The Ethics of Authentic Leadership: A Heideggerian Perspective

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In the shadow of various business scandals and societal crises, practitioners take growing interest in authentic leadership (AL), and a stream of research developed on this basis. AL puts personal ethics centre stage and these constitute the basis from which to act, with the view to be both ethically responsible and successful in business. Critics of AL raise concerns about defining assumptions in AL, notably that leaders may access and leverage their ‘true selves’ and ‘core values’, and that this compound constitutes the grounds from which to lead and benefit others. Drawing on Heidegger, we argue that authenticity can ground a leadership ethics, yet not grounded in unwavering personal values but instead understood as a attunement to the unfounded openness of existence and to the relational dimension of ethics. We argue that when experiencing a rupture in their work life and facing anxiety, i.e., encountering the prospect of ‘leadership death’, leaders have an opportunity to reconsider who they want to be and how they want to act. We thus propose an existentialist ethics-as-practice approach where leaders relate to the situations at hand by practicing a being ‘attuned to attunement’ and cultivating an openness to otherness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023: Putting the Worker Front and Center - Boston, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20238 Aug 2023
Conference number: 83


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings

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