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Michael Lindsay speaking at an event

Writings & Research


President Lindsay studies leadership and the social dynamics of organizational life, and how they relate to American society. His long-range research agenda closely examines the role leaders play in wider society and how social, personal and moral dynamics influence their leadership and public life.

Hinge Moments Cover
Hinge Moments

Released in 2021, Hinge Moments outlines the contours of change and transition in our lives and how we can learn from others to make the most of every opportunity. Decisions such as choosing a college, finding the one you want to marry, changing careers, responding to health crises, and personal losses provide inflection points in our life that can shape our trajectory for years to come. In Hinge Moments, Lindsay shares wisdom learned from the successes and failures of 550 leaders from his 10-year study, and how the right approach in embarking on these moments can have a positive impact for individuals and the communities where the live and serve.

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View from the Top Cover
View from the Top

Lindsay conducted the largest interview-based study of leadership in American history, creating a wealth of insights from 550 leaders in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. As part of this research, he logged 400,000 miles and gathered thousands of pages of data to better understand what makes for great and lasting leadership. The broad nature of this research is summarized in View from the Top, published by Wiley, to critical acclaim. This larger project incorporates insights from his multi-year study on the White House Fellows Program, which has provided the intellectual capital for his approach to leadership development at Gordon and now at Taylor.

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Faith in the Halls of Power Cover
Faith in the Halls of Power

Faith in the Halls of Power examines American evangelicalism’s rise in four arenas of influence: politics and government; business and corporate life; arts, entertainment, and the media; and higher education. This influential work includes interviews with two former Presidents of the United States; Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staffers; presidents, CEOs or senior executives at large firms (both public and private); accomplished Hollywood professionals; leaders from the world of professional athletics; and leaders from the worlds of philanthropy and the arts. The work is regarded as groundbreaking in its access and scope of understanding of American evangelicalism at the leadership level.

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Scholarly Papers

President Lindsay is an accomplished scholar as well as a gifted leader. Reflecting his liberal arts approach to academic life, his work has been published in the leading scholarly journals of three academic areas—his home discipline of sociology as well as religion and American studies. His scholarly work has addressed a wide array of topics that are deeply applicable today, including organizational behavior, evangelicalism, and power.

  • Lindsay, D. Michael, Ariela Schachter, Jeremy Porter, and David Sorge, 2014. “Parvenus and Diversity in Elite Cohorts:  The Chemistry of Conflict.” Social Science Research 47:148-64.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2011. “U.S. Military and the White House Fellowship: Contact in Shaping Elite Attitudes.” Annual Review of Political and Military Sociology 38: 53–76.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2010. “Organizational Liminality and Interstitial Creativity: The Fellowship of Power.” Social Forces 89: 163–184.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, and Bradley C. Smith, 2010. “Accounting by Faith: The Negotiated Logic of Elite Evangelicals’ Workplace Decision-making.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 78: 721–749.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, and Robert Wuthnow, 2010. “Financing Faith: Religion and Strategic Philanthropy.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49: 87–111.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2009. “A Mighty Fortress: Religious Commitment and Leading for the Common Good.” Journal of Religious Leadership 8: 35–56.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2008. “Evangelicals in the Power Elite: Elite Cohesion Advancing A Movement.” American Sociological Review 73: 60–82. [Distinguished Article Award, 2008, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion; Reprinted in Sociology of Religion: A Reader 2nd edition, edited by Susanne Monahan, William Mirola, and Michael Emerson. New York: Pearson Education, 2010.]
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2008. “Mind the Gap: Religion and the Crucible of Marginality in the United States and Great Britain.” The Sociological Quarterly 49: 653–88.
  • Hackett, Conrad, and D. Michael Lindsay, 2008. “Measuring Evangelicalism: Consequences of Different Operationalization Strategies.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47: 499–514.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2007. “Ties that Bind and Divisions that Persist: Evangelical Faith and the Political Spectrum.” American Quarterly 59: 883–909.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2007. “Evangelical Elites in the U.S. Military.” The Journal of Political and Military Sociology 35(2): 1–16. [Lead article]
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2006. “Is the National Prayer Breakfast Surrounded by a ‘Christian Mafia’? Religious Publicity and Secrecy Within the Corridors of Power.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 74: 390–419.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2006. “Elite Power: Social Networks Within American Evangelicalism.” Sociology of Religion 67: 207–227.

Lindsay has also written scholarly essays in edited volumes, including the following:

  • Wuthnow, Robert, and D. Michael Lindsay, 2010. “The Roles of Foundations in American Religion” in American Foundations: Roles and Contributions edited by Helmut Anheier and David C. Hammack. Washington: Brookings. pp 305–27.
  • Lindsay, D. Michael, 2009. “Politics as the Construction of Relations: Religious Identity and Political Expression” in Evangelicals and Democracy in America edited by Steven Brint and Jean Reith Schroedel. New York: Russell Sage. pp 305–30.