Professor Chellie Spiller

Chellie Spiller

Professor of Management and Leadership


Wayfinding Leadership, Authentic Leadership, Collective Leadership, Māori Governance, Strategy, Decision-making, Wellbeing. Mindfulness, Spirituality in Business, Māori and Indigenous stewardship approaches

Iwi: Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa

Contact Details

Room: MSB.4.35
Phone: +64 7 837 9434

Papers Taught

About Chellie

Dr Chellie Spiller, (hapū Matawhaiti Iwitea, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa), is a professor at the University of Waikato's Management School.

Please contact me if you are interested in conducting or commissioning research in these areas, I welcome a conversation with prospective PhD or Masters students:

  • Leadership. I'm especially interested in Wayfinding Leadership, Authentic Leadership, Collective/Relational Leadership, Wisdom, Leadership Development and Change, Spiritual and Servant Leadership
  • Māori and Indigenous Business and Governance including Stewardship, Wellbeing, Strategy and Decision-making
  • Wisdom, Spirituality, Wellbeing and Mindfulness in Leadership and Business
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Sustainable Business and Social Enterprise.

I am passionate about leadership development and am a trained facilitator in programmes such as The Leadership Challenge, Immunity to Change and Courage to Lead. My research and publishing reflects these interests. In 2013 my co-edited book with Donna Ladkin, Reflections on Authentic Leadership: Concepts, Coalescences and Clashes (Edward Elgar Press) was short-listed for an international leadership book award.

I'm currently co-editing a book on leadership and wisdom from Asian,  Māori and Middle Eastern perspectives - the stories that are coming through from contributors around the world are illuminating and inspiring. My two co-editors are Ali Intezari and Shih-Ying Yang.

I'm a committed advocate for Māori leadership, management, governance and business development. My PhD developed the notion of relational wellbeing and wealth across spiritual, environmental, social, cultural and economic dimensions at work and I continue to research and publish in this area. I am a co-principle investigator on a research team exploring Māori leadership in the context of decision-making.

In 2015 I released a book  with Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and John Panoho on ‘Wayfinding Leadership’. Our training programmes are growing and currently being taught in a variety of domains, such as Air New Zealand’s middle management training programme, Global Women’s Breakthrough Leadership, the judiciary, professional sports teams, and the health sector. Wayfinding Leadership is included in the list of 150 books by leading Māori authors assembled by the Royal Society of New Zealand to celebrate 150 years of Māori non-fiction publications.

I bring over thirty years of corporate experience in tourism and marketing in New Zealand and abroad, holding senior executive positions, to my academic work and leadership and management development programmes.

Distinctions and Awards

  • Joined the editorial review board for Academy of Management Perspectives 2018
  • Guest speaker at Harvard University on 'What is a great leader' 2018
  • Tedx Talk on 'Wayfinding Leadership'
  • Co-Chair Programs for International Leadership Association global conference 2018
  • Featured in '100 Māori Leaders' for services to community, Te Rau Matatini 2017
  • Co-awarded major research grant Māori Leadership and Decision-Making (Ngā Pae) 2017
  • Finalist Māori Book of the Year Awards for Wayfinding Leadership (non-fiction) 2016
  • Early Career Research Excellence Award by the University of Auckland 2015
  • Top ten Leadership Book of the Year finalist; Reflections on Authentic Leadership 2014
  • Awarded to bring a Distinguished Visitor to UoA (Prof. Joe Kalt, Harvard University) 2013
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Harvard University and The University of Arizona 2012
  • Dame Mira Szászy Māori Business Leaders Alumni Award 2012
  • Best Reviewer Award Academy of Management (SIM) 2012
  • Te Amorangi National Māori Academic Excellence Award 2012
  • Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings Award 2010
  • Inaugural Paul Kelly Scholar, University of Auckland 2005

Research Interests


Spiller, C., Barclay-Kerr, H., & Panoho, J. (2015). Wayfinding Leadership: Groundbreaking Wisdom for Developing Leaders. Wellington, NZ: Huia Publications. Retrieved from Wayfinding Leadership (WFL), now in its third print run, is a best-selling book. It was shortlisted for the Māori Book of the Year awards, 2016. The book uses narrative inquiry and analysis as a foundation for leadership theory, and is targeted to a wide audience. It is written to be accessible, relatable, practical and impactful. WFL has catalysed a new approach to leadership development that is growing quickly. It has strong relevancy and impact in organisations and over 3000 diverse leaders have received WFL training or attended one of our talks, including Air NZ’s 450 middle managers, CEO and senior leadership. It is the basis of Global Women’s Breakthrough Leadership cultural module. 

Spiller, C., & Wolfgramm, R. (Eds.) (2015). Indigenous spiritualities at work: Transforming the spirit of business enterprise. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from This is a seminal work on the topic of Indigenous spiritualties at work. It explores how Indigenous spiritualties can revitalise relationships within the workplace, communities and ecologies. It provides a solid theoretical and empirical grounding from Indigenous peoples to the field of workplace spirituality. It features chapters by Indigenous scholars from Native America, Māori, Australian Aboriginal, Canadian Aboriginal, African, Adivasi Indian, Peruvian, Taoist and Shinto. The book supported the academic career development of four Indigenous PhD students. It is a compulsory textbook at the Ivy League Brown University. Professor Fry highlights the book’s significance: [this] is a seminal work in the truest sense of the word. [It] proposes dimensions of Indigenous spiritualties that bridge the chasm between scholarly work and practice.

Ladkin, D., & Spiller, C. (2013). Reflections on Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences. D. Ladkin, & C. Spiller (Eds.), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Inc.
Our book on authentic leadership (AL) marks an important turn in the very popular field of authentic leadership studies. Our book is innovative and potentially paradigm-changing in our recognition of the relational and contextual dimensions of leadership. Our intellectual contribution has been significant and has spurred new thinking on ‘what is authentic leadership?’ The theme ‘Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace and Prosperity’ of the International Leadership Association global conference (2018) of which I am a Chair of Program, directly draws on my research. Our book was shortlisted, from over 150, for University of San Diego’s prestigious Outstanding Leadership Book Award. The following review endorses our contribution: “This invaluable book will be a standard source for future work on authentic leadership...I doubt that anyone reading it will think of authentic leadership in the same way again an outcome that I warmly welcome”. Prof. Tourish, Royal Holloway

Top Journal articles

Henry, E., Newth, J., & Spiller, C. (2018). Emancipatory Indigenous social innovation: Shifting power through culture and technology. Journal of Management & Organization. 23:6 (2017), pp. 786–802. doi:10.1017/jmo.2017.64
This paper explores the emancipatory impulse of Indigenous social innovation and social enterprise. Indigenous approaches to solving social disparities reflect a perpetual search for innovative ways to change the circumstances of Māori. Power is an understudied dimension of social innovation and social enterprise. This paper explores the power dynamics that structure the disadvantage and marginalisation that cause populations to be underserved by markets and that limit their access to resources. We highlight that it is not power per se that enables social change: rather, it is power shifts. Through a single, richly contextualised case study of a well-known Māori social innovator, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, we reveal and illustrate the nuances of Indigenous entrepreneurship in the Far North of Aotearoa New Zealand. The case epitomises the transformative impact a social entrepreneur can have on the provision of healthcare amid market and policy failures.

Nicholson, A., Spiller, C., & Pio, E. (2017). Ambicultural Governance: Harmonizing Indigenous and Western Approaches. Journal of Management Inquiry, 1-17. doi:10.1177/1056492617707052 Currently ‘Ambicultural Governance: Harmonizing Indigenous and Western Approaches’ is the only Maori authored article to have appeared in ‘JMI’. We present a case study of a leading Māori organisation who, discontented with mainstream models, commissioned research from us with a view to having a process by which their Board would have an effective governance decision-making tool that took account of their commercial responsibilities as well as preserving their deep desire to be kaitiaki, stewards. Our article builds a theoretical and empirical bridge between Western and Indigenous business, and between communities and governance practice. The model we developed was informed by my earlier work on Five Well-beings, along with my (then) Hons student Amber Nicholson’s dissertation. The ‘Journal of Management Inquiry’ (JMI), published quarterly, is an A-tier journal for scholars and professionals in management, organisational behaviour, strategy, and human resources. 

Ladkin, D., Spiller, C., & Craze, G. (2016). Authenticity and Individuation: A Jungian Contribution to  Theorizing Authentic Leadership. Leadership. doi:10.1177/1742715016681942 In this article we conduct a rigorous critique of authentic leadership from a depth psychology perspective drawing on the work of Carl Jung. Catalysed by our book on authentic leadership, Donna and I address the neglect of the unconscious and its role in shaping one’s experience and behaviour. This oversight results in an unrealistic version of ‘authenticity’. Underpinned by Jung’s theory of individuation we offer an alternative orientation for those wishing to take up leading authentically.The ‘Leadership’ journal is an international peer-reviewed journal. It is the “leading scholarly journal in the field of researching leadership studies, at the cutting edge of the theory and practice of leadership and organization”. 

Spiller, C., Erakovic, L., Henare, M., & Pio, E. (2011). Relational Well-Being and Wealth: Māori Businesses and an Ethic of Care. Journal of Business Ethics, 98(1), 153-169.
The Five Wellbeings model of business presented in this paper informs industry training programmes in the areas of tourism and SMEs, governance and Diversity & Inclusion. T

Spiller, C., Pio, E., Erakovic, L., & Henare, M. (2011). Wise Up: Creating Organizational Wisdom Through an Ethic of Kaitiakitanga. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(2), 223-235.
This article is the second to be published in the Journal of Business Ethics (JBE). Organizations are searching for innovative business approaches that deliver profits and create shared value for all stakeholders. We show what can be learned from the relational wisdom approach of Indigenous Māori and reframe the prevailing economic argument that has seen companies profit and prosper at the expense of communities and ecologies. We develop an ethic of kaitiakitanga model premised on Māori values which holds the potential to enrich and further humanize our understanding of business.

Other Journal articles

Vu, M., Wolfgramm, R., & Spiller, C. (2018). Minding less: Exploring mindfulness and mindlessness in organizations through Skillful Means. Management Learning.

Spiller, C. (2016). Calling the Island to You: Becoming a Wayfinder Leader. University of Auckland Business Review, Spring, 27-35.

Wolfgramm, R., Spiller, C., & Voyageur, C. (2016.). Special issue: Indigenous leadership - Editors introduction. Leadership. doi: 10.1177/1742715016646930

Waddock, S., McIntosh, M., Ann Neal, J., Pio, E., & Spiller, C. (2016). Intellectual Shamans, Wayfinders, Edgewalkers and Systems Thinkers: Building a Future Where All Can Thrive. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2016(62), 5-10. doi:10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2016.ju.00003

Waddock, S., McIntosh, M., Ann Neal, J., Pio, E., & Spiller, C. (2016). Intellectual Shamans, Wayfinder Scholars and Edgewalkers: Working for System Change. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2016(62), 35-58. doi:10.9774/GLEAF.4700.2016.ju.00009

Spiller, C., & Lindsey, E. (2016). Good Vibrations: Mastering the Wayfinders’ Code for Leadership. International Leadership Association newsletter, (5), 15-18.

McIntosh, M., Waddock, S., Freeman, R. E., Spiller, C., & Pio, E. (2014). Evolution, Shamans, and Adaptation: What Is/Could Be the Role of Academics in System Change? A Workshop. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society, 25, 8-13. doi:10.5840/iabsproc2014253

Book Chapters

Spiller, C. (2018, in press). Māori Leadership in Governance: Truth-Seeking and Cultural Match. Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence on Māori governance, Special Issue.

Spiller, C., Mudford, M., & Wolfgramm, R. (2018, in press). Mana and the Existence of Leadership. In J. Marques (Ed), The Routledge Companion to Management and Workplace Spirituality. London: Routledge

Spiller, C. (2017). A Māori relational approach to building value chains in tourism: Navigator Tours. In M. Whitford, L. Ruhanen, & A. Carr (Eds.), Indigenous Tourism: Cases from Australia and New Zealand. Oxford, United Kingdom: Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

Spiller, C., & Nicholson, A. (2017). Wakatu Incorporation: Balancing Kaitiaki Stewardship and Commerce. In Sage Business Cases. SAGE Publications Ltd. doi:10.4135/9781473999039

Spiller, C., & Wolfgramm, R. (2015). Indigenous Spiritualities at Work: Editors' Preface. In C. Spiller, & R. Wolfgramm (Eds.), Indigenous Spiritualiities at Work: Transforming the Spirit of Enterprise (pp. x1-xix). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Spiller, C., & Wolfgramm, R. (2015). Integrating Indigenous Spiritualities at Work: Reflections and Future Directions. In C. Spiller, & R. Wolfgramm (Eds.), Indigenous spiritualties at work: Transforming the spirit of business enterprise. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Nicholson, A., Spiller, M., & Henare, M. A. (2015). Arohia te rangi o te hihiri: Heeding the melody of pure and potent energy. In C. Spiller, & R. Wolfgramm (Eds.), Indigenous Spiritualities at Work: Transforming the Spirit of Enterprise (pp. 273-298). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Spiller, C., & Bhowmick, S. (2014). Whale Watch Kaikoura -- New Zealand. In J. Hayton, C. Salvato, & M. Manimala (Eds.), Global entrepreneurship: Case studies of entrepreneurial firms operating around the world (1st ed.). New York: Routledge. Retrieved from

Ladkin, D., & Spiller, C. (2013). Introduction: authentic leadership: clashes, convergences and coalescences. In C. Spiller, & D. Ladkin (Eds.), Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences (pp. 1-18). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved from

Spiller, C., & Stockdale, M. (2013). Managing and leading from a Maori perspective: Bringing new life and energy to organisations. In J. Neal (Ed.), Handbook of faith and spirituality in the workplace: emerging research and practice (pp. 149-173). New York: Springer Publishing Company. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5233-1_11

Spiller, C. (2013). Relational wellbeing and wealth: Māori business and an ethic of care. In S. Katene, & M. Mulholland (Eds.), Future Challenges for Māori: He Korero Anamata. Wellington: Hiua Publishing.

Pio, E., Waddock, S., Mangaliso, M., McIntosh, M., Spiller, C., Takeda, H., . . . Syed, J. (2013). Pipeline to the Future: Seeking Wisdom in Indigenous, Eastern and Western Traditions. In J. Neal (Ed.), Handbook of faith and spirituality in the workplace: emerging research and practice (pp. 195-219). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Spiller, C. (2012). Wayfinding in Strategy Research. In C. L. Wang, D. J. Ketchen, & D. D. Bergh (Eds.), West Meets East: Building Theoretical Bridges (Vol. 8, pp. 61-90). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Insight. doi:10.1108/S1479-8387(2012)0000008006

Spiller, C. (2011). Tane’s journey to retrieve knowledge. In J. Marques, & S. Dhiman (Eds.), Stories to Tell Your Students: Transforming toward Organizational Growth. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Spiller, C. (2011). Powers of perception. In J. Marques, S. Dhiman, & J. Biberman (Eds.), Stories to Tell Your Students: Transforming toward Organizational Growth (pp. 120-121). New York: Palgrave-McMillan.

Spiller, C. (2009). Navigator Tours: Value chain innovation in Maori tourism. In University of Auckland Case Series (pp. 14 pages). Auckland: University of Auckland.

Spiller, C. (2007). Principles that help guide the actions of sustainable Māori cultural tourism businesses. In J. Hendry (Ed.), An Introduction to Social Anthropology: Other People's Worlds. Headington, UK: Oxford Brookes University

Spiller, C., & Erakovic, L. (2005). Flourishing on the Edge: Case Study of Whale Watch Kaikoura, an Indigenous Sustainable Business. In M. Wilson (Ed.), Case in Point: Best Cases from the 2005 International Conference on Case Study Teaching and Learning (pp. 219-240). Auckland, N.Z.: GSE Publications.

Recent Publications

  • Nicholson, A., Spiller, C., & Pio, E. (2019). Ambicultural Governance: Harmonizing Indigenous and Western Approaches. Journal of Management Inquiry, 28(1), 31-47. doi:10.1177/1056492617707052

  • Vu, M. C., Wolfgramm, R., & Spiller, C. (2018). Minding less: Exploring mindfulness and mindlessness in organizations through Skillful Means. Management Learning, 49(5), 578-594. doi:10.1177/1350507618794810

  • Ladkin, D., Spiller, C., & Craze, G. (2018). The journey of individuation: A Jungian alternative to the theory and practice of leading authentically. Leadership, 14(4), 415-434. doi:10.1177/1742715016681942

  • Henry, E., Newth, J., & Spiller, M. M. (2017). Emancipatory Indigenous social innovation: Shifting power through culture and technology. Journal of Management & Organization, 23(6), 786-802. doi:10.1017/jmo.2017.64

Find more research publications by Chellie Spiller