Self-awareness: comparative research on viewpoints of “Avolio and Gardner” and “Allamah Tabatabaie”

Recent research on leadership has proven that self-awareness is an important factor influencing leadership. Having used an empirical research methodology, Avolio and Gardner espoused a comprehensive definition of self-awareness; they like other positivists, in general, assume empirical science to be the only valid scientific method for the study of self-awareness. Despite positivists’ beliefs and assumptions (ontology and epistemology) that science is a value-free enterprise, Avolio and Gardner consider morals and ethics as foundational resources for achieving self-awareness, thereby injecting values into studies of self-awareness. In our opinion, although Avolio and Gardner endeavored to explain self-awareness comprehensively, using strictly empirical approaches, they nevertheless could not come up with a comprehensive explanation. This article aims to study, analyze and critique Avolio and Gardner’s perspectives, and the epistemology and methodology that have lead to their conclusions. By referring to the ontology, epistemology and methodology of Allamah Tabatabaie, this article critiques Avolio and Gardner’s epistemological and methodological approaches. According to Allamah Tabatabaie reaching self-awareness requires a type of knowledge beyond empirical scientific approaches currently popular in the west. Allamah Tabatabaie believes self-awareness requires both knowledge-through presence2 and acquired knowledge. These two forms of knowledge must be guided, directed and supported through the four foundational beliefs of the Abrahamic faiths presented within this paper. The four foundational beliefs are necessary for initiating and continuing knowledge creation and gain, so as to prevent these activities from being misled by human caprice and entering into a realm of imagination and wishful thinking
Leadership; Acquired knowledge; Knowledge-through-presence.

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