The Self-Action Leadership Model A Qualitative, Nomological Expansion of Self-Leadership Theory Rooted in Action Research

Jordan R. Jensen, Rodney J. Beaulieu, Christopher P. Neck


Previously, the Self-Action Leadership (SAL) theory was introduced as a qualitative, nomological theory of self-leadership rooted in atmos- pheric and astronomical metaphor (see Jensen, Neck and Beaulieu, 2015). This article introduces an accompanying, practitioner-based model of Self-Action Leadership rooted in self-leadership theory and action research theory. It provides individuals and organizations with a com- prehensive personal leadership framework complete with actions to take and habits to develop in pursuit of the highest levels of existential growth as outlined in the SAL theory. Existential growth is defined as: The holistic (spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, moral, and financial) growth of personal character, capacity, and integrity. The SAL Model is an explicitly universal construct designed to serve as a ge- neral, pedagogical template that leaders, managers, and educators can learn, apply, and teach at the individual and group level in an ongoing quest for – and attainment of – long-term team and organizational results related to efficiency, effectiveness, viability, relevance, sustainability, change, and growth.

Keywords: Self-leadership, action research, Self-Action Research (SAR), Self-Action Leadership (SAL)1, SAL model, SAL theory, existential growth, organizational citizen, organizational evil, SAR project, SAL project, step-habit, self-declaration of independence, self-constitution

Full Text:



Albors-Garrigos, J., Miguel B. de Molina, and Miguel M. de Molina. (2014). “Positioning in the Global Value Chain as a Sustainable Strat- egy: A Case Study in a Mature Industry.” Journal of Administrative Sciences, 4(2), pp. 155–172.

Alves, J. C., K. J. Lovelace, C. C. Manz, D. Matsypura, F. Toyasaki, and K. G. Ke. (2006). “A Cross-Cultural Perspective of Self-Leadership.”- Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), pp. 338–359.

Anderson, L. (2006). “Analytic Autoethnography.”Journal of Contem- porary Ethnography, 35(4), pp. 373–395.

Beaulieu, R. B. (2013). “Action Research: Trends and Variations.”Ca- nadian Journal of Action Research, 14(3), pp. 29–39.

Bertalanffy, L. V. (1968). General System Theory: Foundations, Devel- opment, Applications. New York: George Braziller.

Burchell, J., and J. Cook. (2006). “Confronting the ‘Corporate Citi- zen’: Shaping the Discourse of Corporate Social Responsibility”. In- ternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 26(3/4), pp. 121– 137.

Carroll, A. B. (1991). “The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsi- bility: Toward the Moral Management of Organizational Stakehold- ers.” Business Horizons, 34(4), pp. 39–48.

Carroll, A. B. (1998). “The Four Faces of Corporate Citizen- ship.” Business and Society Review, 100(1), pp. 1–7.

Cartwright, S., and C. L. Cooper. (1992). Mergers and Acquisitions: The Human Factor. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Chaucer, G. (2017). The Canterbury Tales. Retrieved from: https://

Clawson, J. G. S. (2008). “Leadership as Managing Energy.” Interna- tional Journal of Organizational Analysis, 16(3), pp. 174–181.

Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Fireside.

Covey, S. R. (1990). Principle Centered Leadership. New York: Fire- side.

Covey, S. R. (2004). The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. New York: Free Press.

Cunningham, B. M. (2008). “Using Action Research to Improve Learning and the Classroom Learning Environment.”Issues in Ac- counting Education, pp. 23(1), 1–30.

De Beuckelaer, G. M. Contraction and Expansion, in: It’s Broken, Let’s Fix It. (2002). Berlin – Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 25–32.

Denzin, N. K., and Y. S. Lincoln (eds.). (2011). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research. Los Angeles: SAGE.

DiLiello, T. C., and J. D. Houghton. (2006). “Maximizing Organi- zational Leadership Capacity for the Future: Toward a Model of Self-Leadership, Innovation and Creativity.”Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), pp. 319–337.

Doane, G. W. Life Sculpture, in: R. J. Cook (ed.). (1920). One-Hundred and One Famous Poems: With a Prose Supplement. Chicago: Cable.

Docx, E. (2011). “Postmodernism is Dead.” Prospect. August Issue. Retrieved from: postmodernism-is-dead-va-exhibition-age-of-authenticism.

Fals-Borda, O. (1984). “Participatory Action Research.” Develop- ment: Seeds of Change, 2, pp. 18–20.

Fals-Borda, O. (1987). “The Application of Participatory Action-Re- search in Latin America.” International Sociology, 2(4), pp. 329–347.

French, S. (2009). “Action Research for Practising Managers.”Journal of Management Development, 28(3), pp. 187–204.

lights in a majestic pedagogical reformation that will for- ever mark the first-half of the twenty-first century for the everlasting benefit of our children, their children, and their children’s children.

Furtner, M. R., J. F. Rauthmann, and P. Sachse. (2011). “The Self-Lov- ing Self-Leader: An Examination of the Relationship Between Self-Leadership and the Dark Triad.”Social Behavior and Personality, 39(3), pp. 369–379.

Gardner, J. W. Leaders and Followers, in: J. T. Wren (ed.). (1995). The Leader’s Companion: Insights on Leadership Through the Ages. New York: Free Press, pp. 185–188.

Georgianna, S. (2007). “Self-Leadership: A Cross-Cultural Perspec- tive.”Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22(6), pp. 569–589.

Gioia, D. (2002). Can Poetry Matter: Essays on Poetry and American Culture. St. Paul: Graywolf Press.

Gioia, D. (2004). Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the end of Print Culture. St. Paul: Graywolf Press.

Granite and Faith: The Story of the Salt Lake Temple. (2016). News- room: The Official Resource for News Media, Opinion Leaders and the Public. Retrieved from: tional-resource/granite-and-faith-the-story-of-the-salt-lake-temple.

Houghton, J. D., and C. P. Neck. (2002). “The Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire: Testing a Hierarchical Factor Structure for Self-Lead- ership.”Journal of Managerial Psychology, 17(8), pp. 672–691.

Houghton, J. D., and S. K. Yoho. (2005). “Toward a Contingen- cy Model of Leadership and Psychological Empowerment: When Should Self-Leadership Be Encouraged?” Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 11(4), pp. 65–83.

Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About the Salt Lake Temple. (2015). Temple Square Blog. Retrieved from: blog/interesting-facts-you-didnt-know-about-the-salt-lake-temple.

Jenkin, T. A. (2013). “Extending the 4I Organizational Learning Model: Information Sources, Foraging Processes and Tools.” Journal of Administrative Sciences, 3(3), pp. 96–109.

Jensen, J. R. (2013). Self-Action Leadership: An Autoethnographic Analysis of Self-Leadership Through Action Research in Support of a Pedagogy of Personal Leadership. Doctoral dissertation. Fielding Graduate University: Santa Barbara.

Jensen, J. R. (2015). Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Pro- fessional, & Global Freedom. Bloomington: AuthorHouse.

Jensen, J. R., C. P. Neck, and R. J. Beaulieu. (2015). “Self-Action Lead- ership: A Qualitative, Nomological Expansion of Self-Leadership Theory Rooted in Atmospheric and Astronomical Metaphor.”Journal of Leadership and Management, 3(1), pp.67–78.

Johnson, P. N. (Director), and N. J. Gasdik (Screenplay). (1993). The Mountain of the Lord (Video). The Church of Jesus Christ of Lat- ter-Day Saints: New York.

Kelley, R. E. In Praise of Followers, in: J. T. Wren (ed.). (1995). The Leader’s Companion: Insights on Leadership Through the Ages. New York: Free Press, pp. 193–204.

Kelley, R. E. Leaders and Followers Are the People in This Relationship, in: J. T. Wren (ed.). (1995). The Leader’s Companion: Insights on Lead- ership Through the Ages. New York: Free Press, pp. 189–192.

Kuhne, G. W., and B. A. Quigley, Understanding and Using Action Re- search in Practice Settings, in: A. B. Quigley, and G. W. Kuhne (eds.). (1997). Creating Practical Knowledge Through Action Research: Pos- ing Problems, Solving Problems, and Improving Daily Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 23–40.

Lin, S. K. (2013). “Human Resource Management. International Stu- dent Version. 11th Edition By David A. DeCenzo, Stephen P. Rob- bins and Susan L. Verhulst, Wiley, 2013.” Journal of Administrative Sciences, 3(1), pp. 4–5.

Longfellow, H. W. (1912). The Poetical Works of Longfellow. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MacPhee, M., L.-L. Chang, F. Havaei, and W.-S. Chou. (2014). “A De- scriptive Account of an Inter-Professional Collaborative Leadership Project.” Journal of Administrative Sciences, 4(3), pp. 373–399.

Manz, C. C. (1983). “Improving Performance Through Self-Leader- ship.” National Productivity Review, 2(3), pp. 288–297.

Manz, C. C. (1986). “Self-Leadership: Toward an Expanded Theory of Self-Influence Processes in Organizations.”Academy of Manage- ment Review, 11(3), pp. 585–600.

Manz, C. C. (1992). “Self-Leading Work Teams: Moving Beyond Self-Management Myths.” Human Relations, 45, pp. 1119–1140.

Manz, C. C. (1992). Mastering Self-Leadership: Empowering Yourself for Personal Excellence. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Manz, C. C., and H. P. Sims, Jr. (1980). “Self-Management as a Sub- stitute for Leadership: A Social Learning Theory Perspective.”The Academy of Management Review, 5(3), pp. 361–367.

Manz, C. C., and H. P. Sims, Jr. (1987). “Leading Workers to Lead Themselves: The External Leadership of Self-Managing Work Teams.”Administrative Science Quarterly, 32(1), pp. 106–129.

Manz, C. C., and H. P. Sims, Jr. (2001). The New Superleadership: Leading Others to Lead Themselves. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Psychologi- cal Review, 50(4), pp. 370–396.

McKay, J., and P. Marshall. (2001). “The Dual Imperatives of Action Research.”Information Technology & People, 14(1), pp. 46–59.

Millet, R.L. Foreword, in: T.R. Callister. (2002). The Infinite Atone- ment. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Mumford, E. (2001). “Advice for an Action Researcher.”Information Technology & People, 14(1), pp. 12–27.

Neck, C. P., and C. C. Manz. (2010). Mastering Self-Leadership: Em- powering Yourself for Personal Excellence. Upper Saddle River: Pren- tice Hall.

Neck, C. P., and J. D. Houghton. (2006). “Two Decades of Self-Lead- ership Theory and Research: Past Developments, Present Trends, and Future Possibilities.”Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), pp. 270–295.

Neck, C. P., C. C. Manz, and J. D. Houghton. (2017). Self-Leadership: The Definitive Guide to Personal Excellence. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Northouse, P. G. (2007). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Osula, B., and E. C. W. Ng. (2014). “Toward a Collaborative, Trans- formative Model of Non-Profit Leadership: Some Conceptual Build- ing Blocks.” Journal of AdministrativeSciences, 4(2), pp. 87–104.

Pattni, I., and G. N. Soutar. (2009). “The Effectiveness of Self-Man- agement Training in Organisations from Two Culturally Different Countries.”Journal of Management Development, 28(7), pp. 633–646.

Project Management Institute (PMI). (2013). A Guide to the Proj- ect Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Fifth Edition. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.

Reason, P. and H. Bradbury (eds.). (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Roosevelt, T. (1910). Citizenship in a Republic. Paris: speech deliv- ered at the Sorbonne.

Roubiczek, P. (1964). Existentialism: For and Against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saiia, D. H., and D. Cyphert. (2003). “The Public Discourse of the Corporate Citizen.” Corporate Reputation Review, 6(1), pp. 47–57.

Sardar, S., Y. H. Lee, and M. S. Memon. (2016). “A Sustainable Out- sourcing Strategy Regarding Cost, Capacity Flexibility, and Risk in a Textile Supply Chain.” Sustainability, 8(3), p. 234.

Schumacher, E. F. (1977). A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Pe- rennial.

Sennett, R. (2011). The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Conse- quences of Work in the New Capitalism. New York − London: WW Norton & Company.

Smith, H. W. (1994). The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management: Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace. New York: Warner Books.

Stewart, G. L., S. H. Courtright, and C. C. Manz. (2011). “Self-Lead- ership: A multilevel review.” Journal of Management, 37(1), pp. 185– 222.

Stokes, S. L. (1994). “Moving Toward Self-Direction.”Information Systems Management, 11(1), pp. 40–46.

Thoreau, H. D. Walden. (2016). London: Penguin Classics.

Whyte, W.F. (ed.). (1991). Participatory Action Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Author & JLM