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Leaders and decision making: A study of the drivers of courage



Interest in leadership effectiveness and failure has led scholars to investigate the underlying factors. Courage has been evoked as an essential component of character in effective leaders. Kidder and Bracy (2001) posit that courage lays the foundation for other virtues and values to emerge and develop in leaders. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to explore the drivers of courage in leaders at various decision making moments in their career and life. To this aim, a qualitative narrative analysis of sixty stories extracted from structured interviews of fourteen Mauritian leaders was carried out. The principal results indicate leadership skills are not sufficient for a leader to act courageously, and that both internal and external drivers of courage are required for courageous leadership. In addition, some of the internal drivers of courage such as Values & Beliefs and Self-Consciousness are closely linked to dimensions of authentic leadership. Therefore, organizations or leadership programs that are interested in developing and maintaining qualities of effective leadership should develop support systems that further the internal and external drivers of courage. However, because it is found to be the result of a continuous lifetime process, courage should be encouraged and integrated early in educational curriculum.
“Leaders and decision making: a study of the drivers of courage
AUTHORS Rasoava Rijamampianina
Rasoava Rijamampianina (2018). Leaders and decision making: a study of
the drivers of courage.
Problems and Perspectives in Management
(1), 320-329. doi:10.21511/ppm.16(1).2018.31
RELEASED ON Tuesday, 20 March 2018
RECEIVED ON Tuesday, 01 August 2017
ACCEPTED ON Saturday, 23 September 2017
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial 4.0 International License
JOURNAL "Problems and Perspectives in Management"
ISSN PRINT 1727-7051
ISSN ONLINE 1810-5467
PUBLISHER LLC “Consulting Publishing Company “Business Perspectives”
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
Interest in leadership eectiveness and failure has led scholars to investigate the un-
derlying factors. Courage has been evoked as an essential component of character in
eective leaders. Kidder and Bracy (2001) posit that courage lays the foundation for
other virtues and values to emerge and develop in leaders. erefore, the purpose of
the study is to explore the drivers of courage in leaders at various decision making
moments in their career and life. To this aim, a qualitative narrative analysis of sixty
stories extracted from structured interviews of fourteen Mauritian leaders was carried
out. e principal results indicate leadership skills are not sucient for a leader to act
courageously, and that both internal and external drivers of courage are required for
courageous leadership. In addition, some of the internal drivers of courage such as
Values & Beliefs and Self-Consciousness are closely linked to dimensions of authen-
tic leadership. erefore, organizations or leadership programs that are interested in
developing and maintaining qualities of eective leadership should develop support
systems that further the internal and external drivers of courage. However, because it is
found to be the result of a continuous lifetime process, courage should be encouraged
and integrated early in educational curriculum.
Rasoava Rijamampianina (Botswana)
LLC “P “Business Perspectives
Hryhorii Skovoroda lane, 10, Sumy,
40022, Ukraine
Leaders and decision
making: a study
of the drivers of courage
Received on: 1 of August, 2017
Accepted on: 23 of September, 2017
Post Enron era, the research of the determinants of leaders’ suc-
cesses and failures has attracted many scholars (Svensson & Wood,
2006; Burke, 2006). In particular, the presence of courage and char-
acter appears to be linked to eective leadership and positive follow-
ership (Tait, 1996; Mahoney, 2001; Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999; Barlow,
Jordan, & Hendrix, 2003; Sarros, Cooper, & Hartican, 2006). Similarly
to leadership, several denitions of courage exist (Schilpzand, 2008).
One denition states that courage corresponds to the sacrice of one’s
personal benet in the short term in order to achieve a higher order
goal for the organization despite fear due to risks, threat and potential
Conducting an empirical study in the United States, Hannah, Avolio,
and Walumbwa (2011) evidenced that moral courage in leaders pre-
dicted ethical and pro-social behaviors amongst followers. However,
despite a growing interest (Amos & Klimoski, 2014; Koerner, 2014;
Schilpzand et al., 2014), a deeper understanding on the relationship
between leadership and courage is lacking.
erefore, this research aims to analyze the drivers of courage in lead-
ers at critical decision-making moments. In addition, the study aims
© Rasoava Rijamampianina, 2018
Rasoava Rijamampianina, Professor,
(Madagascar), African Graduate
Institute of Leadership & Entreprise,
is is an Open Access article,
distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-
Commercial 4.0 International license,
which permits re-use, distribution,
and reproduction, provided the
materials aren’t used for commercial
purposes and the original work is
properly cited.
courage, decision-making, leadership, authentic
leadership, identity
JEL Classification M10, Z00
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
to determine whether the drivers of courage are innate, developed, or both amongst leaders. To this
aim, a narrative analysis of sixty stories extracted from structured interviews of fourteen leaders in
Mauritius was conducted.
is article is structured as follows: the rst section presents the current literature review on courage
and leadership and the drivers of courage. It is followed by the methodology used to determine the driv-
ers. Finally, the ndings of the research are presented and discussed.
1.1. The concept of courage
Courage is derived from the French language and
signies “heart and spirit”. Philosophers such
as Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas viewed courage
as a cardinal virtue (Kateb, 2004). Similarly to
Socrates, scholars (Tilich, 1952; Walton, 1990) as-
similate courageous acts as the self-armation of
one’s values and ideals involving rationality and
Although courage initially referred to physical
courage, various forms of courage have been iden-
tied. In psychology, physical, social, moral, cre-
ative and psychological courage co-exist (Putman,
2001). Various other forms have been dened such
as moral courage (Kidder et al., 2001), managerial
courage (Lombardo & Eichinger, 2004; Sekerka
et al., 2009), and vital courage (Snyder & Lopez,
2009). Individual courage is a complex construct
that occurs in a risky situation (Amos & Klimoski,
2014) and might be driven by internal and external
forces. In addition, it is interesting to determine
whether courage is innate in individuals or is so-
cially constructed (Walton, 1990).
1.2. Courage in leadership
theories and management
Many leadership theories such as servant leader-
ship, ethical leadership and responsible leadership
are rooted in values-based leadership (Reilly &
Ehlinger, 2007). erefore, courage is present in
these theories. In ethical leadership, moral cour-
age plays a role in long-term decision-making
(Voegtlin, 2016). e construct of courage is found
within Idealized inuence and Inspirational moti-
vation of transformational leadership (Bass, 1990)
because they both require for leaders to act in the
benet of the group, and to provide assurance
(Dionne et al., 2004). Authentic leadership holds
that authentic leaders being condent, hopeful,
optimistic, resilient and of high moral charac-
ter have a predisposition for displaying courage
(Avolio et al., 2004).
Scholars have linked leadership failure to lack of
character and moral bearings (Burke, 2006; Allen
& Klenke, 2009). Lack of courage in followers is
also evoked as a culprit for bad leadership (Allio,
2009). George and McLean (2007) argue that un-
successful leaders possess three destructive behav-
iors, namely rationalizing their failures and prob-
lems away, not admitting mistakes and avoiding
close relationships, which are behind the lack of
courage. Similarly Aprigliano (2000) argues that
courage is continuously developed from the inter-
action between the self and life experiences.
In business literature, courage nds its place as a
management virtue (Harris, 2013). e manage-
rial competency called professional moral courage
(PMC) encompasses moral agency, multiple val-
ues, endurance of threats, going beyond compli-
ance and moral goals (Sekerka et al., 2009).
Courage to challenge in leaders is found to cre-
ate cohesive and supporting groups in organiza-
tions (Wang et al., 2011). Furthermore, it leads to
an organizational culture that nurtures creativ-
ity and innovation. Jablin (2006) adds that cour-
age in leaders guarantees leadership commit-
ment as courage is linked to values and principles.
However, it should be noted that courage does not
necessarily result in moral acts or decisions.
1.3. The drivers of courage
Emotions are found to play a role in the display
of managerial courage (Harbour, 2007; Harbour
& Kisfalvi, 2014). Specically, Harbour evidenced
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
the importance of “emotion intensity and con-
trol” in enabling the shi from “courage to act” to
“courage to be”. Similarly to Schilpzand (2008), the
author also acknowledges the importance of expe-
rience to the emotions. Lerner, Li, Valdesolo and
Kassam (2015) argue that emotion and cognition
continuously interact during the decision-making
process. Harbour found that courageous decisions
are favored by self-condence which requires what
Schilpzand (2008) labels courage disposition.
In this model, Rate (2007) found that courage is
triggered by external factors, and internal fac-
tors such as a motivation towards excellence and
the capacity of a conscious decision. By contrast,
studying the military environment, Schilpzand
(2008) argues that a courage personality does
not exist but circumstances will lead to a cou-
rageous act. According to her findings, values
and personality could be similar, but courage
could be predicted in a leader who had a cour-
age predisposition.
Goud (2005) found that fear, appropriate action
and purpose resulted in courage. Pury Kowalski
and Spearman (2007) posit that by contrast with
personal courage, and despite greater diculty,
general courage was associated with more con-
dence, less fear and fewer limitations. April et al.
(2010) found several ethics external and internal
enablers in courage amongst such as conscience,
integrity or critical moments.
Koerner (2014) by emphasizing the role of identity
in courage development pinpoints the importance
of the context.
Courageous acts emerge in critical decision-mak-
ing situations also referred by as fateful, crucible
moments or turning points (omson et. al., 2002;
Bennis & omas, 2002). Courage is found to be a
subjective process resulting from internal and ex-
ternal forces such as traits, social forces, values, be-
liefs, positive states and risk perception (Hannah
et al., 2011). e risk perception triggers fear which
will be moderated by the various forces. is pro-
cess can be reective and iterative and results in a
courageous act or a courage predisposition.
Eight themes identied as courage drivers by
scholars are: (i)internal conditions such as traits
and individual characteristics, (ii)risk, (iii)worth-
while goal, (iv) disposition, (v) external condi-
tions, (v i)courage to be, (vii)courage to act, and
(viii)fear (Rate et al., 2007; Hannah et al., 2011;
Harbour, 2007; Goud, 2005).
Similarly to Hannah et al. (2011), this study focus-
es on the drivers of courage as reected upon by
the participant himself. e construct of courage
is organized around three dimensions: courage
disposition (internal traits, self-condence), com-
munity (group maintenance, values, norms, mo-
rality) and situation (risk, threat, uncertainty, fear,
consequences, worthwhile goals).
e study aimed to determine the drivers of cour-
age from the story told and constructed by the
leader himself. is approach allowed the leaders
to form a meaning for their courageous act as they
would tell their experiences. erefore, a qualita-
tive method based on the paradigm of post-mod-
ernism was used (Hassard, 1994).
2.1. Participants
e study used purposive and theoretical sam-
pling coupled with a snowball strategy (Atkinson
& Flint, 2001). e selected leader participants
were all at the executive level, had extensive expe-
riences in leadership and courage, and had a de-
gree of trust with the researcher.
e nal selected participants were a homoge-
neous group (Polkinghorne, 2007). Fourteen lead-
ers in Mauritius were studied from an initial list of
y selected leaders. Seven of them were CEOs of
dierent types of companies, associations or NGO.
ree of them were former ministers. One partici-
pant was an entrepreneur. One participant was a
director and one participant was a chairman.
To assess the required number of interviews,
data saturation and variability were calculated
through an experiment similarly to Guest, Bunce
and Johnson (2006). Saturation was reached aer
twelve interviews. In total, sixty stories on cour-
age and leadership were obtained and analyzed.
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
2.2. Research tool
e instrument for data collection was unstruc-
tured in-depth interviews to allow exibility. e
story was co-constructed by the storyteller and
the researcher (Rogan & de Kock, 2005).
An interview protocol was prepared and two ques-
tions were asked:
1. Recall times when others have displayed cour-
age in their lives. Tell me about them.
2. Now recall a time when you displayed courage.
Each of the questions was then followed by further
inquiries. e whole interview was in conversa-
tional style. On average each interview lasted for
45 to 60 minutes.
2.3. Unit of analysis
In this study, every story is a unit of analysis.
Moen (2006) argues that narratives are good
units of analysis because of their completeness.
Specically, the leaders were allowed to delve into
their stories. In addition, this allowed to get a pic-
ture of the environment and the culture surround-
ing the courageous act.
A narrative analysis approach was used to analyze
the data for the study as the meaning of the story
from the leader viewpoint was important for the
e approach consisted of seven phases of analy-
sis (including cycles of coding) of the narratives
using Atlas Ti. e three dimensional space ap-
proach (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Ollerenshaw
& Creswell, 2002) was used to extract stories from
the transcriptions of the interviews. ese stories
were analyzed further using the dialogic/performa-
tive analysis (Riessman, 2008) including a number of
cycles-coding. emes emerged from the third-cycle
coding phase. Final cross-participant and cross-sto-
ry analysis was carried out. is was followed by the
emergence of the nal meta-stories.
e results are substantiated by trustworthiness
ensured by an analysis similar to Tobin and Begley
(2004). erefore, a particular attention was devot-
ed to the credibility, transferability, dependability,
conrmability and authenticity of the results.
e formulation of the research questions for the
study was conformed to the intention to use nar-
rative analysis. Regarding the analysis, this con-
sisted in the automatic transcription post-inter-
views. is allowed questions to be reviewed for
the next interviews. Whenever possible, the anal-
ysis of the dierent interviews was conducted si-
multaneously. An iterative process was, therefore,
set up during the analysis of the data requiring the
intellectual involvement of the researcher.
5.1. First cycle coding results
Table 1 displays the results found aer the rst-
cycle coding according to the participants.
e results of the rst-coding indicate that identity
tensions, change or response to challenge are the
most frequently cited as a driver of a courageous act.
Support is also mentioned recurrently as playing
a role in courageous act. One of the participants
resumed that support was needed because “the de-
cisions that they are going to make are decisions
which are extremely painful”.
However, the variety of codes found and their dis-
tribution amongst the participants shows that ma-
ny drivers of courage co-exist.
5.2. Results of the second and third
cycle coding
is process consisted in a second and third cycle
coding similarly to Riessman (2008) performance
analysis. First-cycle order codes were grouped un-
der a second-cycle order categories according to
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
commonalities which in turn were grouped un-
der themes identied as the drivers of courage.
e following four main drivers of courage were
found: (i)greater cause, (ii)support, (iii)internal
disposition enablers, and (iv) sacricing some-
thing. Table 2 presents the identied drivers of
courage detailed and their distribution per par-
ticipant in the study.
Internal disposition enablers were diverse and
comprised of calculated risk taking, emotional
balance and control, self-consciousness, values
and beliefs, spirituality, perseverance and focus,
ownership and independency, positive and for-
ward-looking and prior experience. Fear is includ-
ed in calculated risk-taking and emotional bal-
ance and control. Some participants explained the
need to be true to themselves. Some participants
viewed their acts of courage as a manifestation of
their deep self. Some participants evoked the ap-
peal of the act of courage. Other participants in-
dicate a spiritual or higher dimension in their act.
For instance, one participant evokes God. Self-
conviction, self-respect, self-realization about an
Table 1. Summary of the rst cycle coding
Codes after first-cycle coding 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Organizational change x x x
Change of career x x x
Response to challenges x x x x x x
Identity tensions xxxxxx xxxxxx
Support x x x x x x
Political instabilit y x
Presence of risk x x x
Internal values x x x
Ethical and moral stand x
Principles and conviction x
Interests of the larger community x x x x x
Identity clash x x x
Identity alignment x
Sense of sacrifice x x x x x
Living with consequences of risk-taking x x x x
Being focused with perseverance x x x x
Conflicts x
Change new terms contract x
Independency of institution x
Acting on principle x
Passion and enthusiasm x
Culture x
Upbringing x x x x
Prior preparation x
Luck x
Proactive vision x x x x x
Spirituality, God x x
Childhood experiences x
Prior courageous incident x
Intuition x
Thinking x
Problem-solving skills x
Being creative and innovative x
Communication x x
Negotiation skills x
Rational thought x
Independency x
Sticking to the law or rules x
Inspiration from others x
Having a purpose mission in life x
Conviction x
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
unfair system, fearlessness or control of the fear,
prior experience, tough experience are stated by
the participants in preparedness in performing
an act of courage. Self-control of emotions was
indicated to be a driver of courage. Some leaders
indicated they had a feeling of ownership in the
situation when acting courageously. Lastly, par-
ticipants admitted that they had qualities of focus
and perseverance. One of the participants indicat-
ed passion as a driver for courage.
Greater cause comprised of the interests of the
larger community, the focus on the organization
despite pressure, being a role model, having a pur-
pose in life, being fair to all and impacting life. A
participant who was a politician acted because he
was convinced it would be good for the country.
Another participant acted to defend the rights of
the people and to bring positive changes to society.
One participant stated, it was important for him to
be an example for his children and, therefore, he
acted accordingly. One participant argued that fo-
cusing on the bigger goal gave him courage to act.
Support was emphasized as being a signicant
and needed driver for the participants. It is di-
vided between support from remote stakehold-
ers such as peers, colleagues support, unexpected
individuals or even strangers, and support from
close stakeholders such as family, friends, or local
Sacricing something was necessary to be able
to perform the courageous act according to some
of the participants. Some of them were conscious
about the consequences, while others were unable
to measure their extent. One participant indicated
that he did not take care of the consequences as
doing the right thing was more important. Some
participants reected that they had to live with the
consequences of their acts. Some added that act-
ing with courage in leadership involved a personal
6.1. Drivers of courage
in literature
Some of the drivers of courage in the study are
found in the literature on courage and leader-
ship. The internal driver Values and Beliefs is
close to the driver Foundational Attributes
which includes beliefs and principles of
Aprigliano study on transformational leadership
(2000). Moreover, calculated risk-taking and
prior experience are also similar to Aprigliano
Contemplative Actions and Life Experiences. In
addition, similarly to Harbour (2008) who stud-
ied courageous acts in leaders, this study found
that self-confidence and prior experience were
important elements for courage to emerge in de-
cision-making. This research found some exter-
nal drivers of courage, respectively Support and
Greater Cause, which are consistent with Rate et
Table 2. The drivers of courage
Drivers of courage Participants
12345678910 11 12 13 14
Internal disposition enablers
Positive & forward-looking X X X X
Prior experience X X X X X X X X
Self-consciousness X X X X X X X
Calculated risk-taking X X X X
Emotional balance & control X X X X
Values & belief X X X X X X X X X X X
Spirituality X X X
Perseverance & focus X X X X X X X
Ownership & independence X X X X X X X X X
External drivers of courage
Support X X X X X X X X X X X
Sacrificing something X X X X X X X X X X X X
Greater cause X X X X X X X X X
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
al. (2007) research who argue for the presence
of external circumstances for courage to mani-
fest. The Internal Disposition courage drivers
are also found in April et al. (2010) research on
ethics enablers in leadership such as upbringing,
spirituality, role models, integrity, self-control,
and conscience.
The study found Emotional Control & Balance
as a driver of courage. This is consistent with
Rate et al. (2007) who found the role of emo-
tions although they are relegated to a marginal
role in courage in his research. The results indi-
cated that fear and purpose are drivers of cour-
age similarly to two of Goud’s (2005) dimension
of courage. The importance of support in coura-
geous act is also found in Koerner (2014) study
which argues the importance of social forces.
Participants in the study emphasize the positive
importance of support from their family.
This study has revealed new drivers and
sub-drivers of courage such as Ownership
and Independence, Perseverance and focus,
Sacrificing, Self-consciousness and Spiritual
6.2. External and
internal drivers
e study evidenced the importance of both exter-
nal and internal drivers of courage for the partici-
pants as suggested by Table 2. For all of the par-
ticipants, internal and external drivers of courage
were simultaneously present. erefore, courage
cannot be considered as an internal construct.
Furthermore, neither external nor internal drivers
take precedence on the other type of driver.
In terms of distribution, there is not necessarily a
common/similar distribution of external or inter-
nal drivers among the participants.
e importance of the driver support suggests that
the existence of a supporting mechanism inside
the organization can help fostering courageous
acts similarly to what Harris (2003) suggested. In
addition, the results of the research might suggest
that shared organizational values or culture that
are directed towards a great or strong cause might
favor courage amongst leaders.
6.3. Courage and authentic
leadership theory
ree of the drivers of courage found in this study are
similar to characteristics that drive authentic lead-
ers namely Values & Beliefs, Self-consciousness, and
Emotional Balance & Control. Authentic leadership
is characterized by four components: self-awareness,
unbiased processing, authentic action and relational
transparency (Luthans et al., 2006).
One characteristic of authentic leaders is that they
are true to themselves and possess a strong self-
knowledge (Avolio et al., 2004; Steens et al., 2016).
As argued by Luthans et al. (2006) this strong self-
knowledge helps authentic leaders in decision-mak-
ing. ey are true to themselves (Michie & Gooty,
2005). In addition, authentic leaders adhere to their
values when making decisions. In this study, Values
& Beliefs is similar to internalized moral perspec-
tive (Walumbwa et al., 2007) which calls integrity in
behavior. One participant expressed that if he didn’t
demonstrate courage he wouldn’t feel at peace with
himself which is a characteristic of an authentic lead-
er. Emotions and values also play a signicant role in
authentic leadership (Michie et al., 2005). One of the
participants stated that decision-making was a mix
of intuition, thinking, integrity and values. Identity
is a component of self-awareness (Luthans et al.,
2006). e study found Identity Tensions was a re-
current code emerging in the stories of courageous
acts. is indicates that the leaders were self-con-
scious of their identities but also aware of the social
context. Luthans et al. (2006) argue that emotions
are also a component of authentic leaders. e study
found that self-awareness of emotions was a driver
of courage for the participants. Participants empha-
sized that their emotions were under control in or-
der to act courageously. One participant indicated he
had “to appeal to the brain”.
Being positive and forward-looking is a characteris-
tic of authentic leaders (Voetglin, 2015).
Despite courage being not explicit in authentic lead-
ership, the drivers found in this study conrm that
courage is a characteristic to be studied in authentic
leadership. is is an interesting nding for authen-
tic leadership theory as recent literature has shown
the positive benets of authentic leaders for organi-
zations (Steens et al., 2016).
Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 16, Issue 1, 2018
e results of the study indicate that the drivers of courage have an important role in decision-making
for leaders. erefore, courage development has a place in leadership development programs.
More specically, fostering courage is found to help developing qualities associated with authentic lead-
ers. is is particularly relevant since growing research shows the importance of authentic leaders in
positively inspiring followership in organizations (Steens et al., 2016; Gardner & Carlson, 2015). is
fosters behaviors of trust, creativity and innovativeness.
However, given that both internal and external drivers have an important role in driving courageous
acts, a training program is insucient to develop courageous leaders. Courage development is a lifelong
journey that can start at an early age. Developing courage should be part of educational programs in
schools or educational programs as the study shows the importance of experience. Moreover, these pro-
grams should take into account the importance of realizing the self for individuals. But also the ability
to self-reect. In addition, support groups, coaching or mentoring programs can be set up to support
courage development. is support can be focused on internal and external drivers of courage. is is
particularly relevant for organizations that want to develop authentic leaders.
erefore, a developed organizational support and strong values in organizations can help create, en-
courage and should reward courageous leaders.
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... In addition, it means to go beyond the comfort by fighting for what is right (Daft, 2005). Aprigliano (2000) cited in Rijamampianina (2018) argues that courage can be developed while interacting with life situations and experiences. ...
... It is therefore worthwhile for the principals to know that their courageous characters may enable them to accomplish the goals of the schools if appropriate demonstrated. The study was in line with the study of Aprigliano (2000) as cited in Rijamampianina (2018) who argued that courage can be continuously developed while interacting between situation and life experiences. The study was equally allied with the study of Barker and Coy (2003) who suggested that courage is required while facing risks that may harm a leader. ...
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This paper reports the results of a survey that appraised the leadership characters exhibited by secondary school principals in Osun State Secondary Schools, Nigeria. The study adopted quantitative approach of design. Population of the study comprised all 7,767 teachers and sample of 390 was selected using simple random and purposive sampling techniques. An instrument was used to gather data. Data collected were analysed using mean, standard deviation (SD) and T-Test. The findings showed that principals demonstrated their accountability (̅=3.09), courageous (̅=3.07), justice (̅=3.02), and, collaborative (̅=2.95) characters. The study further indicated that there was no significant difference between the courageous (t-cal=64.91; df=310; p (0.612) ˃0.05), collaborative (t-cal=71.88; df=310; p (0.736) ˃0.05), accountability (t-cal=72.89; df=310; p (0.594) ˃0.05) and justice characters (t-cal=69.81; df=310; p (0.612) ˃0.05) demonstrated by male and female principals in the study area. The study concluded that both the male and female principals in the study area exhibited their accountability, courageous, justice and collaborative characters.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyone’s routines, including frontline workers, causing psychological distress and lowering their quality of life. As a result, this research was conducted to determine the meaning of life and the courage of Malaysian COVID-19 frontliners. Using purposive and snowball sampling, twenty-one frontliners from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were recruited for this interpretative phenomenology study. The findings indicate that Malaysian frontliners derive meaning from the human connection in their professional and personal lives, which instills a feeling of dedication as they contribute to social welfare, particularly during this critical period. In addition, they engage in spiritual activities and maintain a positive attitude to achieve life satisfaction, which is regarded as a component of their life’s meaning. Furthermore, frontline workers are courageous in fighting the pandemic because it is their obligation, and they have a strong family and coworkers’ support system. While frontliners must maintain their psychological well-being, they are subjected to work hazards daily, contributing to their impression of courage. The findings could provide an outreach program organized by the government through webinars. In that manner, it would allocate a sense of reassurance to the frontliners. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the perception of meaning in life and the courage of the Malaysian COVID-19 frontliners to rekindle their work spirit despite experiencing an overwhelming workload objectively.
This chapter provides a mental and emotional framework to help readers understand how to deal with challenging situations, both, those we can and those we cannot change. It reflects first on the long-standing concern among members in society when it comes to the behaviors of leaders. The short-term, excessive profit focus at the expense of the well-being of living stakeholders is at the core of this concern. This chapter subsequently introduces us to the need for and the concept of wakefulness, briefly analyzes a series of contemporary leadership styles, and subsequently lays out a behavioral road map for those interested in adopting a reflective, “awakened” leadership approach, built on value-based, ethical, trust-driven, visionary, respectful, passionate, committed, compassionate, kind, forgiving, courageous, loving, attentive, inspired, authentic, connected, multidimensional, fulfilled, initiative-oriented, and change-focused qualities.
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This paper extends research on ethical leadership by proposing a responsibility orientation for leaders. Responsible leadership is based on the concept of leaders who are not isolated from the environment, who critically evaluate prevailing norms, are forward looking, share responsibility, and aim to solve problems collectively. Adding such a responsibility orientation helps to address critical issues that persist in research on ethical leadership. The paper discusses important aspects of responsible leadership, which include being able to make informed ethical judgments about prevailing norms and rules, communicating effectively with stakeholders, engaging in long-term thinking and in perspective taking, displaying moral courage, and aspiring to positive change. Furthermore, responsible leadership means actively engaging stakeholders, encouraging participative decision making, and aiming for shared problem solving. A case study that draws on in-depth interviews with the representatives of businesses and nongovernmental organizations illustrates the practical relevance of thinking about responsibility and reveals the challenges of responsible leadership.
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This study focuses on the intersection of identity dynamics and workplace courage. I examine accounts of courage submitted by business professionals and articulate the identity processes underlying the accounts. The narratives illustrate four storylines that reflect four distinct forms of courage and one storyline that reflects a lack of courage. In the accounts, identity tensions precipitate courageous acts, and courage-based identity work is used to reconcile the tensions. The findings suggest that in accounts of workplace courage, courageous behavior is viewed as an important form of identity work that helps individuals to minimize incongruities between their self-and social identities.
The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology studies the burgeoning field of positive psychology, which, in recent years, has transcended academia to capture the imagination of the general public. The book provides a roadmap for the psychology needed by the majority of the population-those who don't need treatment, but want to achieve the lives to which they aspire. The articles summarize all of the relevant literature in the field, and each is essentially defining a lifetime of research. The content's breadth and depth provide a cross-disciplinary look at positive psychology from diverse fields and all branches of psychology, including social, clinical, personality, counseling, school, and developmental psychology. Topics include not only happiness-which has been perhaps misrepresented in the popular media as the entirety of the field-but also hope, strengths, positive emotions, life longings, creativity, emotional creativity, courage, and more, plus guidelines for applying what has worked for people across time and cultures.
Organizations constitute morally-complex environments, requiring organization members to possess levels of moral courage sufficient to promote their ethical action, while refraining from unethical actions when faced with temptations or pressures. Using a sample drawn from a military context, we explored the antecedents and consequences of moral courage. Results from this four-month field study demonstrated that authentic leadership was positively related to followers’ displays of moral courage. Further, followers’ moral courage fully mediated the effects of authentic leadership on followers’ ethical and pro-social behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications for further integrating the work on moral courage, authentic leadership and ethics are discussed.
Drawing on cognitive moral development and moral identity theories, this study empirically examines the moral antecedents and consequences of authentic leadership. Machiavellianism, an individual difference variable relating to the use of the ‘end justifies the means’ principle, is predicted to affect the link between morality and leadership. Analyses of multi-source, multi-method data comprised case studies, simulations, role-playing exercises, and survey questionnaires were completed by 70 managers in a large public agency, and provide support for our hypotheses. Our findings reveal that Machiavellianism offsets the positive relationship between moral reasoning and authentic leadership. Specifically, we show that when Machiavellianism is high, both the positive relationship between moral reasoning and authentic leadership, and the positive relationship between authentic leadership and moral actions, are reversed. This study offers new insights on the underlying processes contributing to the emergence of leaders’ authentic behavior and moral action. Implications for the moral development of leaders, and directions for improved leadership training are provided.