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Authentic leadership development: A theoretical framework and intervention design based on Personal Construct Psychology

Ranieri, A. (2023) Authentic leadership development: A theoretical framework and intervention design based on Personal Construct Psychology. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00112781


Authentic leadership can foster positive personal and organisational outcomes. It can create a positive team climate, help align work with the organisation's mission and values (Luthans and Avolio, 2003), facilitate followers’ eudaemonic well-being (Ilies et al., 2005), encourage consistency and align individual behaviour with others' expectations over time (Sparrowe, 2005). Yet despite its popularity and positive outcomes, defining “authenticity” in leadership remains problematic (Zhu et al., 2019) and the question of the existence of a “true” or “inner” self to which one can be authentic to is still unanswered (Iszatt-White and Kempster, 2019). Furthermore, developmental interventions in the authenticity stream focus on self-awareness and the development of moral qualities, which are not always in line with what leaders may need to be more authentic. In order to improve the impact of developmental interventions, it is essential to create a model based on a well-grounded theoretical understanding of the concept of authenticity. In this study the researcher argues for a redefinition of authenticity that relies on an understanding of identity and addresses questions such as whether a “true” self exists, whether it is possible to always be authentic, and how authenticity emerges and can be developed. After having provided a theoretical perspective on authenticity and its development, the thesis proposes a coherent intervention design based on an adaptation of a constructivist tool called Fixed Role Therapy (Kelly, 1955). This intervention works with identity to develop leaders’ authenticity and it was empirically tested in a multiple case study design. The data of the qualitative analysis are encouraging and show the intervention promotes changes that allow leaders to experience higher level of authenticity. This is coherent with the literature on identity work and play to which the study contributes, strengthening the existing link between identity work and authentic leadership development.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Bourne, D. and Rook, C.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:112781

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