Crossan, Mary M., Alyson Byrne, Gerard H. Seijts, Mark Reno, Lucas Monzani, & Jeffrey Gandz (2017, November). Toward a framework of leader character in organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 54(7), 986-1018. (doi: 10.1111/joms.12254) (Link:

Abstract: While the construct of character is well grounded in philosophy, ethics, and more recently psychology, it lags in acceptance and legitimacy within management research and mainstream practice. Our research seeks to remedy this through four contributions. First, we offer a framework of leader character that provides rigor through a three-phase, multi-method approach involving 1817 leaders, and relevance by using an engaged scholarship epistemology to validate the framework with practicing leaders. This framework highlights the theoretical underpinnings of the leader character model and articulates the character dimensions and elements that operate in concert to promote effective leadership. Second, we bring leader character into mainstream management research, extending the traditional competency and interpersonal focus on leadership to embrace the foundational component of leader character. In doing this, we articulate how leader character complements and strengthens several existing theories of leadership. Third, we extend the virtues-based approach to ethical decision making to the broader domain of judgement and decision making in support of pursuing individual and organization effectiveness. Finally, we offer promising directions for future research on leader character that will also serve the larger domain of leadership research.

Mary M Crossan <> is in the Ivey Business School, Western University, London, ON, Canada.