A Narrative Inquiry Organizational Leaders’ Transformative Learning Experiences Through Maum Meditation Program

Research title

A Narrative Inquiry Organizational Leaders’ Transformative Learning Experiences Through Maum Meditation Program
(Master’s Thesis, Human Resource Development Graduate School of Education Yonsei University)


Kim, Mi Jin
(Team Manager, Institute of Human Completion)

The need for the study and purpose

1. Various research studies confirmed that most skills for an effective leadership are quite often learned through experience rather than any formal programs.

2. To solve many dilemmas related to development and transformation of leaders, business or workplace spirituality is emerging as a new possibility according to today”fs modern trends.

3. Researches related to spirituality had been increasing since year 2000 with topics such as workplace spirituality and spiritual leadership. The evidence-based research approaches are demonstrating a positive impact of spiritual development on organizational performance, leadership development, and organizational effectiveness.

4. As a significant current trend, spirituality emerges in HRD domains; psycho-physiological refinement and reflective practice are seen as necessities for workplace spirituality and spiritual leadership. The major component of these activities is meditation.

5. Since it is difficult to be optimistic with current leadership transition effect and its practical influence, the strategies for workplace spirituality, development of leadership, and positive transformation are sought using the Maum meditation programs.

6. This present study explored self-reflection processes of organizational leaders through the Maum meditation program, and examined what changes occur in leadership due to the transformational experience.

Research method

1. 5 participants, who were leaders in corporate organizations or schools with training experiences in the Maum meditation from level one to eight, were selected for research through anarrative approach.

2. Data collected through interviews, documents, journals, and narratives from before and after the Maum meditation program were analyzed.

Research results

Research question 1: What is the process of inner self-reflection through the Maum meditation for organizational leaders?

1. Perspective change: All problems are in my mind.
“The foundation of the training was very objective in which I am reflecting on my life from birth with a view that, this has nothing to do with me since I am really dead. My workplace experiences are also seen objectively as if through someone else’s perspectives… at the end, I concluded that those emotions were from my perspectives, taken from my self-centered views… as a result, I saw that first, problem was me… so at first I thought, “it was that person’s which changed to “it was me” when I realized … (Participant B).”

• Change of perspective from self-centered false me to the holistic consciousness (the Universe consciousness)
• Perspective transformative learning : the level where reflections on being critical about my belief
• Realizing all problems are in my mind

2. Discarding the pictures of my mind: the world is a mirror of my mind
“What disappeared is the false mind I had, the real world exists the way it is… yes, that which was unnecessary, through my mind that I built, I wasn’t able to see everything the way it was. As the contents of my mind are like lenses of my mind, when I take off those lenses which I alone have, I can see the real world the way it is…” (Participant D)

• Realizing that I took pictures of my past; it had me living in the false world which I alone had
• The level of discarding ‘the body imprisoned in self-centered ideas and habits’ which is ‘a picture’.

3. Reborn as the true self : escaping the picture world
“I lived thinking this was me but as I meditated, I found that this wasn”ft me. I now understand what that means. Being free of it, so that I can find my true self, the origin, which is the original self, as we say. (Participant E).”

•Being reborn as the pre-existed true self, ‘the true mind of the great Universe mind’
•Perspective transformative learning : the learning to liberate from own false frame of reference and habits of mind –in the Maum meditation, the false frame of reference means the picture world that is a self-made false mind.

Research question 2: what is the changes in the role performances as organizational leaders from the transformative experiences through Maum Meditation program?

‘Ah, this is it’ of enlightenment. Intuitive knowing on improvement of abilities
“gAn adverb states, a wrong decision can happen with long indecisiv eness. Just do this, the decision just comes”c.through the flow of nature”cwhich is likely when my fixed ideas are gone with increases in acceptance…” (Participant A)

‘From the other’s perspective, it can happen.’ Improvement in accepting and understanding others
“It was amazing to see a change in consciousness through a simple elimination. As I continued the training, my mind was getting bigger. I was being freed from my frame of fixed ideas. So, the acceptance just happened.” (Participant A)

‘Working while self-less” Able to create through immersion
“Because I have no distraction, I can focus on things or problems. When that happens, good solutions emerge. Solutions which other people cannot think about…” (Participant E)

Through consciousness expansion and holistic perspective, ‘I become the leader without self-benefit’
“Because I have no distraction, I can focus on things or problems. When that happens, good solutions emerge. Solutions which other people cannot think about…”(Participant E)

‘Just, by itself, as it is.’ Able to live a life of positive nature’s flow.
“I gained composure… I am able to just see it. Everything is run by the nature’s flow…also my insight into the world as much…able to see objectively… from those aspects, there was more freedom.” (Participant C)

Conclusions and recommendations

• The process of inner self-reflection through the Maum meditation program for the organizational leaders had ‘perspective transforming – discarding pictures – reborn as the true self.’ The first self-reflection process of ‘perspective transforming’ indicates the organizational leader was previously unable to, but is now able to see situations and everything through self-less perspective (other’s perspectives, holistic perspective, the Universe perspective) and it is an opportunity to self-reflect.

• Through the Maum meditation program, the participants experienced transformation; by self-reflection, they were liberated from their past and found their true self. ‘Enlightenment and intuition’, ‘acceptance and understanding’, ‘concentration and creativity’, ‘consciousness expansion’, and ‘positivity and the nature’s flow’ were treasures they found along with confirmation of positive changes and developments as organizational leaders.

• Most of the five changes experienced by the organizational leaders through the Maum meditation were identical to other research studies on components of workplace spirituality. It can be inferred that the Maum meditation program was helpful in development and cultivation of workplace spirituality.

• To bring positive results from incorporating the Maum meditation program in organizations, the training must be planned as daily routines on a long term and systematic basis, rather than on a one-shot, short term basis.

• There is a need for future research study to verify the effect of the Maum meditation program in organizations (on organizational effectiveness and performance). A planning for a future study with a longitudinal approach (termination research) is needed.