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Similarities Between Ignatian and Quaker Ethical Leadership Processes and Application In Large Organization Environments

Michael Sheeran, S.J. (1983: 3) in his book Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decisions in the Religious Society of Friends (commonly called “Quakers”) and in his “Ignatius And The Quakers (Sheeran, S.J., 1990)” article found important similarities between Ignatian and Quaker ethical leadership processes. Ignatius was the founder of “The Society of Jesus” whose members are commonly referred to as “Jesuits.” Sheehan referred to the core “idea that there is that of Go[o]d in everyone” and the corollary “communal discernment” (Nielsen, 2018) method. Relationships between Ignatian and Quaker “Seeking Go(o)d In All Things” and the “Servant Leadership” method; and, “Communal Discernment” and the “service based group decision making” process methods are considered. Both large Jesuit and Quaker universities and Quaker businesses have experienced similar marginalizations and even disappearance of meaningful Ignatian and Quaker presence and mission. Process methods such as the Quaker Robert Greenleaf’s “servant leadership” method and the “service based group decision making” methods developed by the Ignatian scholar-practitioner Andre Delbecq have and can incorporate these key principles within large organizations. The Ignatian and Quaker similarities are interesting in and of themselves. In addition, the article considers how these Ignatian and Quaker process methods can be applied within large organizations by individual managers and leaders even when those principles are not part of the core secular organizational dimensions, cultures, and systems. This can be an important way to help preserve and adapt these Ignatian and Quaker principles and processes to large organizational environments.