Personal authentic leadership : an exploration of what it is and the inherent complexities with regard to its development and mastery

Backstrom, Brenden Fritz (2014-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


This discourse was sanctioned by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in pursuit of the MBA and is a theoretical exploration of personal authentic leadership, its development and associated constructs. The author endeavoured to describe current thinking on the emerging field of research as well as to raise pressing questions and concerns with respect to the measurement of authentic leadership as a finite quantifiable construct. This was done within the context of a theme, which is inherently subjective and dynamic in nature. The author began by examining some of the organisational and environmental considerations that may have triggered an interest in studying and defining the construct and its associated concepts. An overview was then provided of its content, including the diverse theoretical and methodical perspectives presented, followed by a discourse on the alternate conceptual foundations and definitions that constitute authenticity, authentic leadership, authentic leaders and authentic leadership development. A detailed account of the various components of authentic leadership follows. The similarities and defining features of authentic leadership theory in comparison with transformational, charismatic, servant and spiritual leadership perspectives were subsequently examined. The writer then developed the theme of adult learning and its pertinence within the context of authentic leadership development and this literature was also developed as a philosophical construct. In closing, he discussed the status of authentic leadership theory with respect to its purpose; construct definitions, consideration of context, relational/procedural focus, along with promising directions for possible future research to augment the current body of knowledge on authenticity within the context of leadership and its development.

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