The principled leadership scale : an integration of value-based leadership

Hendrikz, Karen ; Engelbrecht, Amos S. (2019)

CITATION: Hendrikz, K. & Engelbrecht, A. S. 2017. The principled leadership scale : an integration of value-based leadership. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology / SA Tydskrif vir Bedryfsielkunde, 45:a1553, doi:10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1553.

The original publication is available at

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


Orientation: A need exists to investigate leader behaviour necessary to curb the corruption that has infected and weakened South Africa’s moral fibre. Such leader behaviour would need to be underpinned by a set of universal moral values. Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop a new measure, the principled leadership scale (PLS), by integrating the value-based behaviours inherent in transformational, servant, authentic and ethical leadership. Motivation for the study: Leader behaviour intrinsic to value-based leadership was found to be closely aligned with universal moral values. Because the study found a considerable overlap between the behaviours mentioned in the value-based leadership theories, it sought to integrate these behaviours under one construct and to develop a reliable and valid scale to assess this construct. Research approach/design and method: Data from the quantitative study were analysed by means of item analysis, exploratory and confirmatory bi-factor analysis conducted via structural equation modelling. Main findings: The confirmatory bi-factor solution corroborated a strong general principled leadership factor and four moderately weak group factors. The statistical analyses provided good fit of the PLS measurement model with the empirical data. Practical and managerial implications: The study found acceptable measurement properties of the PLS that may be used for applications, such as the selecting, training and developing of ethical leadership in organisations. Contribution/value-add: The study adds value in that it is the first to integrate the four value-based leadership theories under one construct and to develop a potential psychometrically sound instrument to measure principled leadership.

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