Ethical leaders, ethical followers – a public talk

Monday 29 February Aras an Phairsaigh, TCD Room 0.09 from 1700-1900 


Yiannis Gabriel University of Bath 

This presentation will interrogate the moral standing of leaders not from any particular philosophical or political vantage point, but rather from that of the followers. Followers expect leaders to be competent (just as they expect professionals and others); but they also expect leaders to provide moral leadership. Followers frequently judge leaders by standards of morality that are considerably harsher than those by which they judge other people; they may also forgive leaders of sins that they would not forgive in others. As a result, leaders are often cast in black and white terms as either saints or devils. The presentation will argue that criteria used to judge leaders are rooted in fantasy and myth as well as early life experiences. It will conclude by linking the moral standing of leadership to the ethics of care and by the leaders’ perceived ability and willingness to care for their followers. This creates a fundamental dilemma – should the leader treat all followers equally or each according to his/her need?
Professor Gabriel is a world renowned expert in qualitative research. Professor of Organizational Studies in Bath, he has published numerous works in the leading organization journals. He is at present Senior Editor of Organization Studies. He is well known for his work into organizational storytelling and narratives, leadership, management learning and the culture and politics of contemporary consumption. He has used stories as a way of studying numerous social and organizational phenomena including leader-follower relations, group dynamics and fantasies, nostalgia, insults and apologies. He has also carried out extensive research on the psychoanalysis of organizations.

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