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03-06-2020 | Original Paper | Issue 1/2021

Journal of Business Ethics 1/2021

On Becoming and Being an Ethical Leader: A Platonic Interpretation

Journal:
Journal of Business Ethics > Issue 1/2021
Author:
Stelios Zyglidopoulos
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Abstract

The question of whether ethical individuals have a disadvantage in becoming leaders is an important one that has not been adequately discussed in the business ethics/leadership literature. In this paper, drawing on Plato’s middle dialogues and particularly on the Republic, I develop a Platonic framework of the constraints that might hinder the emergence of what the dialogues term ‘philosopher kings’. Subsequently, I use this framework to elucidate the emergence of ethical leaders in todays’ organizations and conclude with a discussion of this paper’s implications for the ethical leadership literature.

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