Transforming Shame Through Love: Envisioning Positive Transcultural Leadership in Contemporary and Future Workplaces

Claude Hélène Mayer, Rudolf M. Oosthuizen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Shame can be a powerful emotion in leadership and workplaces. Previous research highlights the effects of shame on organisations and how it can be transformed. This chapter discusses love in the form of a compassionate, human love as one possible way to overcome and transform shame, particularly in transcultural workspaces. The chapter presents empirical findings from a qualitative study conducted in line with a hermeneutical research paradigm. Methodologically, the study used structured interviews with 22 leaders from different countries and cultural backgrounds to inquire about shame and love in leadership, the workplace, and the organisation. The findings show that leaders’ (compassionate) love transforms shame in workplaces in four ways. The study further shows that love and shame are interlinked in certain ways, for example, love experience causes shame, love is a resource for overcoming shame and love, and shame and the self are integrated. The study further shows that love narrations are a powerful resource for transforming shame and negative emotions in Industry 4.0-related contexts. Finally, the findings show which strategies of loving leadership leaders chose to implement in order to transform toxic shame in the workplace, emphasising that the inner attitude of a loving mindset is the key to healthy and transformed, positive transcultural workplaces.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShame 4.0
Subtitle of host publicationInvestigating an Emotion in Digital Worlds and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030595272
ISBN (Print)9783030595265
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Culture
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
  • Industry 4.0
  • Leadership
  • Love
  • Positive transcultural leadership
  • Shame 4.0
  • Transculture
  • Transformation
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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