‘Getting beneath the skin’: A tok stori approach to reviewing the literature of leadership in Solomon Islands, Tonga and Marshall Islands

Kabini Sanga, Seu'ula Johansson-Fua, Martyn Reynolds, David Fa'avae, Richard Robyns, Danny Jim


A literature review is generally a compendium of written material on a topic presented as research background. It functions to describe what is known in academic circles and to justify research questions that step beyond the known. A more nuanced approach of the known involves getting “beneath the skin” of the literature itself; considering the fabric of the literature; what worldviews are evident, the questions that started inquiry, and the usefulness to communities of the knowledge gained. In this article, we discuss the place of the literature review by going beyond a compendium approach. We offer summaries of literature from the Pacific Island Countries of Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Marshall Islands as background to a research effort on leadership indigenous to the Pacific region, before getting beneath the skin of our reading. We augment our approach by imagining a conference tok stori discussion of Pacific leadership literature as a form of literature itself. This acts to re-value real-time discursive exploration and erodes the boundaries between the written and oral. Our aim is to investigate a more open and inclusive research space that honours Pacific-origin processes so that our research contribution can be increasingly permeated by Pacific values, wisdom and perspectives.


Orality; tok stori;pacific education; leadership

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