Fielding Graduate University News

Becoming a Leader: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of the Lifeworld of Nelson Mandela

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Tue, Oct 07, 2014

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Fielding alumna Shirley Knobel, PhD (HOD '14), was selected as the Overall Award Winner of the Student Research Colloquium as a part of the 2014 Organization Development Network Annual Conference based on her paper titled "Becoming a Leader: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of the Lifeworld of Nelson Mandela"

INTRODUCTION

My research question emerged from my lived experience of Nelson
Mandela. I had the privilege of knowing him personally through the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund – a charity that Mandela established during his term of office as President of South Africa. I selected the lifeworld of Nelson Mandela as the subject of my PhD dissertation research because in my experience he demonstrated an unparalleled ability to lead, reconcile, and transform a broken society.

This dissertation study looks at the lived experience of Nelson Mandela and explores how the structures of his lifeworld shaped his choices and actions and ultimately influenced his destiny as a leader. This approach required a broad lens that encompasses the three main concepts underlying the inquiry: leadership, lifeworld phenomenology, and hermeneutics. While the leadership literature is relevant to this study, so too is lifeworld phenomenology, and in particular Alfred Schutz’s theory regarding the structures of the lifeworld and its significance for social action (Schutz & Luckmann, 1973).

Click here to read Knobel's paper: Becoming a Leader: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of the Lifeworld of Nelson Mandela

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Tags: organizational change, Organizational development, fielding graduate university, graduate education