This time from Africa: developing a relational approach to values-driven leadership

Pérezts, M., Russon, J.-A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3013-8807 and Painter, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7846-7220, 2019. This time from Africa: developing a relational approach to values-driven leadership. Journal of Business Ethics. ISSN 0167-4544

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The importance of relationality in ethical leadership has been the focus of recent attention in business ethics scholarship. However, this relational component has not been sufficiently theorized from different philosophical perspectives, allowing specific Western philosophical conceptions to dominate the leadership development literature. This paper offers a theoretical analysis of the relational ontology that informs various conceptualizations of selfhood from both African and Western philosophical traditions and unpacks its implications for values-driven leadership. We aim to broaden Western conceptions of leadership development by drawing on twentieth century European philosophy’s insights on relationality, but more importantly, to show how African philosophical traditions precede this literature in its insistence on a relational ontology of the self. To illustrate our theoretical argument, we reflect on an executive education course called values-driven leadership into action, which ran in South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt in 2016, 2017, and 2018. We highlight an African-inspired employment of relationality through its use of the ME-WE-WORLD framework, articulating its theoretical assumptions with embodied experiential learning.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Business Ethics
Creators: Pérezts, M., Russon, J.-A. and Painter, M.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 15 November 2019
ISSN: 0167-4544
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Nov 2019 11:05
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2019 14:11

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