Authentic Leadership : Getting back to the roots of the 'root construct'?

Iszatt-White, Marian and Kempster, Stephen John (2019) Authentic Leadership : Getting back to the roots of the 'root construct'? International Journal of Management Reviews, 21. pp. 356-369. ISSN 1460-8545

[thumbnail of IJMR_authentic_leadership_AAM]
PDF (IJMR_authentic_leadership_AAM)
IJMR_authentic_leadership_AAM.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (603kB)


In their 2011 review paper Gardner et al concluded that the Authentic Leadership (AL) construct was still in the first stage of evolution, that of concept introduction and evaluation. At that time, the field was characterized by two types of contribution: conceptual expositions and largely quantitative research seeking to map out its antecedents and consequences, moderators and mediators. The current review aims to: 1) critically evaluate the development of the AL construct to the present time; and 2) taking this evaluation as a point of departure, propose the need for a radical re-grounding of our understanding of AL aimed at countering what we believe to be the substantive flaws in both its philosophical underpinnings and empirical grounding. We propose that these shortcomings have arisen due to the failure of existential and other critiques of the dominant (normative and functionalist) discourse of AL to gain traction, and due to an absence of practice-based, qualitative research. As a strategic platform for the potential re-grounding and relaunch of AL we propose a radical return to the existential and practice roots of authenticity as the basis for a broader understanding of ‘authentic leadership’ as a ‘central organizing principle’ in leadership studies. Despite the flaws identified in the AL construct, we suggest that the notion of authenticity may still have a valuable role to play in the study of leadership: that role, however, can only be determined through a thorough understanding of authentic leadership as a practice-based phenomenon.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Management Reviews
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Iszatt‐White, M. and Kempster, S. (2019), Authentic Leadership: Getting Back to the Roots of the ‘Root Construct’?. International Journal of Management Reviews, 21: 356-369. doi:10.1111/ijmr.12193 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? strategy and managementdecision sciences(all)management of technology and innovation ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
24 Sep 2018 15:24
Last Modified:
10 Nov 2023 00:22