Barack Hussein Obama – A Transformational Leader?

I am immersed in facilitating a class at Concordia titled international management and have not kept my pledge to be online-intime. I will again attempt to keep this pledge – since doing so is now essential to understanding the task of democracy and self-organization that is before the class. This is the fifth and last time that I will teach this class since in the fall the new curriculum begins and this class changes to cross-cultural management, which I have been asked to facilitate and am now searching for a way this current pedagogy can continue. The current class’s pedagogy is different in that the WorldWideWeb takes the place of a text book with Youtube and many other sites serving as sources that we mine in our study of this interrelated model: individual, family, culture, corporation, capitalism, and globalization.

What is depth psychology?

We began our study with the individual by looking at the depth psychology and Jung’s concept of individuation. At the center of the concept of individuation is Jung’s idea of psyche transformation to a new way of being in the world. With the concept of transformational leadership at the top of the hierarchy of leadership ideas and recently hearing much chatter about President Obama being a transformational leader, I suggested to the Concordia class of 7 students that we study Obama as a transformational leader.


After watching and discussing Obama’s State of the Union 2013 Address, I showed them Myers (2010) clip of Jung on Leadership. Myers states that Jung takes a different approach to leading in emphasizing the central role the unconscious plays. Myers makes the point that the unconscious forces in the followers, the situation, and in the leader together play a significant role in leading that is a complement to conscious volition. “Every movement” Myers (2010) cites Jung on leading,

… culminates organically in a leader, who embodies in his whole being the meaning and purpose of the popular movement. He is an incarnation of the nation’s psyche and its mouth piece. He is the spearhead of the whole people in motion. The need of the whole always calls forth a leader.

Jung on Self-awareness

I have assigned the class to watch Obama’s DNC 2004 Address that first alerted the Nation to a fellow named Barack Hussein Obama. Robert Aziz’s (2008) book, Democracy and Self-Organization: The change of which Barack Obama speaks, proposes a theoretical model for our study of Obama and begins by asking us to ponder this probability:

What is the probability, leaving aside for the moment the meaning, of a relatively young black man becoming the Democratic candidate for President? What is the probability of a black presidential candidate whose first name rhymes with the name of the country in which America is engage in a war, which the majority of American today wish they had never entered; whose last name rhymes with the first name of the individual to whom the 9/11 attacks have been attributed; and if that doesn’t push enough buttons for the American voter, whose middle name is the surname of that country’s former ruler whose purported activities became the justification for entering the war the majority of Americans today wish they had never entered?

We do not need a degree in statistics to say the probably is very low but is there a process that can help us understand this?

I ask, when watching the DNC 2004 Address, can we identify what is the change of which Barack Obama speaks, how is it transformational, and can we follow Obama’s leadership in the drama going forward? There are no exams in the class, only a journal submitted weekly on the week’s experiences for 6 week culminating in a 8-page paper. I will keep this unfolding self-organizing experience online-intime.

Obama’s DNC 2004 Address

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