A Review of the Leadership Literature

Mick Fryer

in Ethics and Organizational Leadership

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199590186
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724947 | DOI:
A Review of the Leadership Literature

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This chapter is structured around two ethical challenges presented by leadership: how to assess the moral desirability of the outcomes towards which leaders lead; and leadership's inherently impositional connotations. The extent to which various leadership commentaries exacerbate or respond to these concerns is considered. It is suggested that each of these moral challenges is two-sided, so that meeting challenges that are offered from one direction opens us up to challenges that are launched from the other direction. The limitations of altruism as a basis for ethicality are noted. The ethical reassurance offered by leadership's consensual, democratic, and benevolent ramifications is also considered. It is suggested that these deliver only a partial vindication of leadership's impositional overtones. The chapter ends by relating various theoretical approaches to leadership ethics to broader currents within organization and management studies.

Keywords: agenda; agency; altruism; benevolence; consensus; critical; democracy; imposition; managerialism

Chapter.  9804 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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