Authentic leadership theory development: theorizing on Chinese philosophy

Haina Zhang* (Corresponding Author), André M. Everett, Graham Elkin, Malcolm H. Cone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-605
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number4
Early online date21 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • authentic leadership
  • China
  • Confucianism
  • relational authenticity
  • self-authenticity


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