An African Theory of Good Leadership

African Journal of Business Ethics 12 (2):36-53 (2018)
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Abstract

This article draws on the indigenous African intellectual tradition to ground a moral-philosophical theory of leadership that is intended to rival accounts prominent in the East Asian and Western traditions. After providing an interpretation of the characteristically sub-Saharan value of communion, the article advances a philosophical account of a good leader as one who creates, sustains and enriches communal relationships and enables others to do so. The article then applies this account to a variety of topics, including what the final end of an organisation should be, how decisions ought to be made within it, who counts as a stakeholder and how to deal with non-performing or misbehaving employees. For each topic, the article notes respects in which Afro-communal leadership supports approaches that differ from those prescribed by other, more internationally familiar philosophies such as Confucianism and Kantian contract theory, and it suggests that its implications are prima facie attractive relative to them.

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Thaddeus Metz
Cornell University (PhD)

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