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Empathy in Leadership: Appropriate or Misplaced? An Empirical Study on a Topic That is Asking for Attention

  • Woodbury University, Burbank, CA. USA

Abstract and Figures

Leadership has become a more popular term than management, even though it is understood that both phenomena represent important organizational behaviors. This paper focuses on empathy in leadership, and presents the findings of a study conducted among business students over the course of 3 years. Finding that empathy consistently ranked lowest in the ratings, the researchers set out to discover the driving motives behind this invariable trend, and conducted a second study to obtain opinions about possible underlying factors. The paper presents the findings of both studies, as well as literature reviews on the differences between management and leadership, a historical overview of leadership, a reflection of 21st century leadership, the ongoing debate on the effects of corporate psychopaths on ethical performance, and scholars’ perception on empathy in corporate leadership. The findings indicate the need for a paradigm shift in corporations as well as business schools in regards to leaders’ required skills, and suggest a proactive approach from business faculty to change the current paradigm. KeywordsEmpathy–Leadership–Emotional intelligence–Narcissism–Psychopaths–Servant leadership–Social skills
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Empathy in Leadership: Appropriate or Misplaced?
An Empirical Study on a Topic that is Asking for Attention
Svetlana Holt Joan Marques
Received: 21 November 2010 / Accepted: 19 June 2011 / Published online: 2 July 2011
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
Abstract Leadership has become a more popular term
than management, even though it is understood that both
phenomena represent important organizational behaviors.
This paper focuses on empathy in leadership, and presents
the findings of a study conducted among business students
over the course of 3 years. Finding that empathy consis-
tently ranked lowest in the ratings, the researchers set out
to discover the driving motives behind this invariable trend,
and conducted a second study to obtain opinions about
possible underlying factors. The paper presents the findings
of both studies, as well as literature reviews on the dif-
ferences between management and leadership, a historical
overview of leadership, a reflection of 21st century lead-
ership, the ongoing debate on the effects of corporate
psychopaths on ethical performance, and scholars’ per-
ception on empathy in corporate leadership. The findings
indicate the need for a paradigm shift in corporations as
well as business schools in regards to leaders’ required
skills, and suggest a proactive approach from business
faculty to change the current paradigm.
Keywords Empathy Leadership Emotional
intelligence Narcissism Psychopaths
Servant leadership Social skills
Leadership has become quite a buzzword in the past two
decades. The number of books on with the
word ‘‘leader’’ in the title has run up to a staggering 49,297,
while ProQuest, one of the major databases for scholarly
journals, reports a total of 13,657 scholarly papers on the
subject of leadership. Many scholars perceive the term
leadership as more distinctive than management. Whereas,
in the not so far past, it was an honor to be called a
manager, this perspective seems to have shifted in the
opinions of these scholars, and leadership is ‘‘hot’’ while
management is ‘‘not.’’ McCrimmon (2010) puts it this way:
‘Once there was a notion that managers could do it all. But
the notion fell into disfavor when ‘‘leadership’’ - for
example, the heroic leader - emerged and pushed managers
aside and stripped them of their responsibilities’’ (p. 1).
McCrimmon (2010) praises John Kotter’s opinion that
leaders and managers are different, and points out that
inspiring leaders influence people to change direction while
inspiring managers motivate them to work harder’’ (p. 1).
Yet, there are also scholars who feel that management and
leadership should complement each other. Nienaber (2010)
reviews the opposing views among scholars about these
two phenomena, and finds that, indeed, a large number of
scholars describe leadership as an exalted concept that is
imperative to companies’ successes, whereas they ban
management to the mundane corner of uninspiring and
tactical activities. However, Nienaber (2010) also com-
ments on those scholars who share a different stance by
perceiving leadership and management as an integrated
whole. Nienaber’s study finds that these two concepts are
interwoven, but the divergence of opinions will probably
linger for many years to come. McLean (2005) shares these
findings and stresses, ‘‘Both activities are essential to
S. Holt J. Marques (&)
School of Business, Woodbury University,
Burbank, CA, USA
S. Holt
J Bus Ethics (2012) 105:95–105
DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-0951-5
enable objectives and strategies to be achieved, business
activities and human resources to be managed, change to
be effectively achieved, and projected profits and organi-
sational success to be achieved’’ (p. 16).
As scholars and course facilitators of management and
leadership courses, the authors of this paper have regu-
larly engaged in class dialogues about the potential dif-
ference between leadership and management. Students in
both undergraduate and graduate business courses, seem
to be in agreement with the fact that leadership encom-
passes a greater scope of influence and guidance, entailing
less detail orientation and more vision, while management
focuses more on day-to-day implementations of pre-for-
mulated guidelines. Most students also seem to agree that
good leaders should be capable of proper management
skills, while good managers should be able to lead when
expected to. But while there is sufficient agreement on the
basics, there still seems to be some crucial dust to be
settled when it comes to the defining qualities of leaders
in this day and age. While there is general consensus
about qualities such as intelligence, charisma, responsi-
bility, vision, and passion, there are some ‘‘softer,’’ more
emotion-driven skills, such as compassion, and empathy,
that have not been widely accepted as befitting leadership
execution. Inspired by the findings of a multi-year study
on leadership skills conducted among business students,
this paper will focus on the trait of empathy in organi-
zational leadership. ‘‘Empathy refers to one’s ability to
understand the feelings transmitted through verbal and
nonverbal messages, to provide emotional support to
people when needed, and to understand the links between
others’ emotions and behavior’’ (Polychroniou 2009,
p. 345). First, a brief historical overview of leadership
will be presented, followed by a deliberation on 21st
century leadership. The paper will then discuss the find-
ings of two studies on leadership skills, present literature
findings that support or contest these findings, and end
with conclusions and recommendations based on both
Leadership: A Brief Overview
It has been about a century now since the concept of
leadership was first formulated and analyzed in a theory.
The earliest theories on this phenomenon focused more on
the leader than on the context in which he or she per-
formed. In the last half of the nineteenth century,
researchers assumed that leadership traits were immutable
properties, ingrained in the future leader from birth on
(Zaccaro 2007). Vroom and Jago (2007) refer to this as
‘the heroic conception of leadership’’ (p. 18).
Because the study to be discussed in this paper pertains
to qualities of leaders, it can be asserted that the leadership
trait paradigm was prominent in this study. In their
explanation of the trait theory of leadership, House and
Aditya (1997) assert, ‘‘A large number of personal char-
acteristics [are] investigated such as gender, height, phys-
ical energy and appearance as well as psychological traits
and motives such as authoritarianism, intelligence, need for
achievement, and need for power’’ (p. 410). It needs to be
clarified that in this study, the emphasis was not on phys-
ical traits, but more on psychological traits and motives
desired in leaders.
In the first half of the twentieth century, the realization
emerged that leadership traits were not inborn, but that they
included all relatively enduring qualities that distinguished
leaders from non-leaders: the leader behavior paradigm,
sometimes also referred to as a style approach, surfaced.
‘The initial guiding assumption of the behavioral paradigm
[is] that there are some universally effective leader
behaviors’’ (House and Aditya 1997, p. 421).
As time, studies, and awareness progressed, the trait and
style approach did not remain the only theories through
which leadership was defined. Avolio (2007) points out
that contingency theories emerged when conflicting results
were noted from examining the link between the traditional
leadership traits and performance. In his historical over-
view, Avolio (2007) lists some of the established contin-
gency models of leadership, such as ‘‘Fiedler’s (1967) trait
contingency model, Vroom and Yetton’s (1973) normative
contingency model, House and Mitchell’s (1974) path–goal
theory, and Hersey and Blanchard’s (1969) situational
theory’’ (p. 26). According to Avolio, all these styles link
leadership to specific contextual demands, resulting in
better performance outcomes. Northouse (2004), who also
wrote extensively on the topic of leadership, elaborates as
follows on the situational theory: ‘‘The basic premise of the
[situational] theory is that different situations demand dif-
ferent kinds of leadership’’ (p. 87). The influence of situ-
ational theories will become more apparent when the topic
of empathy will reviewed in a later section of this paper.
There are numerous definitions of leadership. Most
sources consider it to be an interaction between the leaders
and others. Vroom and Jago (2007), for instance, describe
leadership as a process of motivating others to work
together collaboratively to accomplish great things. In this
definition, Vroom and Jago capture leadership as a process
that involves influencing or motivating but does not have
pre-defined rewards established. Rather, they consider the
main result of a leader–follower interaction to be the
pursuit of a common goal. The outcomes of the leader–
follower collaboration can be experienced differently by all
96 S. Holt, J. Marques
Leadership in the 21st Century
Against the backdrop of major political, economic, and
social changes, some encouraging and others worrisome,
the topic of leadership has become even more appealing,
not so much anymore as a theory, but rather as a prag-
matic need toward improvement of the quality of an ever
increasing pace and complexity of life. Increasingly,
scholars and practitioners get confronted with the criti-
cism that there is a mismatch between the two fields in
which leadership is considered essential: some critics
point out that educational institutions fail to help develop
the right skills and traits in upcoming business leaders,
while others stress that corporations fail to adopt leader-
ship strategies that make sense in today’s changed world
of work.
There are numerous solid pieces of advise to those who
aspire leadership positions in the 21st century, such as
Allio’s (2009) big five ideas, which he feels are the main
concepts captured throughout all leadership books out
there. These five ideas are: (1) Good leaders have good
character—they need to be competent and ethical; (2)
There’s no best way to lead—today’s circumstances are
constantly changing, requiring many different ways of
leading; (3) Leaders must collaborate—decision making
and conflict resolution need to happen with inclusion of as
many stakeholders as possible; (4) Adaptability makes
longevity possible—only leaders who can lead their orga-
nizations through repeated changes will succeed; and (5)
Leaders are self-made—while they can learn theories and
principles, it’s usually the experience in real life that makes
or breaks leaders.
Hopen (2010) also reflects on the changes that leader-
ship has witnessed in recent years. Asserting that much of
the leadership strategies in the twentieth century were
extensions to Max Weber’s bureaucracy theory, where
dominance and authority were the key elements, Hopen
underscores that the 21st century brings a whole new set of
demands, which radically change the way leaders will
perform. She thereby mentions:
(a) The dazzling pace of changes in technology, which
affect products, services, and leadership;
(b) The unstoppable trend of globalization which affects
all entities, whether performing locally, nationally or
internationally, because today’s customer can be
everywhere and still reach us through the many
communication means available. This, too, requires a
different way of leading;
(c) Knowledge workers: a term coined by management
scholar Peter Drucker that has now become everyday
reality: today’s workforce members are more edu-
cated and possess crucial skills that are valuable to
any leader. This calls for more integration and
participation in leading;
(d) The composition of the workforce: diversity is no
longer a phenomenon of metropolitan areas only. It
can be seen all around us. It is reflected in all
stakeholders, and requires adaptable leadership;
(e) Social responsibility: companies can no longer ignore
this concept, because it becomes increasingly ingrained
in rules and regulations, and it significantly affects the
way customers look at the organization;
(f) Partnerships: in this regard, Hopen cites management
thinker Marshall Goldsmith, who has conducted a
study and found that near-future leaders will have no
choice but to establish partnerships within and outside
their organizations.
The multiple dimensions in leadership qualities as pre-
sented by Allio (2009), combined with Hopen’s (2010) list
of complexities in today’s performance environments for
leaders form a fertile foundation to review a critical lead-
ership quality that has thus far encountered resistance in
being accepted in both business education and business
performance: empathy.
Leadership Expectations: A Study
In this section the authors will discuss the results of two
consecutive studies on the topic of empathy in leadership.
The first study was the foundational research, executed in a
survey format. The second study was developed as a result
of the findings from the first study, and served to obtain a
broad number of opinions from a different group of indi-
viduals about the outcome of the first study. Both studies
will be discussed here below.
The First Study: A Survey on Leadership Qualities
Over the course of five semesters, spread over 3 years,
starting in spring 2008 and ending in fall, 2010, the authors
conducted a study in a recurring upper-division undergrad-
uate university business course titled ‘‘Leadership Theory
and Practice.’’ The students in this course vary widely in age,
and life/work experience, as the course is offered in tradi-
tional as well as non-traditional formats. Being situated in
Los Angeles, the students also represented a great degree of
ethnic and cultural diversity. Given the fact that the audience
in these classes was so diverse, it becomes even more
interesting that there was such consistency in the findings. In
total, 87 students participated in this study (n=87).
The study was conducted as a simple survey: on-
location, during a class session, which ensured a 100%
response rate.
Empathy in Leadership 97
Research Question
The research question formulated as a foundation to this
study was rather straightforward:
What qualities are essential to be an effective leader (on
a scale of 1 (least important) to 10 (most important))?
Method of Data Collection
Given the fact that the study was conducted on a small
campus that prides itself in small classes where student–
professor ratios are attractive, the total number of study
participants over the course of 3 years was only 87. The
classes varied from 9 (smallest) to 26 (largest).
The students were handed sheets on which they could
list the qualities they considered essential for leaders’
effectiveness. The study was anonymous, in that names
were not to be placed on the sheets.
Once the sheets were filled out, they were collected, and
the data was inserted in a database, where it was stored for
compilation purposes.
Data Analysis and Classification
After each class a quick analysis was made of the data
gathered, and this is where the interesting fact started to
emerge: some qualities consistently ended up as top
requirements for effective leadership, while others consis-
tently ended at the bottom of the ranking.
Once the last survey was conducted, the data were
compiled in one comprehensive figure, which included a
table with the average scores on leadership qualities for the
5 courses (see Fig. 1).
For readers’ clarity, the data were quoted in impor-
tance on a scale from 1 to 10, to attain a more consoli-
dated overview of the findings. The result is depicted in
Fig. 2.
The Second Study: A Collection of Opinions
on Empathy as a Leadership Quality
In the fall semester of 2010, after the analysis of the study
described above and the confrontation with the consistent
pattern of empathy being ranked lowest as a leadership
Fig. 1 Average scores on leadership qualities
98 S. Holt, J. Marques
quality, the authors conducted a second study, this time
amongst students in two MBA courses. The courses were
non-traditional, which entails that the participants were
predominantly working adults.
Research Question
The execution of this study was rather straightforward as
well. We briefly explained the previous study findings, then
presented the following question:
Why do you think empathy was considered least
important among the 10 leadership qualities presented?
Method of Data Collection
A total of 35 MBA students/workforce members provided
their insights on possible reasons why empathy was con-
sistently ranked lowest in the previous leadership study.
Like the first study, this one was conducted as a simple
survey as well: on-location, during a class session, which
ensured a 100% response rate. The students were handed
sheets on which they could list the reason they considered
to be at the foundation of the low ranking of empathy as a
leadership quality. The study was also anonymous: no
names were placed on the sheets to enhance freedom in
opinion expression.
Thematic Analyses for MBA Responses
The researchers went through each response, reading it and
making in-depth notes to themselves. The coding began as
goal-free. As an emerging process, being led by the data
from one response to the next, this technique allowed the
researches to improvise on the early findings in the data
and develop the codes, or what later transpired as the
themes, reflexively.
The first step was to obtain a general sense of the
information and reflect on its overall meaning. As a result
of this process, the authors probed more deeply into the
data, so as to be perspicuous of its complexity, in order to
characterize it more precisely. The developing concepts
based on the emerging codes and categories within each of
the responses became the focus of further analysis. The
researchers clustered together similar topics and took this
list back to the original sources, abbreviated the topics as
codes and marked the appropriate segments in respondents’
comments as codes.
After comparing and analyzing the notes taken on the
first few responses, the researchers agreed on the
Fig. 2 Leadership qualities presented on a scale of 1 to 10
Empathy in Leadership 99
preliminary list of topics to be identified throughout the
manuscripts. They then applied the codes to the comments
and ensured that the codes were not duplicated. Further
coding proceeded as goal-directed, labeling the rest of the
responses with the codes agreed upon.
Inter-Rater Reliability
Due to the fact that the second study involved perceptions
from a number of study participants on a single phenom-
enon, oftentimes presented in more than one simple phrase,
the researchers realized that it would strengthen the study
to separately review and analyze the data, in order to
measure whether there was common understanding. Inter-
rater reliability was established by each of the researchers
through re-reading the available data multiple times and
verifying her original coding, trying to be aware of their
own biases. Each coder went back and forth between the
data and the coding to understand the nuance of the lan-
guage in each source. The authors believe that this constant
assessment of data within each source, between the sour-
ces, between developing codes, and between the codes and
the sources data, insured a solid level of inter-rater reli-
ability. The researchers attained an inter-rater reliability
degree in 33 of the 35 submitted opinions, equaling an
inter-rater reliability score of 94%.
Once inter-rater reliability was established through
code/topic comparisons, the researchers proceeded with
analytical coding, where themes were patterned into cate-
gories. The authors arrayed the codes by category to
determine the properties and dimensions of each theme,
searching for critical defining characteristics in each one.
This approach was used until all available responses were
accounted for in the analyses, discarded as non-germane, or
moved to another category where they were more con-
gruent with the meaning under development. The themes
were discerned through discussion between co-researchers.
As the result of the process of data reduction, the
researchers arrived at the thematic divisions.
The following eight codes, or reasons why empathy may
not be considered important in leaders, were identified:
1. Empathy interferes with (rational and ethical) decision
2. Empathy may be perceived as a sign of weakness
3. Too little life/work experience to recognize empathy
as a powerful leadership tool in action
4. Respondents (wrongly) tend to disassociate business
from the human component
5. Misunderstanding the meaning of empathy for ‘‘pity’’,
which is dehumanizing
6. Empathy is fleeting/situational, while other qualities
are stable
7. Historical lack of references/illustrations/visibility and
discussion of empathy
8. Respondents lack empathy themselves
These codes were further consolidated in the following
two major themes:
1. Respondents believe that empathy is inappropriate in
business settings (codes 1, 2, 4).
2. Respondents have a lack of familiarity with empathy
(codes 3, 5, 6, 7, 8).
Empathy as a Leadership Quality: A Literature-Based
Empathy has been discussed in a broad variety of business
literature, specifically leadership literature, in recent years,
and there is good reason for that.
Concerning Facts About Business Students
Research has so far demonstrated that business students
and business leaders seem to have lower degrees of
empathy. Brown et al. (2010), for instance, assert that
there are multiple studies reporting that business students
are more focused on self-interest than students in other
fields. Brown et al. (2010) found that empathetic and
narcissistic personality traits were significant predictors in
ethical decision making. They further noticed that, of all
business areas, finance students were least empathetic and
most narcissistic. Brown et al. paint a grim picture of
business students: they cheat more (holding the record
with a 50% higher rate of reported cheating than any
other major), are less cooperative, more likely to conceal
instructors’ mistakes, less willing to yield and more
likely to defect in bargaining games. Brown et al. assert
that the mentality of unethical and narcissistic behavior
follows business students into their professional careers,
leading to the immoral organizational patterns we have
come to know so well in recent years. They feel that
business schools are still focusing too much on academic
and social skill sets that will help students succeed in a
competitive world, and too little on inter-human or
‘softer’’ skills.
Concerning Facts About Business Leaders
Supporting Brown et al.’s assertions about the transition of
narcissistic tendencies from business schools to business
organizations, Pepper (2005) reveals a concerning fact
about narcissism in business leaders. While this quality is
often sought in corporate leaders, because the right dosage
100 S. Holt, J. Marques
of narcissism can lead to optimal innovation, there is often
only a thin line that distinguishes brilliant thinking nar-
cissists, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and
Jack Welch, who are also charismatic and visionary, from
psychopaths such as Bernie Ebbers and Dennis Koslowski,
who use their skills in harmful ways that we have all come
to witness in recent years. Andrews and Furniss (2009) take
it a step further and link excessive narcissism in business
organizations to psychopathic behavior. They assert that,
perfectly matching to the description of a psychopath, these
business executives are superficially charming, grandiose,
deceitful, remorseless, void of empathy, irresponsible,
impulsive, lacking goals, poor in behavioral controls, and
antisocial. Andrews and Furniss express concern about the
fact that the business environment seems to be such fertile
ground for psychopaths. According to Andrews and Furniss
the psychopaths in business are highly attracted to transi-
tional organizations that offer rewards and a stimulating
environment, and are very cunning in entering these
organizations. They first present themselves as ideal
workers, then start building relationships with people who
have formal and informal power, and ultimately manipu-
late the entire environment. Andrews and Furniss (2009)
further affirm that the widely accepted model of democratic
capitalism and modern days’ business culture endorses and
even promotes the behaviors of psychopaths.
A Closer Look at the Problem of Corporate Leaders
Without Empathy
The debate on ethics and leadership without empathy has
been very vivid in the past decade or two. Hare (1994)
described psychopaths in professional settings and men-
tioned behavioral traits such as shallow, egocentric, gran-
diose, without guilt or empathy, and highly manipulative,
with poor self-control, need for excitement and lack of
responsibility as typical for these individuals. Babiak
(1995) also alerted us early on that psychopaths were
usually discussed in health or crime settings, but not in
organizational performance. Babiak (1995) managed to
defy prior assertions that psychopaths are relatively
unsuccessful, by analyzing their behavior in organizational
settings and concluding that they shrewdly prey onto
organizational change circumstances—which we have on
an ongoing basis these days—and play opposing parties
against one another to their own advancement. Almost a
decade after this article, Babiak and Hare (2006) published
a book on the topic, warning about the manifestation,
performance, and success levels of psychopaths in
organizational settings. A phenomenon beyond everyday
workplace politics, these psychopaths in suits cunningly
transform the organizational environment into an arena
where useful targets are meticulously identified and
cultivated, influential victims astutely controlled, and use-
less ones smartly abandoned in a well-developed system of
hiring, promoting, succeeding, and firing. In line with
Babiak’s (1995) findings, Clarke (2005) also emphasizes
the fact that psychopaths can be very successful in many
work settings. He mentions examples of employment areas
such as medicine, law enforcements, stock exchange,
schools, universities, sales, advertising, and construction,
and underscores that most of the time they perform
unchallenged in their workplaces, while they can cause
devastation to their victims and possibly bring the entire
organization in which they work down. Because they form
about 1 to 3 percent of the adult male population, and to
1 percent of the adult female population, it is rather likely
that we all encounter at least one psychopath in our work-
life, according to Clarke (2005). Board and Fritzon (2005)
also studied the presence of psychopaths in the workplace
and underscored the grim picture that Babiak and Hare
painted earlier. They found that many of the characteristics
attributed to success in senior management roles were
similar to those described as personality disorders (PDs),
specifically of the ‘‘emotional components of psychopathic
PD’’ (p. 17).
The influence of psychopaths on corporations is studied
from external and internal angles. Ketola (2006), for
instance, provides a serious point to ponder by linking
organization’s Corporate Responsibility behavior to the
presence or absence of psychopaths at their helm. Some
companies, asserts Ketola, are averse to taking any CR, and
those obviously need to be awakened from their 100-year
irresponsibility sleep by a prince of virtue (Ketola, 2006).
As an example of the internal review of this issue: Boddy
(2010), intrigued by the multiple assertions on corporate
psychopaths and their negative effects on organizational
performance, engaged in a major study in Australian
workplaces, utilizing a measuring device to detect whether
psychopaths were present in the workplaces he studied, and
what their effects were on the climate. Boddy (2010) found
that 88% of the workers involved in environments where
psychopaths were present, suffered from work difficulties
caused by human-caused disruptions, compared to 75.1%
in environments where there were no psychopaths. The
trend was consistent among all areas of research: percep-
tions of inadequate training were around 20% (65.8 vs.
47%) higher in environments with psychopaths, and
problems due to lack of information were 14% more fre-
quent (83.8 vs. 69.6%) in workplaces where psychopaths
were present. Similar discrepancies were found in areas
such as lack of support and incorrect instructions. Fur-
thering the findings on the above-mentioned study, Boddy
et al. (2010) posit that corporate psychopaths sort signifi-
cantly negative effects internally and externally in the
organizations in which they are involved. Their behavior
Empathy in Leadership 101
affects employee commitment as well as the organizations’
corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance.
When Corporate Psychopaths are present in leader-
ship positions within organizations, employees are
less likely to agree with views that: the organization
does business in a socially desirable manner; does
business in an environmentally friendly manner and
that the organization does business in a way that
benefits the local community. (Boddy et al. 2010,
p. 1)
In addition to the above, employees will feel less
involved, appreciated, or rewarded (Boddy et al. 2010).
In spite of all their concerning traits and the suffering
they cause among co-workers, psychopaths often seem to
be embraced in corporate environments. Pech and Slade
(2007) analyzed the reasons for this occurrence, and sug-
gested that it may be because the very nature of business
with its often excessive focus on the bottom line rewards
and reinforces the typical narcissistic, self-centered, greed-
based and guilt-deprived mentality of psychopaths. Stout
(2005) also engaged in analysis of the manifestation of
people with an excessive dose of self-centeredness and a
lack of empathy or guilt, but approached her review from a
broader angle. Referring to these ruthless and fundamen-
tally flawed but brilliant and charming manipulators as
sociopaths, Stout (2005) brings the entire societal fabric
into the picture. She asserts that culture may have a lot to
do with the nurturing or repression of sociopaths. She
found, for instance, that some East Asian countries, where
the culture is predominantly group centered, have a rather
small percentage of sociopaths (0.03 percent), while
Western cultures such as the US, which strongly reinforce
an individualistic sense of behaving, harbor more than 100
times more (4 percent) of these dangerous characters.
The concerning factor in this all is that psychopaths
don’t like criticism and will maneuver business ventures
into high risk situations. Since they are not the nurturing
kind, they alienate devoted employees and jeopardize the
company’s chances on proper succession and long term
well being.
Why Empathy Makes Sense in Leadership
The above study findings present a bleak image of the
business world and raise serious questions about the
validity and reliability of business leaders. The disclosures
about corporate psychopaths or sociopaths above should
not only be considered in light of what is wrong with
today’s corporate world, but even more in light of the
stance taken in this paper to accept and cultivate empathy
as a serious leadership skill from here onward. The various
study findings presented in the section above serve as
foundations for better understanding and illustration of the
fact that empathy in leadership is highly appropriate, and
that the issue needs to be taken serious by anyone who
wants to prevent further manifestations of unethical and
repressive business practices. The suggestion to incorpo-
rate more responsible qualities such as empathy in orga-
nizational leadership has been offered before. There has
been quite some insight accumulated so far about the do’s
and don’ts of leadership. On a regular basis, scholars are
keeping readers updated on the elements that determine
good leadership in contemporary times, and empathy
seems to be a frequently recurring theme. Mostovicz et al.
(2009), for instance, remind us that leadership is a devel-
opmental process that involves thorough reflection, making
choices, and ‘‘total commitment to the perpetual process of
purpose seeking’’ (p. 571). Mostovicz et al. underscore
empathy and ethical behavior as a crucial focus points for
leaders, requiring continuous effort. Ciulla (2010) concurs
that leaders should exert empathy and sensitivity, along
with moral solidarity, commitment, concern, and physical
presence, especially during or after crises. Ciulla stresses
that leaders have a duty to care, and that this duty can be
taught. Schilling (2010) draws a particularly interesting
conclusion from a study on some great twentieth century
leaders, being John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela,
and Lech Walesa. Schilling finds that, while these leaders
are often labeled as charismatic leaders, their levels of
empathy, emotional intelligence, commitment, inspira-
tional motivation, and trustworthiness were foundational in
making them the remarkable individuals they became.
‘Empathy and social skills involve one’s ability to
perceive others’ emotions, feelings, and needs and help
others to regulate their emotions to achieve desirable
goals’’ (Polychroniou 2009, p. 345). In spite of Polychro-
niou’s assertions, Karnes (2009) confirms that ‘‘empathy
and social skills are under trained and under developed by
organizations’’ (p. 189), and explains the downward spiral-
effect that starts with leadership void of emotional intelli-
gence, leading to less empathy and social skills overall in
organizations, expressed through employer–employee
abuse, and ending in growing employee discontentment
and all its consequences. Considering the challenges of the
fast-paced contemporary organizational environment, Mill
Chalmers (2010) draws the interesting conclusion that
there should be a positive correlation between hard
demands and soft skills. ‘‘The ‘faster’ the workplace the
more essential it is to inspirational leadership with emo-
tional intelligence and an empathy and understanding of
the development needs of their staff’’ (Mill Chalmers 2010,
p. 270). In support of Karnes’ earlier assertion, Mill
Chalmers presents an upward spiral-effect that starts with
leaders who are willing to create an empowering, vision
102 S. Holt, J. Marques
building climate, resulting in motivated, healthy, well-
performing employees, and consequently leading to
improved bottom line figures. Expanding on Mill Chal-
mers’ findings, Taylor (2010) adds that modern leaders
need to engage in ‘‘21st century enlightenment’’, thereby
not just responding to modern values, but shaping them.
Taylor (2010) reviews the ideology of possessive individ-
ualism that has become synonymous with consumer capi-
talism and democracy, and draws the conclusion that the
21st century has presented us with a challenge of the
individualistic based mindset for autonomy, and points us
in the direction of empathic universalism, whereby we
‘have a relationship with our reactions rather than being
captive of them’’ (p. 20).
Tom McDonald, doctor in Psychology, feels that empa-
thy is important in contemporary leadership. He stresses,
‘What are the loving behaviors effective leaders need to
develop to have this kind of impact on-the-job? They must
show empathy, attunement, organizational awareness,
influence, interest in developing others, inspiration, and
teamwork’’ (McDonald 2008, par. 3). It is McDonald’s
opinion that we, human beings, are hard wired to be more
spiritual in nature and connect to others, with the probable
exception of the 1% of the total population who are psy-
chopaths. He believes that we have entered an era where
‘survival of the nicest’’ will be the rule. McDonald (2008)
underscores that altruistic behavior instigates a sense of
mutuality, and that effective leaders display the qualities he
mentioned above in their workplaces. In addition he men-
tions that these ‘‘soft’’ behaviors lead to hard results in
business, and should therefore not be underestimated.
Donaldson (2008) seconds McDonald’s assertions as he
underscores that business leaders will have ‘‘to increase
their knowledge and understanding of the changing inter-
national scene and the inter-relationship between business,
society and the environment’’ (par. 1). He thereby points
out that a broader definition of corporate success is at stake
these days, in which understanding of diversity, and a long-
term view on the consequences of decisions for societies,
environments, and livelihoods, are key. Among the specific
qualities of the new global business leader, Donaldson
(2008) lists qualities such as clear vision (to deal with
increased uncertainty), empathy (to interact with a wide
variety of stakeholders), and humility (to admit mistakes,
and deviate from the damaging consequences of arro-
gance). Washington et al. (2006) bring the popular theory
of ‘‘servant leadership’’ in scope, and find that empathy is a
crucial factor in this leadership style.
Empathy Can be developed
Yet, while empathy seems to be on the rise as a recognized
leadership prerequisite, other sources warn that this quality
takes time to develop. A 2006 study from the UCL Institute
of Cognitive Neuroscience found that young people are
less capable of empathy-based emotions than more mature
ones. The study, which was conducted by University
College London, and presented at a British Association for
the Advancement of Science festival at the University of
East Anglia, concluded that the medial prefrontal cortex,
which is the part of the brain that is ‘‘associated with
higher-level thinking, empathy, guilt and understanding
other people’s motivations - is often under-used in the
decision-making process of teenagers’’ (Blame it on the
Brain 2006, p. 16). The study further reveals that the
maturity process brings about a shift in brain use from the
back part to the front, which is where the ‘‘soft behaviors’’,
as McDonald earlier labeled them, are triggered.
Based on the awareness that empathy and other soft
behaviors are gaining leadership ground, companies are
now deliberately looking for these qualities in hiring and
promotion processes. Weinstein (2009) reports that empa-
thy-based behaviors can be learned. ‘‘Individuals can be
taught to ask questions to enhance understanding that
builds connection between people and helps them to per-
ceive the emotions of others’’ (p. 21). Various courses and
instruments are being developed and tested in this regard.
Investments from companies in these training sessions and
devices have delivered encouraging results so far, accord-
ing to Weinstein (2009).
In support of Weinstein’s assertions above, Eriksen
(2009) introduces a process that helps students to develop
self-awareness, which kindles authenticity and leadership
effectiveness. ‘‘This facilitation of the development of
students’ personal leadership principles is accomplished by
having students first identify and clarify their values and
beliefs and to consider the impact of these on their day-to-
day organizational lives and leadership’’ (Eriksen 2009,
p. 747). Izenberg (2007) has also found that qualities such
as empathy, optimism and resilience can be taught in the
classroom. Not everyone agrees with the fact that teaching
these skills can actually be considered teaching. Some
consider it therapy, and argue that teachers of these soft
skills should be certified. Other sources even criticize the
entire effort and feel that teaching these skills in the
classroom takes away time that could be devoted to basic
literacy and numeracy. However, there seems to be an
upsurge in those who claim that common sense and moral
judgment should be reintroduced in the classroom, and that
these values could easily be embedded in existing curric-
ula. Several other scholars support the notion that empathy
can be developed, but refer to alternative strategies. Devay
(2010) mentions religious and spiritual practices, with a
special emphasis on meditation, while Mahsud et al. (2010)
suggest management development programs and executive
coaching as effective ways to cultivate this emotion.
Empathy in Leadership 103
Conclusions and Recommendations
The above literature-based reflections have presented a
clear message: empathy is an essential aspect of 21st
century leadership and can no longer be ignored if we want
to prevent continuation of ethical disasters in the business
world. The study presented in this paper has revealed a
concern that many of the literature sources also noted: there
is still a leading paradigm among business corporations
that leaders should be narcissistic in order to successfully
maneuver through the increasingly competitive corporate
waters. As an immediate consequence, this disparaging
paradigm still resonates in business schools, where the
development of future leaders takes place.
On the bright side, the literature-based reflections also
disclosed that empathy, although naturally developed
through brain maturity, can be taught through formal and
informal education, and in various environments.
The above-presented study has revealed the need for
business educators to focus more on empathy and other ‘‘soft’
skills, which can easily be included in the existing curricula.
The undergraduate students that participated in the survey,
which delivered the low rankings for empathy, were mainly
young adults, varying in age from 21 to 30 years. It can
therefore be assumed that their empathetic thinking process
has not fully evolved to maturity. Yet, waiting until this
spontaneously happens is not an option. Waiting until the
corporate world sends a signal for a paradigm change to
business schools is not a valid modus operandi either.
Scholars will have to be proactive in this matter, and approach
this problem as members of society and not only as educators.
Simple reflection and review of business practices in the past
decade should serve as a guiding motive for trend amendment.
The authors of this paper therefore recommend dupli-
cation of this study among students in other business
schools, in order to find out whether any perceptional
changes occur. In addition, the authors recommend that
business school faculty, especially those teaching man-
agement and leadership courses, should make a concerted
effort in infusing greater awareness into their students on
the urgency and importance of empathy in leaders.
The business community is a powerful one in that busi-
ness enters where no government or non-governmental
entity does. As one of the most influential global constitu-
ents, it is important that the right attitude is displayed for the
sake of future generations and for a restored equilibrium in
the quality of life amongst members of the human race.
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Empathy in Leadership 105
... Help and understanding are needed everywhere, including work (Edmondson and Lei 2014). Thus, leaders build strong ties, encourage, and help followers enhance job performance (Holt and Marques 2012). Every life, including work, requires support and understanding (empathy). ...
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Employee performance is an interesting topic of debate because it determines the success and growth of an organization. This study aimed to analyze the effect of empathic leadership, innovative work behavior, and health protocol culture on employee performance. Respondents in this study were employees of Panggungharjo Village. Samples were taken using a saturated sampling approach with 101 employees. This research proved that empathic leadership strongly influenced employee performance with an original sample coefficient value of 0.194, a t-statistic value of 2.174, and a p-value of 0.0030. This research also discovered that empathetic leadership and innovative work behavior majorly influenced employee performance with an original sample coefficient value of 0.411 with a t-statistic and a p-value of 4.747 and 0.000. Health protocol culture had the strongest effect on employee performance during the pandemic and had an original sample coefficient value of 0.371 with a t-statistic and p-value of 5.122 and 0,000.
... Organisational research has long investigated the role of communication as an activity that is central to any kind of process in organisations (Cooren et al. 2014). Furthermore, leadership is being conceived differently than in the past: besides declaring visions and assigning tasks, managers are expected to build respectful and empathetic relationships with their employees (Edmondson 2012;Holt and Marques 2012). Thus, nonverbal and emotional levels of communication are important for current organisational contexts. ...
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From immersive simulations to interactive tutorials, Virtual Reality (VR) is transforming the way we learn and practise new skills. Especially for social skills training, a growing number of simulations have been designed in which trainees learn to master difficult communicative situations. One of the factors to which the effectiveness of VR as a learning technology is attributed to is the users’ feeling of social presence during the simulated interaction. This paper presents the evaluation of (1) a role play training, (2) a learning app and (3) a VR training application in a workshop series. Social presence was perceived as equally convincing and engaging for the prototypical VR scene as for the traditional form of role play, although the course of the interaction in VR was highly determined compared to the interaction dynamics of a human role play. In our interpretation, this confirms social presence as a valuable resource for training social interaction, which spans across various learning settings and methods in increasingly blended or hybrid learning and working contexts.
... Research on the connection between subjective well-being and empathy overall (Konrath & Grynberg, 2016), and for leaders specifically (Holt & Marques, 2012), is mixed. It is complicated by the multidimensional nature of the human response to the emotions of others (Davis, 1983), and the plurality of definitions for empathy in the literature (Batson, 2009). ...
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Effective management of negative emotions in the workplace is critical for organizational success. While leaders may respond to negative emotions with empathy or compassion, evidence suggests that a compassionate focus may be more effective for managing negative emotions and promoting positive outcomes. In this set of 6 studies (combined N = 3,647 leaders, N = 1,006 followers), we introduce the Compassion-Empathy Leader Focus task, a novel situational-judgment task to index leaders' tendency to focus on sharing (empathy) or caring(compassion) when engaging with negative follower emotions. In studies 1-5 we provide initial evidence for the construct and predictive validity of our task and highlight the practical implications of a compassion focus for leader well-being. In study 6 we leveraged a diverse global sample of over 2,000 leaders and more than a thousand of their followers to show that a leader's compassion focus benefits not only the leader but their followers as well. Our research suggests that training programs for leaders should emphasize a compassion focus when managing negative emotions, as this approach is associated with improved outcomes for both leaders and followers. These findings have important implications for current issues in management, including the growing importance of employee well-being in the workplace.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the character traits and challenges of women leaders in Myanmar within the context of responsible leadership (RL) and aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of RL in this specific cultural and social setting. Furthermore, the paper seeks to highlight the unique challenges faced by women leaders, both within organizations and in society at large. Ultimately, the paper intends to advocate for increased awareness and actions that promote gender equality in leadership positions, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for women leaders in Myanmar. Design/methodology/approach This study uses an exploratory qualitative research design to comprehensively investigate the character traits and challenges experienced by women leaders in Myanmar concerning RL. It involves semi-structured interviews with five women leaders selected through convenient sampling. These participants hold leadership positions in various fields, including societal welfare, nongovernmental organizations and social businesses. The interview protocol is designed to elicit rich insights into the participants’ leadership experiences, responsibilities, challenges and perspectives on RL. Data collection involves recording and transcribing interviews, ensuring accuracy and reliability. To maintain participant confidentiality, identities remain anonymous. Ethical considerations are adhered to, emphasizing voluntary participation and the right to withdraw at any point without consequences. Thematic analysis is used to identify recurring patterns and themes in the interview data. Themes related to character traits, challenges faced within organizations and society and potential solutions are derived through an iterative process of data coding, categorization and interpretation. Findings The study’s findings indicate that women-responsible leaders possess character traits similar to their male counterparts. However, they face unique challenges at the organizational and societal levels in Myanmar. To address these issues and foster the growth of women leaders, spreading awareness is crucial. Awareness programs can educate individuals, organizations and society about the significance of RL and gender equality in leadership roles. Such initiatives create an inclusive environment that supports the development of responsible women leaders in Myanmar. Originality/value The original value of this study lies in its contribution to the existing body of knowledge on women’s leadership and the specific context of Myanmar. By examining the character traits of women-responsible leaders and the challenges they face within organizational and societal contexts, this study sheds light on the unique experiences and barriers encountered by women in leadership positions. Furthermore, this study’s original value lies in its emphasis on the need for awareness and action to foster more women leaders in Myanmar. By bringing attention to the organizational and societal challenges faced by women and advocating for change, this study encourages stakeholders, including policymakers, organizations and communities, to address these issues and create a more supportive and inclusive environment for women leaders.
Consider that the quality of our lives as humans is at least somewhat contingent upon the quality of our relationships with other humans. Few, if any, would argue strongly against that. Consider also, then, that the quality of our relationships is contingent, at least in part, upon the quality of our communication. Communication effectiveness requires the ability to consider perspectives other than one’s own. Empathy is a cumbersome concept not easily defined, but generally understood as involving the ability to understand and communicate one’s understanding of another person’s emotion. Thus, empathy is an ability-based, interactional relationship-building process, in addition to being an affective-based emotional concept. Based on evidence from neurobiology and social neuroscience that empathy is not simply a subjective feeling that we have for others, but also a responsive action that we share with others in the workplace and in human relations with them, this chapter reviews current literature to explore how empathy may function as a multiplier for wellness. Empathy facilitates social interaction in many ways that are linked to positive health outcomes. Empathy is thought to also play a foundational role in morality, supporting the notion of empathy as a wellness driver for self and others.KeywordsEmpathyWellnessSocial affiliationProsocial behavior
The initial purpose of this narrative inquiry was to explore the stories of six African American men who graduated from a community college in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2020, right at the start and in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. These stories of success are salient to educational leaders, in particular, as they help to inform methods by which leaders and stakeholders might reimagine the supports and interventions used to create more equitable opportunities for students of color, specifically African American males. The narratives collected and shared from the six participants are even more important now, as the enrollment of Black males in community colleges has drastically declined over the past few years. By applying Bush and Bush's African American Male Theory, this research seeks to elevate the voices of Black men, particularly regarding ways to improve the outcomes and outputs of Black males in higher education spaces.
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Bu çalışmada PS (Personality Structure) Kişisel Eğilimler Envanteri geliştirilmiş ve psikometrik özellikleri incelenmiştir. Envanter, başarı veya liderlikle ilişkisi olan psikolojik özellikleri kapsamaktadır. 29 farklı psikolojik özelliğin literatürü incelenmiş, ölçme niteliği yüksek Türkçe bir envanterin geliştirilmesi hedeflenmiştir. 29 ölçek ve 271 maddeden oluşan envanterin geliştirilmesi için iki çalışma yürütülmüştür. İlk çalışmanın katılımcılarını, Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi öğrencileri oluşturmuştur. Tekrarlı veri toplama sürecinde, toplamda 5778 geçerli katılımcı verisi sağlanmıştır. Bu aşamada, ölçeklerin yapısal geçerliliği ve boyutların güvenilirliği sağlanana kadar veri toplama ve madde geliştirme süreci devam etmiştir. Tatmin edici bulgulara ulaşıldıktan sonra, 74 katılımcı ile 3 hafta arayla test tekrar test uygulaması gerçekleştirilmiştir. İkinci çalışmada ölçeklerin yakınsama, ayırt etme ve yordama geçerlilikleri incelenmiştir. Bu aşamada Türkiye geneli sağlanan 324 katılımcının verileri ile analizler gerçekleştirilmiştir. Yakınsama ve ayırt etme geçerlilikleri kapsamında literatürden edinilen 199 korelasyon değeri ile bu çalışmadaki korelasyon değerleri karşılaştırılmış ve tartışma yapabilirlik ölçeği dışındaki ölçeklerin geçerliliklerinin tatmin edici düzeyde olduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Ayrıca ölçeklerin sosyal istenirlikle ilişkileri incelenmiş ve literatürle uyumlu olduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Son olarak yordama geçerliliği incelemesinde, kriter olarak sübjektif okul başarısı belirlenmiştir. 29 ölçekten 27’sinin direkt ya da dolaylı yordayıcı özelliği olduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Gelişim odaklılık ve makyavelizm ölçekleri, sübjektif okul başarısını yordamada zayıf nitelik göstermiştir. Netice olarak; PS Kişisel Eğilimler Envanterinin, büyük oranda ölçüm niteliği yüksek, literatürle uyumlu, Türkiye’deki araştırmalarda kullanılabilecek ve gelişime açık bir envanter olduğu söylenebilir.
This study sets out to reveal recipients’ perceptions of empathy in interpersonal communication processes in organisations. Thereby, the goal is to highlight empathy’s relevance for promoting and valuing cooperation and well-being in today’s diverse and rapidly changing work environment. Following an exploratory approach, semi-structured interviews considering 20 everyday work situations were conducted. In order to analyse the interviews, the study applies qualitative content analysis using deductive-inductive category formation. The study identifies seven main categories with underlying statements relevant to empathy recipients. Results show that recipients appreciate the experience of receiving empathy, which leads to an improvement in daily interactions. Likewise, the interviewees outline measures that can be used to help individuals receive empathy. To date, these efforts seem to have been rarely put into practice. However, in-depth knowledge of the recipients’ perspective is essential to get a holistic understanding of empathy and its implications in the professional context. By focusing exclusively on the empathy recipients’ perspective, this study makes an innovative contribution to current research and enriches the picture of empathy perception in the professional context, paving the way for an improvement in interpersonal communication in organisations, while, at the same time, offering valuable solutions for present-day challenges, such as uncertainties due to Covid-19.KeywordsWorkplace empathyEmpathy recipientsEmpathic communicationQualitative content analysisExploratory interview study
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Purpose The divide in the conceptualisation of the terms “management” and “leadership” is not clear. The purpose of this paper is to explore the concepts of management and leadership. Design/methodology/approach The approach of the study followed a synthesis review and also applied content analysis, identifying the tasks constituting management and leadership respectively. Findings The findings of the literature review demonstrated that the concepts of management and leadership are intertwined. The word “management” has French and Italian roots, while the word “leadership” has Greek and Latin roots. Essentially, though, these words are synonymous. All of the tasks fall within the boundaries of management, while leadership tasks overlap with management. Unlike management, leadership has no distinct task that falls exclusively within its boundary. Practical implications Implications of the findings of the study include debate regarding how practising managers can know what is expected of them if the literature is unclear on the distinction between these concepts, and playing down the demonstrated need and relevance of management. Originality/value This paper is original as no previous work on management and leadership has attempted to compare the content of these concepts.
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Purpose – Organisations sometimes select and promote the wrong individuals for managerial positions. These individuals may be incompetent, they may be manipulators and bullies. They are not the best people for the job and yet not only are they selected for positions of authority and responsibility, they are sometimes promoted repeatedly until their kind populate the highest levels of the organisational hierarchy. The purpose of this paper is to address this phenomenon by attempting to explain why it occurs and why organisational members tolerate such destructive practices. It concludes by proposing a cultural strategy to protect the organisation and its stakeholders from the ambitious machinations of the organisational sociopath. Design/methodology/approach – The authors develop an explanatory framework by attempting to combine elements of the theory of memetics with structuration theory. Memetic theory helps to analyse culture and communication of beliefs, ideas, and thoughts. Structuration theory can be used to identify motives and drives. A combination of these theoretical approaches can be used to identify the motives of organisational sociopaths. Such a tool is also useful for exploring the high level of organisation tolerance for sociopathic managers. Findings – Organisational tolerance and acceptance for sociopathic managerial behaviour appears to be a consequence of cultural and structural complexity. While this has been known for some time, few authors have posited an adequate range of explanations and solutions to protect stakeholders and prevent the sociopath from exploiting organisational weaknesses. Reduction of cultural and structural complexity may provide a partial solution. Transparency, communication of strong ethical values, promotion based on performance, directed cooperation, and rewards that reinforce high performing and acceptable behaviour are all necessary to protect against individuals with sociopathic tendencies. Originality/value – The authors provide a new cultural diagnostic tool by combining elements of memetic theory with elements of structuration theory. The subsequent framework can be used to protect organisations from becoming the unwitting victims of sociopaths seeking to realise and fulfil their needs and ambitions through a managerial career path.
In this article, we review the history of the social scientific study of leadership and the prevailing theories of leadership that enjoy empirical support. We demonstrate that the development of knowledge concerning leadership phenomena has been truly cumulative and that much is currently known about leadership. We identify the contributions of the trait, behavioral, contingency and neocharismatic paradigms and the results of empirical research on prevailing theories. Issues that warrant research in each of the paradigms and theories are described. Ten additional topics for further investigation are discussed and specific recommendations are made with regard to future research on each of these topics.
Many studies have reported that business students have been more apt to act in self-interested ways when compared to their counterparts in other academic fields. Beginning with the premise that ethical behavior derives in part from personality characteristics, the authors tested whether (a) measures of an empathetic or narcissistic personality predicted self-reported ethical decision making in business students and (b) individual business majors have a tendency to exhibit these personality traits. First, findings demonstrate that empathetic and narcissistic personality traits are significant predictors of ethical decision making. Second, they found that finance majors showed a marked and statistically significant tendency to be less empathetic and more narcissistic as compared to other business students.