Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Cheryl Getz, Ed.D. (Chair), Zachary Gabriel Green, Ph.D., Steven A. Gelb, Ph.D.


Bali, creativity, ethics, imagination, leadership, moral


Moral imagination can be defined as an act or process that involves the consideration of a moral-ethical tension and the generation of a novel and appropriate course of action that accommodates the situation. The purpose of this study was to understand how, if at all, might Balinese leaders demonstrate moral imagination using their sociocultural values. The following supporting research questions frame this study: (a) What sociocultural values inform the process by which Balinese leaders approach moral-ethical tension? (b) What specific interventions are part of Balinese leaders’ process in achieving their stated vision? (c) How, if at all, might the stated sociocultural values inform the process by which Balinese leaders develop and implement interventions?

Through a series of 60-90 minute interviews, this qualitative cross-case analysis examined 13 Balinese leaders representing various professions. This study found a collection of sociocultural values that clustered into two main categories—harmonic values (subcategorized into macroharmonic and microharmonic values) and dharmic values. Macroharmonic values included having a relationship with nature, one‘s community, and God or spirit. In addition, experiencing internal harmony of one‘s thoughts, words, and actions as well as one‘s wisdom, motivation, and apathy were microharmonic values found to be of importance to leaders in this study. Dharmic values included having a reverence toward the traditional past; providing economic, cultural, and natural resources for future generations; and paying attention to karma pala, or the consequences one is creating through one‘s own actions in the world.

Findings from this study reveal that morally imaginative Balinese leaders from various professions intervened in their sociocultural system in three ways: (a) by developing creative practices related to their line of work, (b) developing creative spaces for transformation, and (c) finding creative ways to construct relationships. Study findings also reveal that Balinese sociocultural values informed how leaders in this study perceived and intervened in their sociocultural context, established intentionality to accomplish difficult feats, involved others in their decision-making, and used supporting actions that sustained their creative decision-making and work process. This study offers deep insight into the interrelationship between sociocultural values and moral imagination from a unique indigenous perspective.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies