Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Toward an Understanding of the Kenosis of Christ: A Proposed A Priori Constituent to Transformative Leadership Traits in Philippians 2:5-11

David Atlas Danley
December 2009

This research examined the kenosis (self-emptying) of Christ through an exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11, using social and cultural criticism, which is a subtexture of Robbins' (1996a) sociorhetorical interpretation analysis method, to examine Christian religious text. In so doing, this study proposed the construct of the kenosis of Christ to be an a priori constituent to virtue-based transformative leadership principles and traits. To find if this was true, this study examined Philippians 2:5-11 for transformative leadership principles by researching the kenosis of Christ. Although the findings rejected the hypothesis of the research question, transformative leadership traits were found to be present in Philippians 2:5-11 with implications pointing to a mimetic principle supporting Christ as the exemplar model of transformative leadership. Furthermore, because the focus of this study was intentionally narrow (i.e., the exclusive exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11 to discover if virtue-based transformative leadership traits existed in the kenosis of Christ), compulsory limitations were imposed on the extent of the research. Therefore, this study did not engage in theological or Christological debates concerning denominational doctrine or controversies surrounding kenotic dogma. Although this research found that the kenosis of Christ was not a priori to virtue-based transformative leadership traits, its value as a potential step in the transformation process was determined to be viable. In light of these observations, future research is required to further understand Christ's mimetic model of transformation and how Christ's kenosis of self-emptying correlates to virtue-based transformative leadership within organizations.