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date: 29 September 2023

Ethical Leadershiplocked

Ethical Leadershiplocked

  • Suzanne van GilsSuzanne van GilsBI Norwegian Business School
  •  and Niels van QuaquebekeNiels van QuaquebekeKühne Logistics University


Business scandals in the early 2000s gave renewed rise to the question of how companies can be led ethically. Correspondingly, research on ethical leadership focuses on leaders as moral persons—but even more so as moral managers. This focus came with a more general shift within many Western societies toward issues of sustainability, social justice, and well-being, and it has simultaneously given rise to the development of related constructs such as servant, respectful, and authentic leadership. In general, ethical leadership research has contributed to a necessary debate about leaders’ roles and responsibilities. Nonetheless, recent meta-analyses and critical reviews have criticized the minimal to nonexistent incremental value of the current operationalization of ethical leadership beyond other leadership concepts, underscored the philosophically all too simplistic notion of ethics underlying the concept, and highlighted its construct redundancy with the domain of follower-focused leadership. As such, there appear to be fruitful avenues for further honing the construct and its operationalization so that research can meaningfully inform leadership practice.


  • Organizational and Institutional Psychology

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