Should Authentic Leaders Value Power? A Study of Leaders’ Values and Perceived Value Congruence

Journal of Business Ethics 156 (4):1027-1044 (2019)
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Although there is consensus that authentic leaders act according to their true values, we have no empirical evidence of what specific values authentic leaders have. While traditional leadership approaches place power at the core of leadership, authentic leadership scholars would argue that benevolence is the value that is central to effective authentic leadership. To date, the questions about whether and when authentic leaders with high power values promote or hurt followers’ performance have not been investigated. Ostensibly, authentic leaders with high power values seem to represent the dark side of authentic leadership. In this paper, we develop a theoretical model and empirically investigate the role that leaders’ power values play in the functioning of authentic leadership. We also test the assumption that authentic leaders with high benevolence values promote followers’ performance. Based on our multilevel analyses of 477 employees in 72 teams, we found that authentic leaders with prominent power values could foster followers’ performance, only when followers’ perceived value congruence was low. Authentic leaders with high benevolence values, however, cultivated followers’ performance unconditionally, regardless of perceived value congruence levels.



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