The Trouble With Transformational Leadership: Toward a Federalist Ethic for Organizations

Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (1):67-96 (1995)
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Popular media, communitarian writings, and recent management literature suggest that communities and organizations are rent by factional mischief: by individuals and groups who pursue their own selfish interests without regard for the common good. An emerging solution to this problem is “transformational” leadership, which seeks to refocus individuals’ attention on highervisions and collective goals. The dangers of such a solution were identified by James Madison at the Constitutional Convention of 1787; and mechanisms to thwart it were designed into the framers’ system of government. This article examines Madison’s objections and the implications of his political theory for the leadership of modern organizations



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