Listening as a Leadership Strategy: In Latest Book, Woodbury Business School Assistant Dean Explores Wise Lessons of Soft Skills

In 'Business and Buddhism,' Dr. Joan Marques Applies Philosophical Principles to the Workplace; Focus on Spirituality Earns APADS Pathfinder Award

Nov 17, 2015, 06:05 ET from Woodbury University

BURBANK, Calif., Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hard-nosed management practices and policies would seem to be in vogue during times of economic and financial stress, but Joan Marques, Ph.D., assistant dean of Woodbury University's School of Business, envisions a different path.

In Business and Buddhism (, her latest book, Dr. Marques examines alternative ways of leading in the aftermath of the Great Recession and analyzes some dispiriting sagas of fraud and greed that emerged in its wake.  Aimed at students of organizational behavior, management, leadership, diversity and ethics, the book explores shifts in business perspectives away from top-down and toward soft skills like emotional intelligence and listening, placing principles within a Buddhist context that, she writes, can and should be applied in the workplace.

According to Dr. Marques, "we don't do enough listening, and that's true up and down the corporate hierarchy.  Managers need to actively and consistently listen to their employees -- who comprise their most important stakeholder group – act on what they hear, and then complete the cycle by confirming to employees that they have indeed been heard." The book includes a final chapter of questions to promote reflection and critical thinking, accompanied by examples of Buddhist leaders in action.

Buddhist practices are increasingly understood as spiritual rather than religious, and Buddhism is alternately referred to as a philosophy or psychology, Dr. Marques notes.  In her book, she assesses the value of applying the positive psychology of Buddhism to workplace settings, and outlines the ways in which it offers highly effective approaches to addressing important management and organizational behavior-related issues.  The book also flags critical areas for caution: where Buddhism is non-confrontational and promotes detachment, for example, business leaders often face demands and pressures that can compromise these principles.

Lauding her career as a researcher/author on workplace spirituality and its affiliated areas, the Association of Pan-African Doctoral Scholars (APADS) presented Dr. Marques with the Nelle Becker-Slaton Pathfinder Award on Nov. 8.  The award is bestowed annually on an individual identified as innovative, entrepreneurial and a leader in his or her field.  Dr. Marques was selected on the basis of her educational performance, combined with an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.

Dr. Marques is the author of more than a dozen books, including Joy at Work, Work at Joy: Living and Working Mindfully Every Day (Personhood Press) and Leadership and Mindful Behavior: Action, Wakefulness, and Business (Palgrave MacMillan).  A thought leader in the areas of workplace spirituality and values-driven leadership, she has written or co-written more than 120 scholarly articles for journals that include Business and Society, The Journal of Business Ethics and The Journal of Management Development, among others.

Joan Marques earned an MBA from Woodbury and a doctorate in education from Pepperdine University.  Swiftly transitioning from student to teacher, she has served as an academic advisor since 1999 and an adjunct faculty member since 2001, eventually becoming Director and Chair of the BBA Program and Chair of the Management Department, where she was recently promoted to full professor.

In addition to her degrees from Woodbury and Pepperdine, Dr. Marques has a Ph.D. from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands and a BS in Business Economics from MOC, Suriname.  She also holds an AACSB Bridge to Business Post Doctoral Certificate from Tulane University's Freeman School of Business.  She is cofounder of The Business Renaissance Institute, president and cofounder of the Academy of Spirituality and Professional Excellence, and a member of the Academy of Management and the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society.

In March, Dr. Marques was awarded the rank of "Commandeur" in the order of the Yellow Star by the President of the Republic of Suriname, her native country.  One of the highest honors the South American nation can bestow on its citizens, the Yellow Star was presented by Rita Schavet, the Consul General of Suriname.

About Woodbury University
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. With campuses in Burbank/Los Angeles and San Diego, the university offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and College of Transdisciplinarity, along with a Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Interior Architecture (MIA), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), and Master of Leadership.  The San Diego campus offers Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture, Master of Leadership, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees, as well as an MSArch degree with a concentration in Real Estate Development.  Woodbury ranks in the top 4 percent nationally in The Economist's first-ever survey of American colleges.  In 2014, the university ranked 15th among the nation's "25 Colleges That Add the Most Value," according to Money Magazine, and is a 2014-2015 College of DistinctionVisit for more information.

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