An ILA Leadership Perspectives Webinar

Religion, Spirituality, and Moral Disengagement

Presenters: Kirk Mensch

Date: 9 August 2017

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Identifying and understanding psychosocial predictors related to an agent’s propensity to disengage from their own moral self-sanctions is important in decreasing self-destructive behaviors. Here we present research related to certain religious connections to moral disengagement. An analysis of the data allows for an evaluation of possible reasons for correlations and predictability between three different aspects of religious practice and a propensity for the disengagement of moral self-sanctions. Discussion on the possible benefits and risks related to intrinsic religiosity, organized religious practice, and non-organized religious practice is offered to explore theoretical and pragmatic implications. Conclusions include the need for further research to assist in better understanding how religious practice might influence an agent to act in accord or disaccord with their own ethical beliefs whilst either improving moral resilience or otherwise assuaging anguish and cognitive dissonance that often results from contradicting one’s principled moral beliefs.

Learning Outcomes

  • Articulate the meaning of moral disengagement and possible relationships to religion and spirituality.
  • Discuss possibilities for future research related to the disengagement of moral self-sanctions.
  • Consider and appreciate the value of moral disengagement in the study of leadership.

Intended Audience

  • Ethical and Moral Leadership
  • Philosophy of Leadership
  • Religion and Spirituality

Speaker Information

Kirk G. Mensch is Associate Professor at Eastern University where he teaches advanced quantitative methods and other courses in the PhD in Organizational Leadership. Mensch is a former U.S. Intelligence Community Officer who served over 20 years in many capacities with the U.S. Government. He served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division and commanded paratroopers during two tours at Fort Bragg, NC. He began his teaching career as an Assistant Professor of Military Science & Leadership at the College of William & Mary in 2004. Mensch studies psychological resiliency in combat veterans and his current project is focused on the disengagement of moral self-sanctions, hope and religiosity in the workplace. He holds a B.S. in Economics, an MBA and two PhDs.

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