Authentic Leadership and Ethical Leadership

Assignment Sample on BMG744 Authentic Leadership and Ethical Leadership 


An ability to influence and drive an organization towards a common goal and in turn helping the team to reach its maximum potential is termed ‘leadership’. It is more of an intrinsic value and is present at variable ranges amidst different leaders (Rudolph et al. 2018). Efficiency in the portrayal of such ability highlights the presence of an able leader and a certain amount of ambiguity exists in the format of leadership portrayed.

Authentic leadership

A format that involves building the legitimacy of a leader through an honest and fruitful relationship with the subordinates is termed “Authentic leadership”. Generally, such individuals have an optimistic approach with authentic self-concepts to promote susceptibility and a greater sense of awareness exists in the ambience (Bakari et al. 2017). Truth and openness are the hallmarks of such a format of leadership and the promotion of such attributes add up to the legitimacy of the approach.

A portrayal of authentic leadership incorporates trust into the workforce and studies have suggested that trust over the company reduces with every step of the hierarchy. Authentic leaders are easier to connect with owing to their transparency and trustworthiness. When unethical decisions are taken, a cycle of disruption exists in the work culture, so greater ethical standards through leadership facilitate retention and a boost in productivity (Mira and Odeh, 2019). A higher level of trust is maintained in this structure of transparency where the vision and goals of a company are well defined. This indirectly feeds the relationship between the leader and workers and helps to maintain a consistent and rewarding structure (Gill et al. 2018).

A primary limitation of such a leadership format is infancy and due to the absence of a coherent theory, every other individual has a different way of explaining the ability. Therefore proper analysis of the outcome and its credibility is still under speculation. Also, when the values of a leader do not align with the values of a company or shareholders, they are left in a position of great contradiction (Zehir and Hamedan, 2020). They are left in a situation where they have to sacrifice their morality for the sales potential of the company in order to grow. Finally, leaders following such a format often get exposed to a lot of opinions and on the basis of that, they take executive decisions. Owing to such a long process of survey, the decision-making skills of the company is hindered.

One of the pristine examples of authentic leadership was the ability of Martin Luther King, Jr. to drive his team of Afro-American individuals through the Civil Rights movement. A great value portrayed through his act was the aspect of non-violence, which was never to be effected and accordingly never got disrupted. Such a developed sense of authenticity was developed through his non-violence movement which accounted for the ultimate goal of equality. His values ended up leaving a legacy that influenced the ventures of equality in future.

Ethical leadership

A form of leadership that promotes a demonstration of conduct in every aspect of life for the sake of common good is termed “Ethical leadership”. Ethics and values are made the salient features of this leadership agenda so that the message reaches every member of the existing structure (Engelbrecht et al. 2017). It is more of a theoretical concept that influences a leader to be fair, unbiased towards the process and decision making is mostly driven by values and motive.

Ethical leadership ensures that an organization runs in compliance with laws and regulations governing them and creates a healthy work culture. Such a format puts emphasis on being conscientious through vigilance and highlights their responsibility (Kim et al. 2018). The leaders take their position and responsibility as a critical aspect and keep them accountable for any disruption caused. Through such activities, a generic focus on empowerment is introduced which ensures a continual development cycle (Feng et al. 2019).  Ethical leadership is considerate about causing minimal harm and a sense of equality exists among the members. Through an effective format, the issues get reported at a regular interval and the possibility for it to be recognised gets faster.

On contrary, the set of advantages of following such a leadership scheme, a certain derogatory influence also exists for the organisation in consideration. A progressive ethical leadership often suffers from a lack of comprehensive support as the structure suggests every member to be on the same page. As a result, a single spec of unethical activity would lead to an avalanche of events. The approach needs clarity all the time and does not support the presence of any confusion so a sense of honesty and openness has to exist (Neves et al. 2018). Otherwise, members on the same page end up working differently without even realising. An ethical leadership format would require a compliance programme to spread its influence and such a programme ends up consuming a lot of money and time. Finally, an effective leadership programme depends on the influence of a leader, so it is a necessity to be charismatic and confident enough to pitch the visionary.

Owner of Microsoft, Bill Gates is an ethical leader himself owing to the fact that he expects the best out of his workforce and challenges them up to their capacities (Sites.psu, 2019). In compliance with his vision and approach, he considered every member of the organisation to be equally important and ended up making millions out of the higher management. His charitable activities have served as a stepping stone for most of the upcoming leaders of the 21st century and are termed “Kinder Capitalism”. A greater sense of responsibility is observed through his schemes of helping those who were not capable enough to benefit from his market force. This in turn illustrated his vision of spreading the wealth from the privileged to needful.

Comparison of Authentic and Ethical Leadership

Modern business environment has made it critical for leaders to focus on adjusting with new styles of leadership for addressing adversities faced by the businesses. According to Bowers et al. (2017) selection of an appropriate leadership style depends on the attributes possessed by a leader as well as the type of situation the person has to manage. As identified from the evaluation of authentic leadership and ethical leadership, the key differences between the two leadership styles are as follows. According to Hoch et al. (2018), authentic and ethical leadership when coupled with extensive transformational leadership, suggests low utility with relevance to specific outcomes. Hence, it is essential for leadership expertise to emphasise collaboration of both authenticity and ethical. Authentic leadership provides better relationships with employees and employers which increases the organisational performance by improving the cultural diversities.

Authentic leadership dictates the requirements of leaders which include increased level of engagement and prevalence of interpersonal attributes such as self reliability and awareness of the leaders. On a contradictory level, Bai et al. (2019) asserted that ethical leadership focuses on the ethical aspects of leaders and the morality factors of leaders such as justice, honesty. According to Engelbrecht et al. (2017), morality of leaders considers honesty, humane and value driven approach towards decision making. It has been identified that authentic leadership indulges leaders to pay attention towards the employee productivity and efficiency. This leadership style represents encouraging outcomes of an organisation. On the other hand, ethical leadership represents the possible responsibilities and ethics that should be implemented within organisations for constructive employee management.

Authentic leadership is known to promote self learning, understanding the positioning and methods of organisation and being self informative. On the same side, ethical leadership emphasises being informative about the organisational policies and benefits, building a prevalent employment system and ethics. According to Gill et al. (2018), authentic leadership has been seen to fail to be adopted sometimes because it requires various traits such as self awareness, transparent vision, consistency and good communication skills. On the contrary, it is easier for ethical leaders to fulfil their moral values through effective mitigation of ethical dilemmas and issues associated with operational execution. In essence to this, it can be inferred that authentic leaders are more about being practical while ethical leaders tend to be more theoretical in their approach.

The requirements of authentic leadership may have some difficulties to fulfil but this can enhance the spirit of teamwork and loyalty throughout the organisations. Chaudhary et al. (2018) stated that the purpose of authentic leadership is to create, process and achieve the vision of an organisation while ethical leadership is considered to inspect the vision and objectives are morally good for the whole community and organisation or not. Ethical leaders also examine the positive and negative aspects of organisational objectives and their ethical safety also.

Sometimes authentic leadership is being confused with pride which creates biases within leaders. This is a key reason for failing authentic leadership within an organisation. For instance this has been seen that sometimes the authentic leaders focus on their personal success which increases the failure rate of authentic leadership. On the other hand, according to Munro et al. (2018), one of the causes why ethical leadership fails is known as the inability to organise the positive and negative aspects of organisational vision. Another cause of ethical leadership failure is the unethical employees who tend to ignore the ethical perspectives.

The cultural, gender and racial discrimination are some foremost causes of ethical leadership failures. As per the views of Tang et al. (2017), disloyal employees increase the chance of failure which decreases organisational performance proportionally. The comparison between authentic leadership and ethical leadership examines the positive and negative factors of these leaderships and the causes of failure in implementing these leaderships within modern organisational performance.


As per the distinctive aspects of authentic leadership and ethical leadership this can be concluded that authentic leadership style is more appropriate for the global changing trade environment. Moreover, the basic difference between these two leaderships is known as authentic leadership is considered as practical leadership and ethics leadership is considered as theoretical leadership. The comparison between authentic leadership and ethical leadership examines the positive and negative factors of these leaderships and the causes of failure in implementing these leaderships within modern organisational performance. Authentic leadership promotes respectful organisational performance which satisfies the employee demands along with organisational performance. Implementation of authentic leadership can improve the self utilisation skills and interaction skills. Therefore, it can be proposed that an authentic leadership model would help the organisations to adjust with the frequent changes within the modern business environment.

Reference list

Bai, Y., Lin, L. and Liu, J.T., (2019). Leveraging the employee voice: a multi-level social learning perspective of ethical leadership. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(12), pp.1869-1901.

Bakari, H., Hunjra, A.I. and Niazi, G.S.K., (2017). How does authentic leadership influence planned organizational change? The role of employees’ perceptions: Integration of theory of planned behavior and Lewin’s three step model. Journal of Change Management, 17(2), pp.155-187.

Bowers, M.R., Hall, J.R. and Srinivasan, M.M., (2017). Organizational culture and leadership style: The missing combination for selecting the right leader for effective crisis management. Business Horizons, 60(4), pp.551-563.

Chaudhary, R. and Panda, C., (2018). Authentic leadership and creativity. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management. 27(4), pp.305-317.

Engelbrecht, A.S., Heine, G. and Mahembe, B., (2017). Integrity, ethical leadership, trust and work engagement. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

Gill, C., Gardner, W., Claeys, J. and Vangronsvelt, K., (2018). Using theory on authentic leadership to build a strong human resource management system. Human Resource Management Review, 28(3), pp.304-318.

Hoch, J.E., Bommer, W.H., Dulebohn, J.H. and Wu, D., (2018). Do ethical, authentic, and servant leadership explain variance above and beyond transformational leadership? A meta-analysis. Journal of Management, 44(2), pp.501-529.

Kim, M.S. and Thapa, B., (2018). Relationship of ethical leadership, corporate social responsibility and organizational performance. Sustainability, 10(2), p.447.

Mira, M. and Odeh, K., (2019). The mediating role of authentic leadership between the relationship of employee training and employee performance. Management Science Letters, 9(3), pp.381-388.

Munro, I. and Thanem, T., (2018). The ethics of affective leadership: Organizing good encounters without leaders. Business Ethics Quarterly, 28(1), pp.51-69.

Neves, P., Almeida, P. and Velez, M.J., (2018). Reducing intentions to resist future change: Combined effects of commitment‐based HR practices and ethical leadership. Human Resource Management, 57(1), pp.249-261

Rudolph, C.W., Rauvola, R.S. and Zacher, H., (2018). Leadership and generations at work: A critical review. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(1), pp.44-57 (2019).  Microsoft’s Shift in Ethical Leadership Available at [Accessed on 24th January 2020]

Tang, S., Morewedge, C.K., Larrick, R.P. and Klein, J.G., (2017). Disloyalty aversion: Greater reluctance to bet against close others than the self. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 140, pp.1-13.

Zehir, C. and Hemedan, I., (2020). Mediating role of learning capability in the relationship between authentic leadership and business performance. Bussecon Review of Social Sciences (2687-2285), 2(1), pp.01-12.

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