Professor Marjolein Lips-Wiersma

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Professor of Ethics and Sustainability Leadership

Phone: 09 921 9999 ext5038


Physical Address:
WY 142
Level 1, WY Building
120 Mayoral Drive
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142


  • MMS(University of Waikato)
  • PhD(University of Auckland)


Marjo Lips-Wiersma joined AUT University in January 2015 in the role of Professor of Ethics and Sustainability Leadership. Prior to her appointment at AUT she was at Canterbury University. Her research is on behavioral aspects of ethics and sustainability. She has published in journals such as the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Leadership Quarterly, Group & Organization Management, Journal of Management Inquiry and the Journal of Business Ethics and is a member of several editorial boards.

Marjo has taught Organisational Behavior, Ethics, Sustainability, Responsible Leadership, Career Management and Qualitative Research Methods at undergrad, postgrad and MBA levels and has successfully supervised to completion a number of honours, masters and doctoral candidates in these areas.

At present Marjo’s overarching research question is how sustainability leads to more meaning and well-being. She also researchers the roles and responsiblitities of sustainability officers, what processes people use to evaluate their work as worthy, what (new) organisational forms are required to speed up the sustainability agenda and the engagement of young people in sustainability issues.

Marjo’s research on meaningful work is used in a variety of organisations in countries around the world and she is co-director of “Map of Meaning International” which has the aim to help organisations to create and maintain Meaningful Work.

Teaching Areas:

  • Ethics, Sustainability and Leadership

Research Areas:

  • Meaningful Work
  • Purpose beyond Profit
  • Workplace Spirituality
  • Responsible Leadership
  • Corporate Responsibility (behavioral)
  • Ethics (behavioral)

Research Summary:

Research interests include a series of interconnected themes:
  1. The nature, antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work
  2. Corporate responsibility and meaningful work
  3. Critical spirituality, the paradoxes it entails and struggling with ‘should’ and ‘ought to’ questions. For example ‘should’ we draw on spiritual inspiration with the purpose of enhancing performance?
  4. Purpose beyond profit: what are the consequences of the existence of corporations? Does a purpose statement ‘beyond profit’ affect CSR practices?
  5. The future of management: given that management is becoming an increasingly universal framework for negotiating a myriad of human experiences and interactions, what contribution does it make (directly or indirectly) to human well-being?
  6. The role of vocation of calling in directing the human experience, including activism.
  7. Leadership and Meaningful Work
  8. Evaluating Spiritual Initiatives in Organizations


  1. Bailey, C., Lips-Wiersma, M., Madden, A., Yeoman, R., Thompson, M. and Chalofsky, N. (2018) The five paradoxes of meaningful work: introduction to the special issue ‘meaningful work: prospects for the 21st century’. Journal of Management Studies. Online first:
  2. Lips-Wiersma, M.S., Haar, J. and Wright, S. (2018). The effect of Fairness, Responsible Leadership and Worthy Work on Multiple Dimensions of Meaningful Work.  Journal of Business Ethics. Online first:
  3. Lamm, F. and Lips-Wiersma, M.S. (2018). A disaster waiting to happen: Silently silencing stakeholders at the Pike River Coal Mine.  Journal of Industrial Relations. Online first:
  4. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Von Hirshberg, H. (2017). Meaningful Work. In Oxford Bibliographies (pp. 1-27). Oxford Online: Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0129
  5. Lips-Wiersma, M. and Allan, H. (2017) The student voice in Critical Leadership Education: An exploration of student – faculty partnership learning in sustainability education. Leadership: 1-16. Doi:10.1177/1742715016688563
  6. Lips-Wiersma, M. and Morris, L. (2017) The Map of Meaningful Work: A Practical Guide to Sustaining our Humanity (2nd edition ed.). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.
  7. Grant, P., Lips-Wiersma, M. and Soebagio, V. (2017) Developing essential competencies of sustainability educators: Teaching and modelling systems thinking through partnership learning. Journal of Business Ethics Education (14): 241-260.
  8. Lips-Wiersma, M., Wright, S. and Dik, B. (2016) Meaningful work: Differences among blue-, pink-, and white-collar occupations. Career Development International (21): 534-551. Doi:10.1108/CDI-04-2016-0052
  9. Lips-Wiersma, M., Souter, A. and Wright, S. (2015) The lived experience of meaningful work. New Zealand Journal of Human Resources Management (15): 134-150.
  10. Lips-Wiersma, M. and Mills, A. J. (2014) Understanding the Basic Assumptions about Human Nature in Workplace Spirituality: Beyond the Critical Versus Positive Divide. Journal of Management Inquiry (23): 148-161. Doi:10.1177/1056492613501227 (CHANGES, former 1)
  11. Lips-Wiersma, M. (2014) A personal or systems concept? An investigation of meaningful work. Japanese Journal of Administrative Science (27): 159-176. Doi:10.5651/jaas.27.159
  12. Chaston, J. and Lips-Wiersma, M. (2014) When spirituality meets hierarchy: Leader spirituality as a double-edged sword. Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion (12): 111-128. Doi:10.1080/14766086.2014.938244
  13. Lips-Wiersma, M. and Morris, L. (2013) Understand it or destroy it. Why every leader needs to understand meaningful work. In J. Neal (Ed.) Handbook of Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace. New York: Springer.
  14. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Wright, S. (2012). Measuring the meaning of meaningful work: Development and validation of the comprehensive meaningful work scale (CMWS).  Group and Organization Management.
  15. Algera, P. and Lips-Wiersma, M.S. (2012). Radical authentic leadership: Co-creating the conditions under which all members of the organization can be authentic.  The Leadership Quarterly.
  16. Nilakant, V. and Lips-Wiersma, M. (2012) The duty of corporate management: From the perspective of dharma. In J. Buckingham and V. Nilakant (Eds.) Managing Responsibility: Alternative Approaches to Corporate Management and Governance: 67-92. Farnham, UK: Taylor and Francis Group.
  17. Lips-Wiersma, M. (2011) Bahai'i Perspective on Business and Organization. In L. Bouckaert and L. Zsolnai (Ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business: 179-186. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. (Chapters in Books).
  18. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Morris, L. (2011) Contemplating Meaningful Work: Two exercises to make meaningful and meaningless work visible to self and others. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman and J. Biberman (Ed.), Managing in the Twenty-First Century: Transforming Toward Mutual Growth: 86-95. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (Chapters in Books).
  19. Lips-Wiersma, M. and Morris, L. (2011) The Map of Meaning: A Guide to Sustaining our Humanity in the World of Work. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing. 187pp. (Authored Books).
  20. Lips-Wiersma., M.S. and Morris, L. (2011) Voicing Meaningfulness at Work. In L. Bouckaert and L. Zsolnai (Ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Spirituality and Business: 324-333. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (Chapters in Books).
  21. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Mills, A.J. (2010) Theorizing "The Whole Person": An empirical study on the nature of 'being' in organizations. Montréal, Canada: 2010 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 6-10 Aug 2010. (Conference Contributions - Full conference papers).
  22. Lips-Wiersma, M. and Morris, L. (2009) Discriminating between 'Meaningful Work' and 'The Management of Meaning'. Journal of Business Ethics 88: 491-511. (Journal Articles).
  23. Lips-Wiersma, M., Dean, K.L. and Fornaciari, C.J. (2009) Identifying and Managing the Shadow of Workplace Spirituality: Practical Guidelines. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman and R. King (Ed.), The Workplace and Spirituality: New Perspectives on Research and Practice: 177-187. Woodstock: Skylight Paths. (Chapters in Books).
  24. Lips-Wiersma, M., Lund Dean, K. and Fornaciari, C.J. (2009) Theorizing the Dark Side of the Workplace Spirituality Movement. Journal of Management Inquiry 18(4): 288-300.
  25. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Algera, P. (2008) An existential perspective on authentic leadership: A departure from the high-ground. Auckland, New Zealand: 7th International Conference on Studying Leadership, 8-9 Dec 2008. (Conference Contributions - Full conference papers).
  26. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Morris, L. (2008) Meaningful Work. Barcelona, Spain: 15th Symposium for Ethics in Business, 13-15 May 2008. (Conference Contributions - Full conference papers).
  27. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. and Nilakant, V. (2008) Practical Compassion: Toward a Critical Spiritual Foundation for Corporate Responsibility. In J. Biberman. and L. Tishler (Ed.), Spirituality in Business: Theory, Practice and Future Directions: 51-72. New York: Palgrave Mcmillan. (Chapters in Books).
  28. Nilakant, V. and Lips-Wiersma, M.S. (2008) Tensions between economics and ethics in corporate management. Anaheim, CA, USA: 2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 8-11 Aug 2008. (Conference Contributions - Full conference papers).
  29. Lips-Wiersma, M.S., Lund Dean, K. and Fornaciari, C. (2008) The workplace spirituality movement: Identifying the Shadow of Management and Managing the Shadow. Anaheim, CA, USA: 2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 8-11 Aug 2008. (Conference Contributions - Full conference papers).
  30. Lips-Wiersma, M.S. (2008) Workplace Spirituality, Towards what Purpose? In Barry, D. and Hansen, H. (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization: 167-169. London: Sage. (Chapters in Books).


  • 2010 Finalist Best International Paper (Carolyn Dexter Award): Academy of Management, Montreal - Theorizing “The Whole Person”: An empirical study on the nature of `being' in organizations (With Professor Albert Mills)
  • 2009 Best Journal Paper: Journal of Management Inquiry - Theorizing the Dark Side of the Workplace Spirituality Movement (With Professors Kathy Lund Dean and Charles Fornaciari)
  • 2008 Best Conference Paper Award: 7th International Conference on Studying Leadership. An existential perspective on authentic leadership; A departure from the high-ground (With Puck Algera, PhD student)
  • 2007 Best Division Paper Award: Academy of Management, Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group. Practical Compassion: Towards a critical spiritual foundation for CSR (With Ass. Prof. V. Nilakant)