The main aim of this Frontiers Research Topic is to publish a series of articles on mindfulness and leadership that will both advance and integrate the emerging stream of theory to its next phase of maturation and identify compelling empirical relations through rigorous research methods.

For this Frontiers Research Topic, we are looking to bring together a group of exemplary articles that, in combination provide an overview on current thinking, develop new theoretical contributions, and offer sound empirical foundations by using both quantitative and qualitative, as well as deductive and inductive, approaches.

Some possible research questions that might be addressed by contributions in this Frontiers Research Topic include:

1. Existing research has mostly focused on the intra-individual effects of employee mindfulness. Given the peculiarities inherent to the leadership role, to what extent will these findings translate to leader samples? How can studying leader mindfulness enhance both leadership and mindfulness research?
2. Little is known about how leader mindfulness is reflected in concrete leader behaviors. How does leader mindfulness relate to prototypical leader behavior associated with popular leadership styles?
3. So far, research has usually examined mindfulness among employees or followers and somewhat neglected the interplay between the two perspectives. How might the degree of congruence in mindfulness between leaders and followers influence their relationship quality? Related to this, team members may be rather diverse in terms of mindfulness. What differences and implications become relevant when studying mindfulness in a team context?
4. Overall, little evidence about cultural contingencies of mindfulness is available. This is particularly true for the study of mindfulness in organizations. To what degree may cultural factors, if any, become relevant for the relationship between mindfulness and leadership?
5. The market for mindfulness programs in the field of leadership development is rapidly growing. This is both promising and perilous as properly conducted scientific studies on the effects of such interventions are still scarce. What theoretical and empirical insights can be gained to better evaluate the usefulness, quality, and incremental value of such programs?
6. As a general trend, research usually emphasizes the benefits of mindfulness. This raises the question of whether there are any downsides to leader mindfulness, e.g., in terms of leadership effectiveness. In a similar vein, could leaders “use” their mindfulness for unethical or destructive purposes?


Keywords: Leadership, Mindfulness, Organizational Behavior, Theory Development, Empirical Research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The interest in mindfulness has grown exponentially in recent years. A still limited but growing body of research is focusing on the effects of mindfulness in the workplace. Besides theoretical works, a number of empirical studies have appeared indicating that dispositional mindfulness as well as mindfulness-based interventions relate to relevant outcomes in the workplace including physical and psychological wellbeing of employees as well as indicators of job motivation and performance. Despite this widespread interest in mindfulness and its potential applications in organizations, far less scholarly attention has been devoted to the role mindfulness may play for effective leadership.

The main aim of this Frontiers Research Topic is to publish a series of articles on mindfulness and leadership that will both advance and integrate the emerging stream of theory to its next phase of maturation and identify compelling empirical relations through rigorous research methods.

For this Frontiers Research Topic, we are looking to bring together a group of exemplary articles that, in combination provide an overview on current thinking, develop new theoretical contributions, and offer sound empirical foundations by using both quantitative and qualitative, as well as deductive and inductive, approaches.

Some possible research questions that might be addressed by contributions in this Frontiers Research Topic include:

1. Existing research has mostly focused on the intra-individual effects of employee mindfulness. Given the peculiarities inherent to the leadership role, to what extent will these findings translate to leader samples? How can studying leader mindfulness enhance both leadership and mindfulness research?
2. Little is known about how leader mindfulness is reflected in concrete leader behaviors. How does leader mindfulness relate to prototypical leader behavior associated with popular leadership styles?
3. So far, research has usually examined mindfulness among employees or followers and somewhat neglected the interplay between the two perspectives. How might the degree of congruence in mindfulness between leaders and followers influence their relationship quality? Related to this, team members may be rather diverse in terms of mindfulness. What differences and implications become relevant when studying mindfulness in a team context?
4. Overall, little evidence about cultural contingencies of mindfulness is available. This is particularly true for the study of mindfulness in organizations. To what degree may cultural factors, if any, become relevant for the relationship between mindfulness and leadership?
5. The market for mindfulness programs in the field of leadership development is rapidly growing. This is both promising and perilous as properly conducted scientific studies on the effects of such interventions are still scarce. What theoretical and empirical insights can be gained to better evaluate the usefulness, quality, and incremental value of such programs?
6. As a general trend, research usually emphasizes the benefits of mindfulness. This raises the question of whether there are any downsides to leader mindfulness, e.g., in terms of leadership effectiveness. In a similar vein, could leaders “use” their mindfulness for unethical or destructive purposes?


Keywords: Leadership, Mindfulness, Organizational Behavior, Theory Development, Empirical Research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2018 Abstract
31 May 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2018 Abstract
31 May 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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