Call for Papers: A Special Issue of The Journal of Corporate Citizenship on Intellectual Shamans, Wayfinders, Systems Thinkers and Social Movements

JCC 48 coverCall for Papers

The Journal of Corporate Citizenship Special Issue

Intellectual Shamans, Wayfinders, Systems Thinkers and Social Movements:  Building a Future Where All Can Thrive

Guest Editors: Chellie Spiller (Lead Editor), Malcolm McIntosh, Judith Neal, Edwina Pio, Sandra Waddock 

How will we build a future where all can thrive?  That is a question that has always haunted people.  Today, however, we face a particular need for radical global systems change. A key issue is the rampant fundamentalism of neoliberal economics which claims that the market will solve the challenges of climate change, species extinction, inequity, a troubled global financial system, misogyny, nationalism and social unrest.  It will not. The neoliberal endeavor to objectify, commoditise and marketise all aspects of our lives has devalued public goods, social enterprise, quiet moments, awe and wonder from daily living.

The world is much in need of healing—and of healers and social movements that can help to shape the future in ways that all can thrive.  There are many people attempting to do this healing. We call them intellectual shamans when they are academics (Waddock, 2015 in press), wayfinders when they are strategists or leaders who find and explore new territories by reading the signs (Spiller, 2012; Spiller, Kerr & Panoho, 2015 in press), difference makers when they are social entrepreneurs and innovators (Waddock, 2008), edgewalkers when they walk the interstices of functions in organizations (Neal, 2006), systems thinkers when they make connections and see interdependencies, and, more generally, change makers, who have changed themselves so that they can change the world for the better (e.g., Quinn, 2010).  Of course much radical change grows out of grassroots social movements without an heroic or charismatic leader, where the leadership derives from the energy in the movement, the local community or the network, affective or effective. Whatever name they go by, all want to use whatever power they have to make the world a better place.  They, in effect, bring qualities of the shaman to their work, performing three central roles of shamanistic being—healing, connecting, and sensemaking—in the service of a better world.

This Call for Papers seeks contributions that highlight the roles, functions, purposes, and activities of intellectual shamans, wayfinders, difference makers, edgewalkers, systems thinkers, social movements and change makers—and/or their work.  The intellectual shaman (Waddock, 2015 in press) is the healer of theories, practices, education, and disciplines, the connector who spans across boundaries of all sorts to generate new ideas, insights, and practices, and the sensemaker, who helps others understand the insights gained from traveling to different disciplinary realms, areas of practice, time and geographic zones, and across other boundaries.

The word shaman has its roots in Manchu-Tungu (a sub-family of the Altaic language family) šamán, an ancient term from the lands of the Tungus, the area around Lake Baikal in Southern Siberia, the original home of Indigenous peoples such as the Evenki. The Sanskrit word sramana (referring to a monk; ascetic) and the Chinese term scha-men (meaning to know; monk) bear the imprint of Tungus origins (Eliade, 1972). Many cultures have in their traditions the equivalent of the shaman, and while some cultures still honor the shaman role that helps their community to heal when it is in trouble many others have lost this connection. Shamanism points to a way of life that is still preserved in cultural pockets around the world – it is a way of living at the very center of our being where every aspect of creation, whether a tree or a rock, has something to teach us. Thus, terms such shaman and shamanism are not only about individuals they are about how communities commune and create their reality.

Modern day rationalistic thinking dismisses ancient healing traditions such as shamanism as arcane and weird. It is our contention, however, that we need to rediscover our intuitive, holistic, and future-oriented healing powers to help organizations do their part to heal a troubled world.  These aspects of shamanism are about creating our future and involve the core tasks of healing, connecting, and sensemaking. Looking closely, we observe people with these qualities in many contexts – these are the social and entrepreneurial innovators, wayfinders, difference makers, edgewalkers and systems thinkers who bridge different functions and organizations, who create new institutions and enterprises who serve these healing, connecting, and sensemaking functions.  In the academic community, it is the intellectual shaman (Waddock, 2015) who steps beyond the current boundaries of knowledge to generate new insights or ways of doing intellectual work, who takes the necessary risks to be truly creative, and who works with an underlying sense that making a positive difference in the world is the purpose of the work.  On the cusp of adapt or die, humanity desperately needs these shamanic approaches today (Waddock, 2015 in press; McIntosh, 2015 in press).  With this special issue, we want to raise this healing work up to serve as exemplars for scholarship and action, with voice as a significant component of resisting social inequalities and the pursuit of social justice (Sen, 2005).

Intellectual shamans, wayfinders, and other change makers allow for intuitive approaches to a future that is likely to be qualitatively different than the more familiar past.  Traditional positivist methods of inquiry and research, not to mention strategies and managerial actions, tend to be focused on what has worked in the past and are hard pressed to deal with a turbulent and uncertain future.  To contend with that future, we need to open up to new possibilities, some of which are based on intuition and instincts deeply drawn from sources of knowing that can seem more subjective than the ‘objective’ approaches with which Western scholarly traditions are more familiar, others based on action research, appreciative inquiry (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005), and other more holistic ways of understanding, learning, and knowing, such as the Māori notion of wairua, meaning spirituality, (Keiha & Pio, 2015), or the guru-shishya process for radiating knowledge (Pio, 2007).

While we are not seeking to draw an artificial lines between the West and elsewhere, we are particularly interested in papers that look beyond the narrow confines of the typical Western academic framework and reveal sources of inspiration from the present or the past that have not perhaps been articulated in scholarly literature because they appeal to the aesthetic, the emotional, the spiritual or the story telling traditions.


We are interested in innovation but papers answering this call should attempt to illustrate in theoretically, conceptually and/or empirically grounded ways: 1) holistic, empirically or conceptually-grounded ways in which intellectual shamans, wayfinders, change agents, systems thinkers and social movements can build more health and resilience into organizations, systems, and institutions in society (and as they relate to the natural environment), and/or 2) create more holistic, future-oriented ways of ways of thinking, knowing, and understanding that help to heal something of significance—a theory, discipline, set of managerial or leadership practices, some institution(s) in the world, or perspectives.  How is this work accomplished?  What does this work look like?  What are the individuals who do this work like?  What are the impacts, if any, of this type of work?

Initial contributions of 4000-6000 words should be submitted for double-blind review by June 1, 2015 to JCC online author submission form.  Full submission guidelines for JCC authors can be found at   Authors should expect initial decisions back by September 1, 2015, with any requested revisions due by December 1, 2015.

This special issue will be published as Issue #61 to be published in March 2016.

Contact details:

Lead Editor

Dr Chellie Spiller
University of Auckland Business School
Department of Management and International Business
Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, Aotearoa New Zealand
+64 9 373 7599 xtn 81203


Rebecca Macklin
Greenleaf Publishing
Aizlewood’s Mill, Nursery Street
Sheffield, S3 8GG, UK


Cooperrider, D., & Whitney, D. D. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Egri, C. P., & Frost, P. J. (1991). Shamanism and change: Bringing back the magic in organizational transformation. Research in Organizational Change and Development, 5, 175-221.

Eliade, M. (1972). Shamanism: archaic techniques of ecstasy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press

Frost, P. J., & Egri, C. P. (1994). The shamanic perspective on organizational change and development. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 7(1), 7-23.

Keiha, P., & Pio, E. (2015). For whose purposes do we educate? The notion of Wairua in Business schools. In Mabey, C., and Mayrhofer, W. (Eds.). Questions Business Schools don’t ask. London: Sage.

Neal, J. (2006). Edgewalkers: People and organizations that take risks, build bridges, and break new ground. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Quinn, R. E. (2010). Deep change: Discovering the leader within. Vol. 378. John Wiley & Sons.

McIntosh, M. (2015) The new political economy: Five systems steps to change. Greenleaf Publishing.

Pio, E. (2007). Gurus and Indian Epistemologies: Parables of Labour Intensive Organizations. Journal of Management Inquiry, 16 (2), 180-192.

Sen, A. (2005). The argumentative Indian. Penguin

Spiller, C. (2012). Wayfinding in Strategy Research. West Meets East: Building Theoretical Bridges: Building Theoretical Bridges, Vol. 8, Emerald:  61-90.

Spiller, C., Kerr, H., & Panoho, J. (2015, in press). Wayfinding and leadership. Wellington. Huia Publications.

Waddock, S. (2008). The difference makers: How social and institutional entrepreneurs created the corporate responsibility movement. Greenleaf Publishing.

Waddock, S. (2015 in press).  Intellectual shamans:  Management academics making a difference.  Cambridge.


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