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Joseph's Calling to Leadership


 Author: Valerie L. Myers, Ph.D., Copyrights 1999, 2011, 2013, 2021


It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. 
-Robert W. Service


"Joseph's Calling to Leadership" reveals ancient wisdom for modern organizations. Drawing upon insights from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and historical data, this case traces the trajectory of one person’s calling to leadership. It also encourages reflection about seemingly small factors that undermine leader effectiveness and how to overcome them.


Along Joseph's path, he meets an array of other leaders that influence his professional development.  But the case is about more than leadership.

The variety of workplace scenarios invite in-depth exploration of every major topic in organizational behavior (e.g., leadership, team dynamics, work culture). It illuminates topics that are vital to living one's calling, and the implications for individuals, organizations, and society.


Format:  This case can be taught in one session that focuses on a single topic focus OR it can serve as a comprehensive capstone course that is taught over 6, 8 or 12 sessions. 

The Power of a Calling

Insights from Joseph's Journey

Enjoy this inspection copy of an earlier version of this case (2011/2013,) which Dr. Myers wrote as a companion to her book "Conversations About Calling: Advancing Management Perspectives." 


The 10th Anniversary version of this case is now available, entitled "Joseph's Calling to Leadership.

Suitable for non-religious and religious audiences of all faiths.


Business Concepts in the Case


  • National Culture & Institutionalized Bias

  • Leadership Skills & Sensibilities

  • Organizational Culture & Subcultures

  • Learning & Effectiveness

  • Innovation 

  • Crisis Management

  • Change Management

  • Ethical Decision-making

  • Policies: Recruitment, Hiring & Retention, Religious Accomodation

  • Social Responsibility & Stewardship


  • Talent Development

  • Social Learning

  • Status, Power and Privilege

  • Dysfunctional Teams

  • Team-building

  • Mentoring

  • Positive Regard

  • Diversity & Inclusion (all types)

    • Insiders/Outsiders

    • Allies, Mentoring & Sponsorship

    • Positive & Negative Deviants

    • Developing A & B Players

    • Age, Occupation, Gender, Nationality, Religion


  • Personality, Passions

  • Vision & Goals

  • Character Strengths

  • Work Ethic

  • Coping Skills

  • Jobs

  • Career

  • Volunteer Service

  • Hobbies

  • Work/Life Balance


I have facilitated this case with a variety of audiences including seasoned leaders, professionals, young adults, established adults, adults in transition, and special populations.  Different topics are emphasized depending upon the audience (e.g., career development for youth or leadership for professionals).

  • Executives & Established Adults - People from various disciplines (e.g., MBAs, Engineering, Information Technology, Hospital Administra­tion, Health Sciences and Social Work) have participated in seminars. In the university classroom, we do not discuss religious faith, but focus instead on core concepts that are germane to leading any modern organization, including religious tolerance (see above).


  • Religious & Non-Religious Since this case is about human nature, its lessons resonate with people of various faiths, people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious, and atheists. Most people are surprised by this story's practical relevance for today's business challenges. The content is customizable to explicitly emphasize con­nections between faith and work, and to facili­tate cross-cultural dialogue and enhance interfaith understanding.  Or it can be taught without any discussion of religion.

  • Onboarding & Emerging Adults - Themes such as gifts and talents, character building, coping with career detours, and cultivating a culture of quality are discussed. 

This suite of business cases complements the theory in my book "Conversations About Calling"

Note* The original case and teaching note "Calling and Talent Development: Not Your Average Working Joe" were published in 2011. This revised case was released after the publication of Myers book, "Conversations About Calling: Advancing Management Perspectives."  

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