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The emergence of the 21st century was plagued with extensive, evasive and disheartening leadership failures. Moral and ethical deficiencies were prevalent in many charismatic, dynamic and seemingly transformational leaders that had risen to prominence in both the public and private sectors. In response, leadership and management theorists began to place a renewed emphasis on the importance of ethics and morality in exemplary leaders, and a plethora of values based leadership (VBL) theories emerged. VBL behaviors are styles that have a moral, authentic and ethical dimension. This study examines the prevailing literature and research on the various constructs rooted in VBL. It identifies three constructs: (a) authentic (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Gardner, Avolio, Luthans, May, & Walumbwa, 2005; George, 2003; Luthans & Avolio, 2003), (b) ethical (Brown et al., 2005), and transformational leadership (Bass, 1985; Bass, 1990; Bass & Avolio, 1990; Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999) that are considered the most emphasized behaviors in the VBL literature and examines the literature streams and progression of research for each of these VBL theories. The study identifies literature that supports that when these VBL behaviors are found in leaders, the leaders are evaluated as more effective by subordinates. The purpose is to provide a summary of the seminal VBL literature to date and provide recommendations for future research and study.


Article © 2014 School Business and Leadership, Regent University. Published in International Journal of Leadership Studies.

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