The purpose of this paper is to undertake a personal, historical, analytical and interpretive investigation of the evolution of the concept of authentic leadership in educational administration/leadership over a number of decades.
The paper includes the author's reflections on his own journey on the topic as well as an analysis of the contributions of great researchers, theorists and writers since early in the twentieth century but, especially, since the early 1960s.
While there is no coherent body of literature on the development of the concept of authentic leadership, there is a general discernible trend starting with a focus on self (know thyself, to thine own self be true); to considering and defining self in relationships; to accepting that there is a moral force behind notions of self-fulfillment; to recognising that authentic leaders operate in a real post-modern (perhaps post-post modern) world of pressures, paradoxes and ethical challenges. This is often a world of standards, assessment and accountability for performance outcomes.
The paper draws on the author's own research journey and legacy on the topic as well as the contributions of “giants in the field” who have continually pushed the envelope when exploring the topic and closely interrelated topics.
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