Symposium organizer: "The Emergence, Development and Decline of Moral Leadership"

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic


With the downfall of Lehman Brothers and conspicuous cases of corruption in corporations such as Volkswagen, and more recently the world-wide exposure of tax evasion via Luxleaks and the Panama Papers, the precariousness of organizational morality is being prominently displayed in the public domain. In the face of such moral precariousness, we often look to moral (which encompasses “ethical”) leaders in the hope that they will stand up as guardians of the organization’s core values and as proponents of an organization’s social performance in a wider, multi-stakeholder context. Leaders developing a “moral muscle” will contribute to a more systematic inclusion of the ethical component in business decisions. However, the “muscle” metaphor signals a temporal component, namely something which takes practice and training, or may weaken over time in the absence of training. Moral leadership can thus, also be seen as a dynamic concept, which emerges at some point, takes time and effort to develop, but may also decline over time in response to environmental pressures (e.g., decline in an organization’s resources, or cooptation pressures from powerful institutional bodies).
The inclusion of time and process-thinking in the study of the leadership phenomenon in general is relatively uncommon. Over the years to this date, leadership scholars have come up with over 66 different approaches to leadership and have developed many different “gestalts” (or types) of leadership in order to come to grips with the complexity of the leadership process. Yet only a few of them focus on leadership that unfolds as a process over time. When viewed as a process, leadership is not seen as a person, nor merely as an attribution from followers, but a set of occurrences or an episode where a person, or a set of persons, become(s) a focal point of influence in order to address an issue a group is facing at that moment. The papers included in this presenter symposium each honor this ‘processual’ notion of moral leadership in different ways, either emphasizing its emergence (presentation #1), its development (presentation2 #2-3), and decline (presentation #4).
Period13 Aug 2019
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational