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Lessons for leaders: Positive organization studies meets Niccolo Machiavelli

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stewart Clegg


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Machiavelli should be a central and canonical text for management education, even in the age of positive organizational literatures. We give it this role by considering the case of the virtuous leader. Our proposition is simple: virtuous leaders live and act, like anybody else, in the power circuits that are constitutive of reality. Therefore, they participate in power dynamics that sometimes make them face the need to decide in ways that do not correspond to normative positive precepts. Machiavelli shows that even virtuous leaders must do what needs to be done, while trying to preserve one’s values and move in the direction of noble, high purpose goals.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cunha MPe, Clegg SR, Rego A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Leadership

Year: 2013

Volume: 9

Issue: 4

Pages: 450-465

Print publication date: 01/11/2013

ISSN (print): 1742-7150

ISSN (electronic): 1742-7169

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1742715012455355


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