Original Research

A systematic literature review of spiritual leadership within African management philosophies

Khumbulani Sibanda, Anton Grobler
Acta Commercii | Vol 24, No 1 | a1164 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v24i1.1164 | © 2024 Khumbulani Sibanda, Anton Grobler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2023 | Published: 08 April 2024

About the author(s)

Khumbulani Sibanda, Graduate School of Business Leadership, Faculty of Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa
Anton Grobler, Graduate School of Business Leadership, Faculty of Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa


Orientation: Spiritual leadership has been proposed as an alternative to lead a generation where personal values and beliefs are central to employee contentment and organisational success.

Research purpose: To critically analyse organisational spiritual leadership (SpL) from an African Management Philosophies (AMP) perspective and whether these are secular or non-secular.

Motivation for the study: Knowledge would be drawn from two bodies of scholarly literature, namely SpL and AMP.

Research design, approach and method: Literature will be systematically reviewed, focusing on three aspects of the body on knowledge, namely concepts, definitions and typologies (elements).

Main findings: The concept of SpL seems empirically much more operationalised than AMP. Central to organisational spiritual leadership are the leader’s values, attitudes and behaviours that intrinsically motivate followers to have a sense of spiritual survival through membership and calling, while AMP emphasise traditionalism, communalism, co-operative teamwork and mythologies.

Practical/managerial implications: The research seeks to highlight the existing gaps in literature of a contextualised African measure of SpL.

Contribution or value add: A secular and non-secular approach to spirituality emerges, which looks at AMP as emboldened by Ubuntu ideality that is contrary to extant literature on organisational spiritual leadership.


spiritual leadership; African management philosophies; leadership models, spiritual, spirituality, African, organisation, employee contentment

JEL Codes

C38: Classification Methods • Cluster Analysis • Principal Components • Factor Models; C39: Other; L10: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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