Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Taking Stock of Moral Approaches to Leadership: An Integrative Review of Ethical, Authentic, and Servant Leadership

FIGURE 2G. James Lemoine, Chad A. Hartnell,
and Hannes Leroy
Academy of Management AnnalsVol. 13, No. 1
Published Online:16 Jan 2019


Moral forms of leadership such as ethical, authentic, and servant leadership have seen a surge of interest in the 21st century. The proliferation of morally based leadership approaches has resulted in theoretical confusion and empirical overlap that mirror substantive concerns within the larger leadership domain. Our integrative review of this literature reveals connections with moral philosophy that provide a useful framework to better differentiate the specific moral content (i.e., deontology, virtue ethics, and consequentialism) that undergirds ethical, authentic, and servant leadership, respectively. Taken together, this integrative review clarifies points of integration and differentiation among moral approaches to leadership and delineates avenues for future research that promise to build complementary rather than redundant knowledge regarding how moral approaches to leadership inform the broader leadership domain.

From the Conclusion section

Although morality’s usefulness in the leadership domain has often been questioned (e.g., Mumford & Fried, 2014), our comparative review of the three dominant moral approaches (i.e., ethical, authentic, and servant leadership) clearly indicates that moral leadership behaviors positively impact a host of desirable organizationally relevant outcomes. This conclusion counters old critiques that issues of morality in leadership are unimportant (e.g., England & Lee, 1974; Rost, 1991; Thompson, 1956). To the contrary, moral forms of leadership have much potential to explain leadership’s influence in a manner substantially distinct from classical forms of leadership such as task-oriented, relationship-oriented, and change-oriented leadership (DeRue, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey, 2011; Yukl, Gordon, & Taber, 2002).