As an emerging paradigm, authentic leadership has attracted increasing interest. Our study contributes to developing authentic leadership theory, from a sociological and philosophical perspective, using a case study methodology in the Chinese context. Using interviews and observations in eight Chinese organizations, we examine the Western authentic leadership model and develop a theory of authentic leadership in the Chinese context. Chinese authentic leaders concentrate on being authentic to ‘the self’, consistent with the Western literature, but place even greater emphasis on being authentic to ‘the context’ of daily practice. Thus, we propose a new authentic leadership model that dynamically integrates the two categories of authenticity, supported by evidence derived in the Chinese context.
- authentic leadership
- relational authenticity