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My Thesis: A Paradigm for 21st Century Global Leaders

Do you wake up every day with a calling to lead people you can’t physically see or touch?

Do you regularly engage in team or project work with people from other cultures?

Do you long for the hype of “leader as omnipotent hero” to give way to a more authentic model of “leader as servant?”

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be interested in scanning through “Servant Leadership Across Distance and Cultures: A New Paradigm for 21st Century Global Leaders.” Catchy title, I know. Such is the nature of academic work. You can also find my thesis on the Downloads tab on my blog. I’d love your feedback.

Here’s the Abstract …

This project addresses the lack of a distance leadership paradigm to adequately prepare servant leaders who are capable of leading well across distance and cultures within Campus Crusade for Christ’s (CCC) global level of leadership.

Research explored three aspects of leadership: servant leadership, distance leadership, and cross-cultural leadership. First, servant leadership builds on and surpasses other leadership models for global work because it seeks first to serve and develop others into mature, autonomous leaders who will, in turn, serve others. Robert Greenleaf’s test for increasing personal autonomy in servant leadership is essential in distance leadership because close supervision is impossible and counterproductive to organizational effectiveness. Second, effective distance leaders learn to overcome relational distance by using advanced communications technology to build and sustain trusting relationships with followers, partners, and other leaders. Third, effective global leaders grow in self-awareness of their own cultural bias and learn how to manage cultural diversity by studying, respecting, and dialoguing about cultural differences.

Field interviews and group discussions with more than 80 of CCC’s global leaders highlighted personal humility and building trusting relationships as two keys to effectively leading across distance and cultures. Helps and hindrances were identified in three categories: communication-rich relationships, integrity and trustworthiness in personal character, and leadership competence in using advanced communications technology. Findings strongly supported biblical servant leadership examples of Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul, Kathleen Patterson’s servant leadership virtuous construct, and the GLOBE study of 62 societies’ culturally endorsed leadership theory (CLT).

The researcher presents a new paradigm for 21st century global leaders.

I welcome your feedback at [email protected].


By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at

5 replies on “My Thesis: A Paradigm for 21st Century Global Leaders”

Hi Ken, I’ve started reading this and wanted to tell you that this paragraph gives me quite a bit about which I need to think and consider. I have a lot to learn, and your dissertation gives me some very good tracks on which to run. I think there is quite a bit for us to learn in France as well. Over time, I hope that we can learn these lessons.

“Effective servant leaders who endure share several characteristics: they walk passionately with Jesus in ways that suit their personality; they pursue intimacy with a small group of trusted friends; they invite and embrace feedback from colleagues; they are aware of the dangers of isolation and pride, thus they seek humility; and they grow in using technology to extend their influence, express care, coach and bring concrete help to others, whether near or far.”

@Joe – Your teachability inspires me. I look forward to hearing how this plays out in your culture.

Hey Ken, I saw this on your top 5 posts from 2012. Looking forward to reading it. From looking over the table of contents and abstract, it looks like it will be a great reference and paradigm. Congratulations!

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