Authenticating the Leader: Why Bill George Believes That a Moral Compass Would Have Kept Jeffrey Skilling Out of Jail

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In the wake of a series of corporate scandals, there has been a growing call for authentic leadership in order to ensure ethical conduct in contemporary organizations. Authentic leadership, however, depends upon the ability to draw a distinction between the authentic and inauthentic leader. This paper uses Deleuze’s discussion of Platonism as a point of departure for critically scrutinizing the problem of authenticating the leader - drawing a distinction between authentic and inauthentic leaders. This will be done through a reading of Bill George’s book Authentic Leadership. Informed by Deleuze’s inverted Platonism, the paper challenges the practice by which authentic leaders are distinguished from inauthentic leaders. In conclusion, the paper suggests that an adequate concept of authentic leadership should consider how ethics can occur when the authentic leader is able to critically reflect his or her own value-commitments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 27. November 2015

Cite this