Moral antecedents of authentic leadership: Do moral justice reasoning, self-importance of moral identity and psychological hardiness stimulate authentic leadership?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The aim of the present study is to explore intra-psychological moral processes as potential antecedents of authentic leadership (AL) behavior, and as such add to the scarce knowledge about underlying moral processes involved in the execution of such leadership. In a sample of Norwegian naval officer cadets (N = 139), mature principled moral reasoning, self-importance of moral identity (i.e. importance of being a moral person) and mental resilience in terms of hardiness are used as predictor variables, and peer ratings of AL was outcome measure. A step-wise hierarchical regression analysis showed that mature moral reasoning and internalized moral identity explained 17% of the variance in AL at composite level. At dimension-levels of AL, models explaining 15% of the variation in “transparency” (i.e. open about thoughts and feelings) and 16% of “internalized moral perspective” (i.e. moral integrity) emerged, with mature moral reasoning, internalized—and symbolized moral identity as significant predictors. For the AL dimensions “balanced processing” (i.e. activating critical voices) and “self-awareness”, 8 and 10% of variance was explained, respectively, with mature moral reasoning and internalized moral identity as only significant predictors. Unexpectedly, psychological hardiness was unrelated to all dimensions of AL. Thus, the study suggests that mature moral reasoning and moral motivation represent important aims for leader development among emergency leaders, and as criteria for leader selection. It also suggests that AL encompasses a genuine morals orientation, conversely to a manipulative approach.
CopyrightCopyright 2017 The Author(s)
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