Radical Authentic Leadership: Co-creating the conditions under which all members of the organization can be authentic

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Radical Authentic Leadership: Co-creating the conditions under which all members of the organization can be authentic
The Leadership Quarterly

Recently, in response to ethical challenges and loss of meaning within business, leadership theory and research has seen a proliferation of literature on ‘Authentic Leadership’. In this paper we argue that Authentic Leadership (AL), in the way it is currently theorized, is in danger of not reaching its stated objectives. We systematically address the “paradoxes” and shortcomings in current theory and suggest an extended focus of study. To do so, we draw on four existential authenticity themes: 1) inauthenticity is inevitable; 2) authenticity requires creating one's own meaning; 3) authenticity does not imply goal and value congruence, 4) authenticity is not intrinsically ethical. We systematically pursue the implications of these themes for the future development of Authentic Leadership theory and propose a more radical form of AL in which the focus of study shifts from the individual leader to understanding the conditions under which all members of the organization behave authentically. We suggest this is more likely to achieve the objectives of Authentic Leadership theory.

Citation: 
The Leadership Quarterly Volume 23, Issue 1, February 2012, Pages 118–131

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