Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 733–745

Impostors Masquerading as Leaders: Can the Contagion be Contained?

Authors

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-007-9588-9

Cite this article as:
Singh, J. J Bus Ethics (2008) 82: 733. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9588-9
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Abstract

Corporate scandals have assumed epidemic proportions. All around the globe, even renowned organizations have been felled from their high pedestals by the misdeeds of their leaders. This raises an intriguing question: How do such resourceful organizations end up with crass ‹impostors’ as leaders in the first place? The answer perhaps lies in the misplaced emphasis on certain qualities we associate with leadership. True leadership requires a balance among three elemental pre-requisites: Energy, Expertise and Integrity. When they are synchronized, they unleash the latent potential in any organization. Out of these three interacting gears of leadership, it is Integrity that ensures that an organization is run in the right direction – with a view towards collective good rather than selfish motives. Therefore, it is the most non-negotiable of the three elements. Henceforth, leaders ought not to be selected on the basis of the superficial qualities that have blinded us in the past. They must first pass the acid test of Integrity. This article suggests a ‹decision tree’ and a ‹checklist’ to help in the selection process.

Keywords

the epidemic of corporate malfeasanceimpostors in leadership rolesthe havoc impostors createthe limitations of corporate governancethe elemental pre-requisites of true leadershipstriking a balance among the three leadership pre-requisites

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007