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The Ethics of Affective Leadership: Organizing Good Encounters Without Leaders

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Iain Munro, Professor Torkild Thanem



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the fundamental question of ‘what is ethical leadership’ by re-articulating relations between leaders and followers in terms of ‘affective leadership’. The paper develops a Spinozian conception of ethics which is underpinned by a deep suspicion of ethical systems that hold obedience as a primary virtue. We argue that the existing research into ethical leadership tends to underplay the ethical capacities of followers by presuming that they are in need of direction or care by morally superior leaders. In contrast, ‘affective leadership’ advocates a profoundly political version of ethics, which involves people in the pursuit of joyful encounters that augment our capacity to affect and be affected by others. Instead of being led by people in leadership positions, we are led by active affections that enhance our capacity for moral action.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Munro I, Thanem T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Business Ethics Quarterly

Year: 2018

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 51-69

Print publication date: 01/01/2018

Online publication date: 21/11/2017

Acceptance date: 17/07/2017

Date deposited: 06/12/2017

ISSN (print): 1052-150X

ISSN (electronic): 2153-3326

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/beq.2017.34


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