Authentic leadership theory: The case for and against

William l. Gardner, Elizabeth p. Karam, Mats Alvesson, Katja Einola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (SciVal)


Scholarly and practitioner interest in the topic of authentic leadership has grown dramatically over the past two decades. Running parallel to this interest, however, have been a number of concerns regarding the conceptual and methodological underpinnings for research on the construct. In this exchange of letters, the cases for and against the current authentic leadership theory are made. Through a dialogue, several areas of common ground are identified, as well as focal areas where the cases for and against the utility of authentic leadership theory for scholars and practitioners sharply diverge. Suggestions for future theorizing and research that reflect areas of common ground are advanced, along with divergent perspectives on how research on authenticity and leadership should proceed. Despite their differences, both author teams found the dialogue in itself to be a healthy process for theory development and encourage constructive future dialogue on other areas where theoretical perspectives diverge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101495
JournalThe Leadership Quarterly
Issue number6
Early online date7 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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