The purpose of this paper is (1) to identify critical issues in the current literature on ethical leadership — i.e. the conceptual vagueness of the construct itself and the focus on a Western-based perspective; and (2) to address these issues and recent calls formore collaboration between normative and empirical-descriptive inquiry of ethical phenomena by developing an interdisciplinary integrative approach to ethical leadership. Based on the analysis of similarities between Western and Eastern moral philosophy and ethics principles of the world religions the present approach identifies four essential normative reference points of ethical leadership— the four central ethical orientations: (1) humane orientation (2) justice orientation (3) responsibility and sustainability orientation and (4) moderation orientation. Research propositions on predictors and consequences of leader expressions of the four central orientations are offered. Real cases of ethical leadership choices derived from in-depth interviews with international leaders illustrate how the central orientations play out in managerial practice.
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