Putting the leader back into authentic leadership
Increasingly poor and unethical decision-making on the part of leaders across the globe, such as the recent Australian cricket ball tampering scandal, pose a significant challenge for society and for organisations.
Authentic leadership development is one strategy that has been positioned as an antidote to unethical leadership behaviours. However, despite growing interest in authentic leadership, the construct still embodies several criticisms including conceptual clarity; leader-centricity; bias towards the person, not the leader; philosophical ambiguity; and demographic challenges. Each of these criticisms will be explored in depth to inform a re-conceptualisation of the authentic leader construct, comprising indicators of awareness, sincerity, balanced processing, positive moral perspective and informal influence. Importantly, this revised conceptualisation considers how researchers can conceptually distinguish between authentic leaders, followers and individuals.
To conclude, the authors propose a research agenda for authentic leaders, encouraging the pursuit of further construct clarity, including the development of rigorous authentic leader behaviour measures, expanding the psychometric profile of the authentic leader construct, increasing the focus on authentic followers and enhancing leader development programmes.
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Crawford, Joseph A., Dawkins, Sarah, Martin, Angela and Lewis, Gemma. 2020. Putting the leader back into authentic leadership: Reconceptualising and rethinking leaders.