The Latest in Leadership Research News!

This is where we avoid the critique and just post interesting and up to date leadership research news from around the world. This is basically what we're reading, so you can keep up as we do!


Someone to Look Up To Executive-Follower Ethical Reasoning and Perceptions of Ethical Leadership

Despite a business environment that highlights the importance of executives' ethical leadership, the individual antecedents of ethical leadership remain largely unknown. In this study, the authors propose that follower perceptions of ethical leadership depend on the executive leader's cognitive moral development (CMD) and, more importantly, on the relationship between executive leader and follower CMD. In a sample of 143 leader-follower dyads, the authors find a direct positive relationship between leader CMD and perceptions of ethical leadership. Using polynomial regression, they find that ethical leadership is maximized when the leader's CMD diverges from and is greater than the follower's CMD. The authors explain these findings using a social learning theory framework. Leaders who are more advanced ethical reasoners relative to their followers are likely to stand out as salient ethical role models whose ethics-related communication and behavior attract followers' attention. The authors discuss the research and practical implications of these findings.


Pathologizing the Healthy But Ineffective Some Ethical Reflections on Using Neuroscience in Leadership Research

A number of studies seek to integrate leadership research with the field of neuroscience, arguing that neuroscience can aid scholars and practitioners to identify and develop leaders with what I refer to as socially desirable brain characteristics, whereas those leaders not equipped with such characteristics can be subjected to interventions based on neuroscientific principles or methods. Scrutinizing an emerging body of research, I argue that many leadership scholars and practitioners overlook the wider ethical implications of neuroscientific approaches to identifying and developing effective leaders. Given the mounting interest in the topic, I also outline a number of useful sources and debates to better respond ethically to the use of neuroscience in leadership research.

A Critical Assessment of Charismatic-Transformational Leadership Research: Back to the Drawing Board?

There is a widely shared consensus that charismatic-transformational leadership is a particularly effective form of leadership. In a critical assessment of the state-of-the-science in this area of research, we question the validity of that conclusion. We identify four problems with theory and research in charismatic-transformational leadership. First, a clear conceptual definition of charismatic-transformational leadership is lacking. Current theories advance multi-dimensional conceptualizations of charismatic-transformational leadership without specifying how these different dimensions combine to form charismatic-transformational leadership, or how dimensions are selected for inclusion or exclusion. Second, theories fail to sufficiently specify the causal model capturing how each dimension has a distinct influence on mediating processes and outcomes and how this is contingent on moderating influences. Third, conceptualization and operationalization confounds charismatic-transformational leadership with its effects. Fourth, the most frequently used measurement tools are invalid in that they fail to reproduce the dimensional structure specified by theory and fail to achieve empirical distinctiveness from other aspects of leadership. Given that these problems are fundamental and inherent in the approaches analyzed, it is recommended that current approaches be abandoned, and that the field forego the label of charismatic-transformational leadership in favor of the study of more clearly defined and empirically distinct aspects of leadership.