How Positive and Neo-Aristotelian LeadershipCan Contribute to Ethical LeadershipMarcel Meyer*University of NavarraAlejo José G. SisonUniversity of NavarraIgnacio FerreroUniversity of NavarraAbstractVirtuous leadership is crucial for advancing leadershipethics. By comparing Positive Leadership and its notion ofvirtuousness with neo-Aristotelian leadership based onvirtue, this article sheds light on this research field. Weexpound on the differences and commonalities between thetwo and present possibilities of how they can enrich eachother and further ethical leadership theory. Our findingsconcern the purported Aristotelian roots of virtuousness,the relative strengths and weaknesses of the positive andthe neo-Aristotelian approaches, and the interplay betweentechnical skills and ethical excellence in leadership. We propose the adoption of practical managerial tools and procedures from Positive Leadership, making them dependentupon the virtues to achieve flourishing within organizationsand society at large. © 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Keywords: ethical leadership, positive leadership, virtueethics, virtuousnessRésuméLe leadership vertueux est indispensable pour faireprogresser l’éthique du leadership. En comparant le leadership positif et sa notion de vertu avec le leadership néoaristotélicien fondé sur la vertu, les auteurs de cet articlejettent la lumière sur ce domaine de recherche. Ils expliquentles différences et les similitudes entre les deux forment devertu et montrent comment elles peuvent s’enrichirmutuellement tout en permettant de mieux cerner la théoriedu leadership éthique. Leurs résultats portent sur lesprétendues racines aristotéliciennes de la vertu, les forceset les faiblesses relatives de l’approche positive et del’approche néo-aristotélicienne et l’interaction entre lescompétences techniques et l’excellence éthique dans le leadership. Ils proposent l’adoption d’outils et de procédurespratiques de gestion issus du leadership positif et influencéspar les vertus afin de permettre aux organisations et à lasociété dans son ensemble de s’épanouir. © 2018 ASAC.Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Mots-clés: leadership éthique, leadership positif, vertuéthique, caractère vertueuxIntroductionSpiralling business scandals and environmental destruction together with poverty and inequality demand a newframework for more ethical leadership. Although attentionon ethics in business has increased (Palmer, 2015), ethicalleadership is far from being fully explored (Brown &Treviño, 2006; Byrne, Crossan, & Seijts, 2017).Crossan et al. (2017) point to virtuous leadership as anew approach to remedy the above-mentioned maladies.However, literature on virtuous leadership is still marginal(Avolio, Walumbva, & Weber, 2009; Crossan, Vera, &Nanjad, 2008). By comparing two leadership approacheswithin virtuous leadership, we hope to shed new light on thisunder-researched area.The first approach is Positive Leadership, the application of positive psychology to organizations and management theory. Positive Leadership has developed its ownresearch field, methods, foci, and objectives. Central to thistheory is the interpretation of Aristotle’s notion of virtue aspositive (organizational) virtuousness.The second is neo-Aristotelian leadership, so calledto distance itself from certain preconceptions of theoriginal version regarding women and the status of manualworkers and children (Hursthouse, 1999). The study of*Please address correspondence to: Marcel Meyer, University of Navarra,Philosophy Department, Institute for Enterprise and Humanism, CampusUniversitario, 31009 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain. Email: [email protected] Journal of Administrative SciencesRevue canadienne des sciences de l’administration36: 390–403 (2019)Published online 16 July 2018 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/CJAS.1511Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 390 36(3), 390–403 (2019)Aristotelianism had largely waned in the early twentieth century, but lately, it has returned to the forefront (Petri, 2017).Positive Leadership researchers claim Aristotelian antecedents for virtuousness through references to virtue andflourishing. Through comparative research, we would liketo examine this assertion. This comparison will likewise allow us to delve into the relationship between technical skillsor competencies and ethical value in leadership. What ismore, good ideas tend to sprout through sincere dialogue between different fields. Together with Kristjánsson (2013),Sison and Ferrero (2015), and Bright, Winn, and Kanov(2014), this paper positions itself at the juncture of moralphilosophy (that is, neo-Aristotelian leadership) and positivesocial science (Positive Leadership), helping stimulatecollaboration on leadership development.Like Crossan et al. (2017), we believe that combiningtwo lines of research could develop a novel approach to ethical leadership. Hence, we focus on finding and describingthese two leadership theories’ dissimilarities and commonalities, and on discussing how they can enrich each other,forming the groundwork of a new ethical leadership theory.First, we identify core contributions in theory development and managerial practice from Positive Leadership.Then we explain how neo-Aristotelian leadership ismodelled after the classical art of rhetoric (Sison, 2003)and examine implications on ethics. Next, we explore thedifferences and commonalities between the two. Further,we respond to queries about the Aristotelian roots of virtuousness, the relative strengths and weaknesses of the positive and the rhetorical approaches, and how these twocould complement each other, enriching ethical leadershiptheory. Finally, we present conclusions and future lines ofresearch.Positive LeadershipThe Origin, Concept and Approaches to PositiveLeadershipPositive Leadership designates an area within positiveorganizational scholarship (POS), which in turn derivesfrom positive psychology (Cameron, 2008). Positive psychology focuses on building positive qualities in individuals,in contrast to the pathological focus of traditional psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). POS attemptsto help individuals in organizations to flourish (Cameron,Dutton, & Quinn, 2003).No conclusive definition has yet been offered for theterm “positive” (Caza & Carroll, 2012). It has been suggested to mean: looking at challenges and difficultiesthrough a more optimistic lens; virtuous functioning or positive deviant outcomes; an affirmative bias; virtuousness;and the empirical or experimental and quantitative methodsof scholarship to explain, produce, or predict desired results(Cameron & Spreitzer, 2012).Different Approaches to Positive Leadership ResearchPositive Leadership unites research from positive socialsciences with leadership knowledge, focusing on outstanding results such as social benefit (Quinn & Thakor, 2014),positively deviant performance and human flourishing(Cameron, 2008), greatness (Quinn, 2005), peace (Spreitzer,2007), excellence (Dutton & Spreitzer, 2014), economic andhuman progress (Rego, Clegg, & Pina e Cunha, 2012), andjustice (Ambrose, Schminke, & Mayer, 2013).An example of positive organizing is Zingerman’s,where employees are encouraged to learn and grow in an environment of flexible hierarchy, open-book management,and decision-making discretion (Spreitzer & Porath, 2014).Employees are thriving, optimistic, and fond of their work(Baker, 2016). Zingerman’s actively contributes to improving life in its community (Burlingham, 2005), reaching annual sales of $50 million after three decades (Conlin, 2014).Positive Leadership represents more than just a leadership style. Luthans and Avolio (2003) developed a positiveapproach in response to a rapidly changing environment,calling it “authentic leadership”. Other positive organizational scholars added particular perspectives to PositiveLeadership. Spreitzer (2007) highlighted participation andempowerment, while Cameron (2011) stressed virtuousleadership. These three contributions are key to the development of Positive Leadership. Given their behavioural andquantitative mindset, Positive Leadership scholars recommend management tools to reach desired outcomes. Quinn(2005) introduced the fundamental state of leadership, andCameron (2008) introduced various strategies to become apositive leader.We shall analyze these three theoretical approaches toPositive Leadership and two practical strategies, distillingtheir contributions to leadership theory in terms of anenriched notion, concept or perspective on ethical leadership, and management tools and procedures (see Figure 1).Theoretical Approaches to Positive LeadershipVirtuous LeadershipPOS investigates the effects of virtuousness on individuals and organizations, on their well-being and economicoutcomes. Virtuousness is fundamental for POS (Cameron& Winn, 2012). Regarding individuals, virtuousness produces “healing effects for individuals, stronger relationships,inspirational stories and sagas, organizational resilience,positive affect, and enhanced vitality” (Cameron & Caza,2002, 36). Regarding organizations, it is related to higherproductivity, higher quality outputs, greater profitability,and increased customer retention (Cameron, 2003).There is no single definition of virtuousness in POS.Virtuousness is a combination of discoveries from variousfields, not only positive psychology and POS, but also biology, sociology and genetic psychology, all intersecting inPOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 391 36(3), 390–403 (2019)Aristotle’s idea of virtue. Virtuousness can be understood as“a set of activities, values, emotions” (Cameron, 2003, 63),“aggregates of virtues, acting in combination, which manifests itself as behaviors, processes, and routines in organizational settings” (Cameron & Winn, 2012, 233) or a “state ofexcellence in human or organizational character” (Bright,Cameron, & Caza, 2006, 251).POS outlines key attributes of virtuousness. First arethe amplifying and buffering effects. Amplification is aself-reinforcing upward spiral produced by the repetition ofvirtuous behaviour in groups (Cameron & Winn, 2012).Buffering explains how virtuousness acts as a defence mechanism against dysfunction (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi,2000); making organizations more robust, with higher levelsof cohesion and dealing better with challenges (Cameron &Caza, 2002).Secondly, virtuousness includes three main definitionalelements: human impact, social betterment, and moral goodness (Cameron, 2003). “Human impact is the positive effectthat virtuousness has on humanity” (Bright et al., 2014,449). Social betterment clarifies that virtuous actions areperformed unselfishly and unconditionally (Bright et al.,2014). Moral goodness establishes the link between positivevirtuousness and Aristotelian virtue theory. In this way, twoother attributes attach to virtuousness: the eudaemonic assumption, and inherent value (Cameron & Winn, 2012).The former refers to an inherent disposition toward what isintrinsically good, while the latter brings together socialbetterment and moral goodness.Positive Leadership could mean, therefore, virtuousnessin leadership. Cameron (2011) conflates virtuousness withresponsibility, giving rise to virtuous leadership. A positiveand virtuous leader is one who faithfully pursues outcomesand is accountable and empowered. Cameron (2011) followsPless’s definition of responsible leadership as “the art ofbuilding and sustaining social and moral relationshipsbetween business leaders and different stakeholders(followers), based on a sense of justice, a sense of recognition, a sense of care, and a sense of accountability for a widerange of economic, ecological, social, political, and humanresponsibilities” (Pless, 2007, 451). To this he adds the ability “to act in an appropriate fashion,” doing what is right,correct or best, not in general or in the abstract, but in particular circumstances, summarizing virtuous leadership simplyas “being and doing good” (Cameron, 2011, 26).Virtuousness is key to developing positive organizations. Virtuous leaders institutionalize virtuousness throughactions and language, as well as through systems androutines (Cameron & Caza, 2002). Cameron (2014) suggeststhree leadership practices to enable organizational virtuousness: expressing gratitude, institutionalizing forgiveness,and facilitating transcendence. To foster gratitude, leadersneed to express appreciation frequently. Promotingforgiveness helps overcome resentment, victimization, orFigure 1. Model/history of Positive LeadershipPOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 392 36(3), 390–403 (2019)pessimism, leading to improved physical and mental health,higher morale and satisfaction, better relationships, andgreater social capital. Forgiveness means dealing with injuryconstructively, and showing empathy and care. Leadersinstitutionalize forgiveness by maintaining standards of excellence, being just, replacing employee selfishness with afocus on the common good, and facilitating problem-solvingsolutions (Cameron & Caza, 2002). Fostering transcendenceconsists of establishing “Everest Goals,” which are positively deviant objectives with an affirmative orientation thatgenerates positive energy (Cameron, 2014).Virtuousness can only be achieved if practised consciously and not abandoned in challenging economic situations, because “activating virtuousness pays” (Cameron,2014, 87). This claim is based on empirical research(Cameron, Bright, & Caza, 2004; Cameron, Mora,Leutscher, & Calarco, 2011). Virtuous leadership demandsthat individuals demonstrate ennobling behaviours, strive toward excellence, and pursue the highest possible objectives.Virtuousness in leadership is not meant to be a tool toward afurther aim, but itself already represents the ultimate good(Cameron, 2011). Any beneficial effects are consideredpartly constitutive of virtuousness (Meyer, 2015).The positive notion of virtuousness has contributedgreatly to the study of virtue, which, until then, was seento belong exclusively to philosophical and theological research (Cameron & Winn, 2012). The positive movementhas introduced a behavioural and quantitative approach tothe virtues in the context of organizational and managementresearch (Bright et al., 2006; Cameron et al., 2004; Cameronet al., 2011), proposing virtuousness as an objective in business. Although Cameron considers virtues such as compassion, honesty, and love as proper to positive organizations,there is no closed list of virtues.Authentic LeadershipAuthentic leadership draws on positive organizationalbehaviour, transformational leadership, and full-range leadership (Avolio, 1999). Positive organizational behaviourlends authentic leadership its focus on “positively orientedhuman resource strengths and psychological capacities thatcan be measured, developed, and effectively managed forperformance improvement in today’s workplace” (Luthans,2002, 57). The latter two influence authentic leadership inthe context, leader characteristics, and theoretical moralfoundation (Luthans & Avolio, 2003).The initial scarcity of empirical research (Caza &Jackson, 2011) and the similarity of authentic leadership toother theories have caused much criticism (Hoch, Bommer,Dulebohn, & Wu, 2016). Recent findings even suggest theconstruct’s redundancy, due to similarity with transformational leadership (Banks, McCauley, Gardner, & Guler,2016). The same research, however, also found that authentic leadership has a stronger relationship with citizenship behaviours than transformational Leadership, concluding thatit is a promising leadership construct that should receivemore empirical attention (for instance, Braun & Peus,2016; Laschinger & Fida 2014; Peus, Wesche, Streicher,Braun, & Frey, 2012).Authenticity signifies what is genuine, reliable, trustworthy, real, and veritable. The key to authentic leadershipis self-development: “authentic leadership in organizations[is]. .. a process that draws from both positive psychologicalcapacities and a highly developed organizational context,which results in both greater self-awareness and selfregulated positive behaviors on the part of the leaders andassociates, fostering positive self-development” (Luthans &Avolio, 2003, 243). Let us explain these elements.Self-awareness occurs when “one continually comes tounderstand his or her unique talents, strengths, sense of purpose, core values, beliefs and desires” (Avolio & Gardner,2005, 324). It is related to self-regulation, understood as internalized directedness, balanced processing of information,authentic behaviour, and relational transparency (Gardner,Avolio, Luthans, May, & Walumbwa, 2005).Self-development takes place through trigger events.Negative triggers can be severe health problems or losing asignificant business deal, while positive triggers are voluntary job changes or new job assignments (Luthans & Avolio,2003). The development of leaders depends on their abilityto cope thanks to positive psychological capacities such asconfidence, hope, optimism, and resilience (Luthans &Avolio, 2003), through greater self-awareness and selfregulation. This allows them to achieve superior moralstandards for themselves and followers. Authentic leadership entails authentic follower development: “the leaderpositively fosters the development of associates until theybecome leaders themselves” (Gardner et al., 2005, 345).Lastly, authentic leadership, through “veritable andsustained performance beyond expectations” (Avolio &Gardner, 2005, 328), creates human, social, psychological,and financial capital returns, economic outcomes being secondary. Authentic leadership is linked to happiness conceived almost in an Aristotelian fashion, with flourishingtaking precedence over pleasure.Participatory Organizational Leadership andEmpowerment“Participative leadership is defined as leadership thatinvolves employees across all levels of the hierarchy in decision making” (Spreitzer, 2007, 1083), empowering them toarticulate concerns and influence work (Spreitzer, 1995). Itstrives for two sets of outcomes: the internal state of thrivingand organizational and societal peace.Thriving is “the joint experience of vitality and learningat work,” “a crucial mechanism for increasing job performance, while mitigating burnout and improving health”(Spreitzer, Porath, & Gibson, 2012: 155). Thriving is relatedto employees empowered to make decisions affecting work.Employees not only feel energized, and are therefore likelyPOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 393 36(3), 390–403 (2019)to show proactive behaviours, but they also display highlevels of creativity (Spreitzer & Porath, 2014). They wantto participate in the creation of their work environment,which they do not see as governed by external powers.“Through the process of co-creation, thriving employeescreate resources, including meaning, positive affect, highquality connections, and knowledge, to enable continuedthriving over time” (Spreitzer & Porath, 2014, 46).At the same time, leaders who create participatory organizational systems and empower employees create organizational settings similar to peaceful societies. Leaders whoshape peaceful environments establish open and egalitarianways of decision-making and offer employees the opportunity to take control over work, creating more peaceful communities and nurturing democratic tendencies, resulting in“organizational democracies” (Spreitzer, 2007). Participatory practices and empowerment contribute to collectiveagency, more and better collaboration, and a heightenedsense for the common good.The different approaches to Positive Leadership yieldthree main conceptual contributions. First, Virtuous Leadership consists of responsible leadership above all, and manifests itself in expressing and institutionalizing virtuesamongst co-workers, encouraging imitation, and paving theway for employees to become virtuous leaders themselves.Secondly, authentic leadership prods individuals towardself-development through increased self-awareness andself-regulation. Success is measured primarily in terms ofAristotelian happiness or flourishing, and secondly in economic returns. Thirdly, participatory organizational leadership and empowerment speaks of the importance ofemployee involvement at all levels of decision-making, sothat employees thrive and peace is established, not only inthe organization, but also in society. In concert, these threetheories, united by their distinctive focus on excellence, layout how Positive Leadership designs the relationship between individuals and organizations.The Management Tools and Procedures of PositiveLeadershipFirst we deal with Cameron’s (2008) “Strategies for Extraordinary Performance” and then with Quinn’s (2005)“Fundamental State of Leadership.”Cameron (2008) presents four strategies to foster positive change: establishing a positive work climate, fosteringpositive relationships, supporting positive communication,and connecting work to a higher purpose.Positive work climates favour positive emotions, helping individuals and organizations realize their full potential(Fredrickson, 2003). “Positive emotions—for example compassion, optimism, joy—lead to positive activities in organizations—for example, helping behaviors, truth telling,altruism—which in turn create upward spirals of positivefeelings” (Cameron, 2003, 59), thus transforming workplaces (Dutton & Heaphy, 2003). Positive relationships area multiplicative source of development, energy networks,boosting individual strengths, and mutual knowledge acquisition (Cameron, 2008). They benefit human well-being(Heaphy & Dutton, 2008), and nourish team functioningand human capital development. Leaders influenceco-workers by being optimistic, heedful, trustworthy, andunselfish, supporting them to create positive networks. Thisbehaviour inspires co-workers and is a source of positiveenergy (Cameron, 2008). Positive communication describessupportive language, and leads to more connectivity,greater collaboration, and positive emotions. Enhancedcommunication, together with better coordinated actionsand resource allocation, leads to improved performance.Positive meaning refers to meaningfulness: employees perceive work as a vocation and identify with the organization’saims (Cameron, 2008). Employees who feel work is directedtoward a higher purpose experience personal flourishing(Bright et al., 2006), which positively affects organizationalperformance (Wrzesniewski, 2003). Therefore, virtues andvalues play an important role in increasing meaningfulness(Cameron, 2008).To put these strategies into practice, Cameron (2008)offers the Personal Management Interview program, whichconsists of regular meetings with leaders for coaching.These strategies create a positive climate and greater meaningfulness through the establishment of appropriate relationships and the use of positive language.Another practical pathway to becoming a positiveleader is through the fundamental state of leadership, whichencourages leaders to “act from their deepest values and instincts” (Quinn, 2005, 75). This state emerges mostly afterlife-changing experiences, but can also be brought aboutconsciously.To move toward this state is to search for purpose, tobecome aware of key values, to act with integrity, and tobe more confident and authentic. Once leaders put the organization first, employees respond with trust and respect, andcommunity evolves (Quinn, 2005). Key elements of the fundamental state of leadership are its emphases on transformation and self-examination. For Quinn, the transformationfrom a normal state to greatness takes place through four internal adjustments: focusing on outcomes, being internallydirected, centering on the common good, and being externally open. To this end, Quinn proposes leaders to ask fourawareness-raising questions: “Am I results centered?”;“Am I internally directed?”; “Am I other focused?”; and“Am I externally open?” (2005, 79–81). These questionshelp leaders envision results, produce new outcomes, andmotivate co-workers by taking purposeful action and becoming persistent, optimistic, and energized. They encourage leaders to keep integrity, hope and energy, and ensurea focus on the organization. Trusting relationships emerge,leaders become role models, and group members begin towork toward the common good. A cycle of learning, empowerment, and improvement starts.POSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 394 36(3), 390–403 (2019)It is surprising how just four questions can propel anorganization toward excellence by discarding many falsebeliefs about how people act within organizational settings,such as the belief that employees are generally self-centered,fiercely pursue external rewards, or continuously try tominimize personal costs (Heynoski & Quinn, 2012).Integrity is crucial for positive transformation. Once aleader behaves with integrity, other virtues follow, and collective virtues arise (Quinn, 2015a). Positive changes areinitiated through generative discourse, providing support,establishing channels for open communication, mentoringemployees, and showing respect (Heynoski & Quinn,2012). People want to do meaningful things, and findingpurpose in what they do is essential to transformation(Quinn, 2015b). Leaders need to facilitate change by movingemployees to deeper intrinsic orientation, a heightenedawareness of purpose, and a commitment to the collectivegood. Higher purpose signifies higher levels of meaning inlife, being happier, more satisfied, more engaged at workand so forth. Furthermore, “as leaders elevate and developmore authentic and empowered agents, the inspirational process becomes reciprocal” (Quinn & Thakor, 2014, 104).There are a host of coincidences between the fundamental state of leadership and other Positive Leadership approaches. We find similar psychological capacities andvalues as in virtuous leadership; life-changing occurrencesin the process of transformation are like the trigger eventsthat bring about greater self-development in authentic leadership; thriving and participation at all hierarchical levelsare common with participatory organizational leadershipand empowerment; and the emphasis on communicationcould be found as well in other strategies.The Search for Neo-Aristotelian LeadershipRhetoric as the art of neo-Aristotelian leadershipLeadership at its core is persuasion (Goleman, 2005).To instill drive and energy among followers is crucial forleadership. “Effective leadership is still largely a matter ofcommunication” (Axelrod, 2002, 55).Before today’s great leaders and management scholars,classical thinkers already considered verbal human interaction essential to leadership. Leadership training in this sensewas known as the art of rhetoric (DiCicco, 2003), which implied critical thinking, communication, and negotiation(Allio, 2005). Aristotle defines rhetoric as the “ability, ineach case, to see the available means of persuasion” (Rhetoric [Rh], 1355b). Having disqualified force or coercion,reason alone—and the word, as the vehicle for reason—remains the single tool available to the leader to persuadeothers.Leaders must win over their audience. However, words,to move, require reflection and comprehension on the part oflisteners. Words only prove effective in rousing to actionfree and rational agents addressed as such. Thus, rhetoricshould not be confused with the mere use of charming wordswithout any commitment to action.Aristotle knew of the polemic surrounding the art ofrhetoric. Both Socrates and Plato considered rhetoric, aspractised by many Sophists, mere flattery (Takala, 1998).For Plato, by contrast, rhetoric meant combining convincingskills with personal virtue and love of truth. To engage in theart of rhetoric appropriately, wordplay would not be enough.Aristotle believed that rhetoric was morally neutral.Rhetoric was a mere tool (albeit a very powerful one) thatcould equally be used by virtuous or vicious persons.Aristotle, however, was careful not to separate rhetoric fromethics. He insisted on the subordination of both to thearchitectonic discipline of politics (Nicomachean Ethics[NE], 1094b).Politics for Aristotle was the “ruling science” (NE,1094a), to which all the other disciplines are subject (seeFigure 2). Politics is the “kingly craft” because it is directedtoward the highest good: human flourishing. The art of rhetoric is subject to the end that we all desire for itself: happiness. As human flourishing depends on the virtues, the art ofrhetoric is linked to the practice of the virtues. The virtues,for their part, can never be used for evil, but only forFigure 2. History/model of neo-Aristotelian leadershipPOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 395 36(3), 390–403 (2019)attaining excellence and thriving (Sison, 2008). Virtues provide leaders with the moral compass to steer their undertaking toward a good purpose (Hannah & Jennings, 2013;Hacket & Wang, 2012).For Aristotle, rhetoric is valuable for three main reasons(Rh, 1355a-b). First, rhetoric helps preserve the truth. Next,rhetoric represents an opportunity to consider various pointsof view and understand the real state of an issue. And finally,rhetoric enables one to protect himself or herself withoutresorting to physical violence, in cases of false accusations,for example.The Tools of Rhetoric: Logos, pathos and ethosAristotle points to three instruments available to thespeaker or potential leader to persuade listeners (seeFigure 2): The speech or argument itself (logos); the character (ethos) of speakers; and the emotional disposition (pathos) of listeners (Rh, 1356a).“Logos reflects the extent the speaker’s argument is logical and compelling” (Hannah & Jennings, 2013, 13). Itbrings about persuasion in the manner it exposes truth, orat least, an impression of truth, in specific instances. Truthor its appearance, even though essential, nonetheless maynot be enough to convince listeners, as they may not be ableto follow complex reasoning and/or are inclined to rely oncommon beliefs or intuitions. The leader has to realize suchlimitations. In this sense, logos is a leader’s competence(Hannah & Jennings, 2013).Persuasion comes about when speech generates appropriate emotions (pathe) in listeners. These sensations thenturn into triggers of decision and action. The role of the listeners’ feelings is important for those who take rhetoric as anentirely technical matter. However, understanding rhetoricproperly means to consider, aside from the audience’ emotions or state of mind, to whom a specific emotion is directedand for what reason. Thus, Aristotle recognizes the role ofemotions in human judgment. As emotions influence judgment, judgment is not an entirely rational act. Emotionsshould not be exaggerated to the detriment of reason. Emotions ought to be subject to reason.Lastly, Aristotle considers the character of the speaker(ethos) as the controlling factor in persuasion: “we believefair-minded people to a greater extent and more quickly[than we do others] on all subjects in general and completelyso in cases where there is not exact knowledge but room fordoubt” (Rh, 1356a). “Ethos is the most powerful of the threemodes of influence” (Hannah & Jennings, 2013, 13).Listeners are convinced by the image of fair-mindedness,justice, or trustworthiness a speaker or leader projects. Whatcould be a better approach to ensure such an appearance thanactually being virtuous?Virtue refers to what is best in human beings. Virtueshave been linked to leadership styles or approaches such asservant, charismatic, transformational, or spiritual leadership(Hacket & Wang, 2012). Although virtue applies primarilyto character, nevertheless, it is also used to refer to other human capacities or dispositions for action, such as habits (NE,1103a). A virtuous character comes from the cultivation ofvirtuous habits. These result from the repeated performanceof virtuous actions, caused by virtuous tendencies in linewith human nature. Therefore, apart from character, a conscientious reading of Aristotle reveals that virtues as “excellences” also designate, analogously, inclinations, actions,habits and, indeed, even lives taken as a whole. As Flynnpoints out, “in Aristotle’s view, a fulfilled life is a life livedkat’ aretên—in accordance with virtue” (2008, 363).The Role of Virtue in Neo-Aristotelian LeadershipThree qualities a speaker or a leader should possess togain credibility are fundamental (see Figure 2): practicalwisdom (phronesis), virtue or excellence (arête), and goodwill (eunoia) (Rh, 1378a). Aristotle traces the trustworthiness of a leader or speaker to the confluence of thesequalities.Practical wisdom (phronesis) enables one to developcorrect opinions over particular, contingent matters.Phronesis lies at the centre of virtue ethics (Sison & Ferrero,2015) and is an essential quality for leaders (Melé, 2010). AsMoskop (1996) points out, practical wisdom was attributedto successful leaders by Aristotle because it enables themto see and achieve what is good for all. This broad approachdiffers from other leadership theories, which are often toonarrow (Moskop, 1996). Virtue (arête), enables a speakeror leader to communicate his or her views fairly. As Aristotle states, justice becomes observable insofar as somethingis directed toward the well-being of others or the commongood in general (NE, 1129b; 1130a). Good will (eunoia),for its part, ensures that leaders give the best advice for thebenefit of followers. For Aristotle, people who display thesethree characteristics become persuasive, and thus, mostlikely, become effective and successful leaders.The qualities of a persuasive speaker could be used toserve the following ends (Rh, 1358b): to counsel regardingfuture action, by pointing to potential advantages or disadvantages; to approve what is just or to condemn what is unjust in past actions; to spotlight what is honourable, noble,and upright or what is dishonourable, shameful, and unprincipled in a thing or a person at present. The ends leaders pursue in communicating with followers substantially coincidewith the aforementioned purposes. Concerning future actions, they may want to motivate or persuade followers,based on potential advantage or harm. With reference to pastactions, they may want to move followers to uphold innocence, to promote justness, or to condemn what is illicit. Regarding the present, they may simply want to tell apart whatis honest and what is not. Leaders would bring this aboutfirst and foremost through their personality (ethos). But theycertainly would also have to make use of their arguments(logos), and the feelings or emotions (pathe) they stimulateamong listeners.POSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 396 36(3), 390–403 (2019)A Comparison: Positive Leadership VersusNeo-Aristotelian LeadershipThis section compares Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership regarding the following core aspects: the leader–follower relationship; sources of motivation; leadershipqualities; origin, scope, and methods; and aims and orientation (Table 1).Leader–Follower RelationshipForce cannot produce the positive—optimism, affirmation, the ideal state of excellence—and much less virtuousness. Force or coercion may sometimes be useful inachieving certain leadership goals, such as economic progress, justice, or peace. But this is not sustainable. Once thethreat disappears, individuals lapse into their previous behaviour. They were not drawn to a common good in the firstplace, but were simply avoiding punishment. Besides bruteforce, power may take other forms, such as superior wealth,status, intelligence, or skill, all of which represent differentcapacities to effect change. But none is an acceptable instrument for Positive Leadership, because they go against itsobjectives. For instance, it would be impossible to create apositive work climate or positive relationships throughbare-knuckled imposition.Force or coercion is incompatible with the art of rhetoricon which neo-Aristotelian leadership rests. Persuasion is distinctive of human beings who have developed capacities forchoice and purposeful action; it is not an act of nature or abiological occurrence. Rhetoric addresses autonomous citizens equal in standing, rights, and duties to the leader. Thedecision to follow is free and in accordance with reason.Force is not included in the rhetorician’s toolkit, whichconsists, instead, of words, emotions, and character. Takingadvantage of superior force or power to lead is the oppositeof doing it through moral virtue.Both Positive and neo-Aristotelian leadership eschewthe use of superior power, force, or coercion to generatechange. They discard authoritarian imposition. They stressthat virtuous leadership must be voluntary, that is, underone’s control. Leaders need skills or techniques. Ironically,some theorists state that although leadership can be learned,it cannot be taught (Allio, 2005). This is to underscore thatleadership skills are gained only through practice, by deliberately performing acts of leadership. This is evident in themanagerial tools and procedures of Positive Leadership:The Personal Management Interview (PMI) program, whichencapsulates Positive Leadership strategies, and the selfexamination exercise associated with the fundamental stateof leadership. Voluntariness and rationality are presupposed,too, in empowerment (participatory organizational leadership and empowerment), self-awareness and self-regulation(authentic leadership), and in cultivating the dispositions ofgratitude, forgiveness, and transcendence in organizations(virtuous leadership). The voluntariness and rationality ofleadership and followership in both Positive and neoTable 1Commonalities and differences between Positive Leadership and neo-Aristotelian leadershipCommonalities and differences between Positive Leadership and neo-Aristotelian leadershipCore criteria Positive Leadership Neo-Aristotelian leadershipLeader – FollowerRelationshipBoth leadership approaches exclude the use of superior power, force, or coercion. Leadershipand followership are voluntary and rational actions in Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership.CommonalitiesSources ofmotivationThe motivation for Positive and neo-Aristotelian leadership arises from common goals andbenefits.LeadershipqualitiesBoth leadership approaches consider the ethical qualities of the leader the major determinantfor success.Methods Positive Leadership employs “positive” methods(skills and techniques are meant to be effectiveby themselves).Neo-Aristotelian leadershipmakes use of rhetoric (rhetoricalskills are subject to the virtues).DifferencesScope Positive Leadership is limited to organizations. Neo-Aristotelian leadership hasvarious areas of application.Origin Combined context of positive science. Art of public discourse within therealm of politics.Aims “Doing good” and “doing well.” True flourishing.Orientation Pragmatic/what works.Virtuousness as part of the Positive Leadershipmanagerial toolkit.Normative command of thevirtues/phronesis.Virtue as excellence in humanbeings.POSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 397 36(3), 390–403 (2019)Aristotelian leadership imply ownership and identificationwith a plan, actions, and goals. This commitment permitsthe development and growth of agents in their dispositionsand organizations. Rather than an automatic reaction to a superior power, leadership is “a complex moral relationshipbetween people based on trust, obligation, commitment,emotion, and a shared vision of the good” (Ciulla, 1998,xv). Virtue and virtuousness reinforce the importance offreedom and voluntary decisions.Sources of MotivationLeadership is vital when an organization needs progressbut finds no rules on how to advance. Because of this, the organization’s members may feel discouraged. The leader thenprovides vision and energy. This task is easy when groupmembers agree with the leader, but that is not always thecase. Special leadership skills are required to get people todo what initially they didn’t want to do while respectingtheir freedom.The wide range of objectives of Positive Leadership canbe summed up as “doing well and doing good” (Meyer,2015). By doing well, we understand that both individualsand organizations are doing satisfactorily from an economicor financial perspective, psychologically or mentally, andhealth-wise. By doing good, we assume they are doing theright thing, morally speaking, thereby ensuring growth anddevelopment. Positive Leadership pursues these two goalssimultaneously. Also, there is awareness that such goalsare beneficial to all involved. No individual could thrive ifothers in the organization did not flourish at the same time.Similarly, for neo-Aristotelian leadership, motivationcomes from flourishing, the ultimate goal of all human beings. The nature of flourishing, however, is such that it cannot be achieved unless all the other members of the groupachieve it. It is a “common good” (Sison & Fontrodona,2012). For this, not only material, economic resources arenecessary, but also cultivating the proper moral excellences.The fundamental reason behind the art of rhetoric is thatleaders need to convince followers to seek and persevere inthe same goal: flourishing and living the virtues.For Positive Leadership as well as for neo-Aristotelianleadership, the secret is to provide the right kind of motivation (energy), usually consisting of common goals or benefits (vision) around which leaders and followers coalesce.Both Positive and neo-Aristotelian leadership share the ideathat common goals and benefits motivate leaders and followers to pursue their organizations’ aims.Leadership QualitiesLeadership means exerting a moral influence over followers. One could look at this moral influence from two perspectives. First, for the followers, it refers to moral attributessuch as honesty, integrity, credibility, and trustworthiness—the most desired characteristics of leaders (Kouzes &Posner, 1993). Second, from the viewpoint of leaders, itunderscores that leaders shape the ethical choices of followers. Leaders and followers morally transform and elevateeach other through interaction. Leadership is a two-waytransformative and intrinsically moral relationship betweenleaders and followers (Burns, 1978). Thus, ethical leadershipbecomes the main vehicle through which persons and organizations become ethical (Pastoriza, Ariño, & Ricart, 2008).Leadership nurtures personal ethics, and cultivates afavourable organizational climate.In Positive Leadership, these ethical qualities all comeunder the name of virtuousness. Virtuousness “refers to organizational contexts where virtues (e.g. humanity, integrity,forgiveness, and trust) are practiced, supported, nourished,disseminated, and perpetuated, both at the individual andcollective levels” (Rego, Ribeiro, & Cunha, 2010,216–217). It goes beyond the mere socialization ofmembers, seeking to contribute to ethical development.Virtuousness designates a context, situation, or conditionin an organization that is conducive to the virtues. Althoughorganizational virtuousness brings about instrumental aswell as intrinsic or moral benefits, advocates insist on thenormative precedence of the latter.In neo-Aristotelian leadership, ethical qualities areknown as virtues. They are goods internal to human beings,acquired when they habitually act in accordance with reason,creating stable character traits. Not only are virtues necessary as means toward flourishing, they are also its constitutive elements. Virtues of character are the controllingfactor in the neo-Aristotelian leader’s success at persuasion.Simultaneously, they form part of the leader’s goal, convincing followers to act virtuously. Whetstone (2003) has shownthat business leaders are, in fact, fluent in virtue language,which is important for managerial excellence.Although positive virtuousness and neo-Aristotelianvirtue are not the same, both Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership consider the ethical qualities of the leader to bea major determinant for success.Origin, Scope, and MethodsPositive Leadership helps organizations improve performance in accordance with indicators and individuals in thoseorganizations to achieve flourishing through strategies andprocedures. Due to its origins (that is, positive science andpositive psychology) Positive Leadership emphasizes theuse of rules, skills, and techniques.Neo-Aristotelian leadership, by contrast, is based on rhetoric, which originated as the art of public discourse withinthe realm of politics. Its application to modern organizationsis fairly recent, despite the fact that, arguably, classical politics together with rhetoric forms the basis of Western administrative and organizational thinking (Takala, 1998).Although they do not explicitly refer to the neo-Aristotelianversion, many modern authors still acknowledge the crucialrole of rhetoric in leadership (Emrich, Brower, Feldman, &Garland, 2001; Shamir, Arthur, & House, 1994). ExcellencePOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 398 36(3), 390–403 (2019)in rhetoric could even be viewed as the main indicator ofleadership performance (Hart, 1987). Rhetoric enhances thebuying-in of followers through improved subordinate performance, commitment, and satisfaction (Gardner & Avolio,1998; House, 1977; House & Shamir, 1993).While Positive Leadership emerged from the combinedcontexts of positive science and positive psychology, neoAristotelian leadership originated as the art of publicdiscourse within the realm of politics. The scope of PositiveLeadership is limited to organizations, while neoAristotelian leadership has many areas of application.Whereas Positive Leadership employs positive methods,neo-Aristotelian leadership makes use of rhetoric.Aims and OrientationPositive Leadership has a pragmatic orientation, aspiring to guarantee success in terms of positive objectives oroutcomes. Positive Leadership is not normative in the senseof establishing what individuals and organizations should doto reach goals, leaving an ample margin in the definition ofgoals to accommodate a diversity of preferences. There is acertain independence, therefore, between the Positive Leadership managerial toolkit that includes virtuousness, and thepositive results that individuals and organizations pursue.Although Positive Leadership insists on its double target ofdoing well and doing good, there is a lingering doubt that,in the end, doing good (moral excellence) is just a meansto doing well (effectiveness, profitability). In Positive Leadership, cases that companies do good at the expense of doingwell hardly appear.Nothing like that occurs within neo-Aristotelian leadership, granted its commitment to moral excellence. It wouldbe coherent for a neo-Aristotelian leader to renounce economic success, if that meant putting virtue in jeopardy.The reason is the belief that material success without virtuedoes not lead to true thriving, because the attainment offlourishing is path-dependent upon virtue. Although rhetoricalso involves practical tools and skills, these are subordinated to strong normative commitments to the virtues anda substantive idea of flourishing as a common good. Rhetorical skills and techniques are of relative value and offer noguarantees of success. Their use always must be under theguidance of practical wisdom. Proper neo-Aristotelian leadership entails not only objectively right action, but also correct intentions and a keen perception of the morally salientfeatures of a situation.Positive and neo-Aristotelian leadership differ regardingtheir aims and orientation. The former stresses a double objective consisting of doing good and doing well, whereas thelatter pursues true flourishing as its ultimate goal. NeoAristotelian leadership is guided by the normative commandof the virtues, while Positive Leadership favours whatworks. This difference is further expressed by the fact thatvirtue (in neo-Aristotelian leadership) is considered to meanexcellence, while virtuousness (in Positive Leadership) isconsidered part of the managerial toolbox.Discussion and Practical ImplicationsThe foregoing shows that Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership have similarities in regards to the leader–followerrelationship, the sources of motivation, and the importanceof ethical leadership qualities. These findings suggest that aleader needs to renounce force or coercion to build an ethicalcompany. Leadership and followership need to be based onvoluntary and rational actions. Both Positive and neoAristotelian leadership are similar to the ethical leadershipconstruct proposed by Brown, Treviño, and Harrison, as“the demonstration of normatively appropriate conductthrough personal actions and interpersonal relationships,and the promotion of such conduct to followers throughtwo-way communication, reinforcement and decisionmaking” (2005, 120). Ethical leaders need to foster commongoals and benefits as a source of motivation to instill driveand energy among co-workers. In ethical leadership, intrinsic motivations supersede external incentives because virtuous behaviour results from within the individual and isnaturally satisfying. Virtuous conduct cannot be forced uponhuman beings. The ethical qualities of a leader are a majordeterminant for success in Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership. An organization that wishes to foster ethical behaviour must consider ethical human development as thesine qua non. Companies need to create environments whereemployees do not only work, but also grow as persons.Empowerment and open communication channels are nonnegotiable. Within such environments, the leader is a rolemodel of ethical conduct.Positive and neo-Aristotelian leadership are different intheir methods, scope, origin, aims, and orientation. First,Positive Leadership employs positive methods and has apragmatic orientation. It focuses on methods meant to beeffective by themselves in and through organizationalcontexts. Neo-Aristotelian leadership makes use of rhetoric,and these skills are subject to the virtues. Here it is the individual who changes his or her environment and not the otherway around. Change comes from within and context plays asubordinated role. The individual is guided by the normativecommand of the virtues and possesses practical wisdom.However, these different methods do not necessarily excludeeach other. Adopting the practical, managerial tools, skills,and procedures of Positive Leadership and making them dependent upon the virtues assures not only proper internal human development, but also sustainable moral organizationaldevelopment. As long as that which works does not opposethe normative expectations of neo-Aristotelian leadership,both leadership approaches can be aligned regarding theirmethods and orientation. It is possible that Positive andneo-Aristotelian leadership, and philosophy and psychologyPOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 399 36(3), 390–403 (2019)respectively, enrich each other, especially with reference tothe interplay between the individual and the organization.Second, Positive Leadership and neo-Aristotelian leadership differ in scope. The former is limited to organizations;the latter has various areas of application. Still, it does notseem too far-fetched that Positive Leadership develops further areas of application such as politics or sports. MichelleSegar, for example, has started to apply POS to sports andhealth (Segar, 2015).Third, the two leadership approaches differ in origin.Even though POS and Positive Leadership claim an Aristotelian background, their origin is in positive (social) science. We do not argue that Positive Leadership does notcontain any Aristotelian reasoning, but the positive ideaof (organizational) virtuousness differs from the Aristotelian notion of virtue. They have been differentiated fromthe POS perspective: virtue lies in internal character, virtuousness in external behaviour; virtue lies in a golden mean,while for virtuousness, more is always better; virtue is individual, virtuousness is organizational; and virtue is contextual, while virtuousness is universal (Bright et al.,2014). A similar analysis has been carried out from theviewpoint of virtue ethics: excellence in virtue refers to human nature and its final end, while in virtuousness, a pointin the scale of character strength; virtue consists of multitrack dispositions among which there is a feedback mechanism, while virtuousness exists firstly in organizations andonly secondly in individuals, displaying both buffering andamplifying effects; virtue requires both practical wisdomand the unity of virtues, while virtuousness is independentof character states and may be displayed through roleplaying, so long as objective key definitional attributesand empirical indicators are satisfied; virtue is its own reward, while virtuousness directly seeks instrumental benefits; and virtue employs methods from foundational,normative, and philosophical ethics, while virtuousness relies on those from positive science and positive psychology (Sison & Ferrero, 2015). These differences have ledto a promising dialogue that attempts to bridge philosophical and psychological investigations of virtue to advanceboth (Meyer, 2016; Snow, 2015). We understand thispaper as part of this dialogue.Finally, Positive Leadership and neo-Aristotelian leadership differ in their aims. The former pursues the double objective of doing good and doing well, whereas the latter hasthe final aim of flourishing. A recent examination of theterms doing good and doing well in positive business showsthat, in POS, doing well can be interpreted as partly constitutive of doing good. This would represent a new approachconcerning the role of economic outcomes. It would mean financial criteria are not the dominant motivation in POS.“Profits would be considered vital and necessary, but the final ‘raison d’être’ of positive states and practices would bethe overall well-being of the stakeholders” (Meyer, 2015,S175). We consider this a first step to foster alignmentbetween neo-Aristotelian virtue ethicists and the positivemovement regarding their aim(s).ConclusionTraditionally research on leadership has centered ontwo aspects: leadership emergence, and leadership effectiveness (Carter, DeChurch, Braun, & Contractor, 2015). Thisarticle considers these aspects from the psychological perspective (Positive Leadership) and from the philosophicalviewpoint (neo-Aristotelian leadership). This paper exploresgood leadership in its double sense of not only effective butalso ethical. Ciulla refers to this conjunction between technical competence and moral excellence when she states that“ethics lies at the very heart of leadership” (Ciulla, 1998,xv, 18). Positive and neo-Aristotelian leadership emphasizethe importance of the ethical qualities of leaders, acknowledged as the major determinant of success. Furthermore,both leadership approaches exclude the use of force orpower, and understand leadership and followership as rational and voluntary actions. Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership draw motivation from goals and benefits commonto leaders and followers. These commonalities count as thepillars of virtuous leadership and should be considered in defining any new theory regarding ethical leadership.At the same time, our comparison also reveals significant differences between Positive and neo-Aristotelianleadership.Firstly, the former uses positive methods and its scope ismainly limited to organizations. The latter employs rhetoricand has been applied to many other areas. Secondly, for Positive Leadership, the set of rules, procedures, skills, andtechniques are meant to be effective by themselves, independently of the positive organizational goals or preferences.However, flourishing (eudaimonia), as the ultimate neoAristotelian leadership goal, is path-dependent upon virtue.The use of rhetorical skills by leaders should always be under the normative command of the virtues. Practical wisdom,virtue or excellence, and good will are essential personalqualities in neo-Aristotelian leadership. Thirdly, PositiveLeadership always speaks of a double objective of doingwell and doing good, with the impression that doing goodis, in fact, a means to doing well. For neo-Aristotelian leadership, however, it is perfectly understandable that one maybe doing good (practising the virtues) without doing well(achieving profits).These differences show that Positive and neoAristotelian leadership and virtuousness and virtue respectively are not identical. Still, we are confident that furtherdialogue between philosophers and psychologists willprovide ways toward a common theory of ethical and virtuous leadership. The challenge lies in combining the best ofboth leadership approaches. This means adopting the practical, managerial tools, skills, and procedures of PositivePOSITIVE AND NEO-ARISTOTELIAN LEADERSHIP MEYER ET AL.Can J Adm Sci© 2018 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 400 36(3), 390–403 (2019)Leadership, and making them dependent upon the virtues toachieve flourishing within organizations and society at large.This would perhaps come closest to the ideal of ethical leadership in organizations.Recent developments in leadership theory point to leadership as a relational phenomenon (Carter et al. 2015;Avolio et al., 2009). 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