Nowadays, organization leaders face challenges that demand more than just development of leadership competences. Scholars and practitioners have argued that, at a more fundamental level, a shift in leaders’ mindsets is required. Various scholars suggest that “critical life events”, that is, trigger events that shape people’s lives, are probably an important antecedent of authentic leadership. Furthermore, research suggests that experiencing nature may lead to positive psychological effects. In this PhD project I examined the impact of a wilderness-based training program on leadership transformation. This thesis is based on three empirical studies that analyze leaders’ experiences and ensuing intentions to change, measure the actual impact of the training program on authentic leadership, and examine the role of memories of experiences on their leadership style and changes therein. The studies suggest that the training program is driving a mind-shift in leaders towards a broader and more caring attitude. This is most likely an effect of immersion in nature.
Boy van Droffelaar (1949) obtained his master's degree in Chemical Technology and Business Administration at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. He is a retired Executive who has worked for multinational companies, such as AkzoNobel, Randstad and SaraLee. Now he is an Executive Coach / Facilitator at the Foundation of Natural Leadership ( naturalleadersip.eu ). In 2020 he obtained his PhD from Wageningen University, the Netherlands.