Looking forward but learning from our past: Potential challenges to developing authentic leadership theory and authentic leaders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

166 Scopus citations


Recently researchers have introduced a new leadership construct, referred to as authentic leadership. There has been considerable interest in this new area of study. Scholars conducting work on authentic leadership believe that the recent upswing in corporate scandals and management malfeasance indicate that a new perspective on leadership is necessary. In order to address these negative societal trends, proponents of authentic leadership take a very normative approach, placing a strong emphasis on the creation of interventions to facilitate the development of authenticity. We concur with the basic tenets of this initiative. However, in this article, we note that it is premature to focus on designing interventions to develop authentic leaders before taking further steps in defining, measuring, and rigorously researching this construct. We draw attention to these issues with the hope of insuring that any development initiatives that are implemented are practical and effective for leaders and organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-493
Number of pages19
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005



  • Authentic leadership
  • Construct development
  • Ethics
  • Leadership development
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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