The emergence of moral leadership

O.N. Solinger, Paul Jansen, J.P. Cornelissen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The emergence of moral leadership, discussed here as a situation where individuals take a moral stance on an issue, convince others to do the same and together spur change in a moral system, abounds in practice. Existing ethical and moral leadership theories, however, have remained confined to micro-level behavioral research. We therefore develop a process theory of the socially situated emergence of moral leadership and its development into a broader movement affecting moral systems within and across formal organizations. We theorize the pathways through which moral leadership emerges; the triggers that bring about moral awareness and the moral courage to offer an alternative moral stance toward an issue, and leaders’ ability to deftly connect followers and their moral convictions into a broader movement, such that a moral system changes from within. With our process theory, we bridge between micro and macro levels of analysis, and highlight the crucial ability of leaders to be both principled and pragmatically savvy, thus bridging between their own moral convictions and those of others in order to develop a common and mutually binding ground towards change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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Behavioral research
Macros

Keywords

  • Leadership, morality, institutional theory, framing, social change, process

Cite this

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The emergence of moral leadership. / Solinger, O.N.; Jansen, Paul; Cornelissen, J.P.

In: Academy of Management Review, 2020.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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