Diversity as an aspect of effective leadership: integrating and moving forward

George Gotsis (Department of History and Philosophy of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Katerina Grimani (Department of History and Philosophy of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 4 April 2016



The purpose of this paper is to elaborate an integrative framework that positions diversity considerations in a continuum of various leadership theories. The authors thus seek to differentiate between distinct leadership styles and assess their potential in fostering inclusive leader behaviors.


The authors proceed to a brief review of the extant literature on diversity leadership by distinguishing between diverse followers and diverse leaders on one hand, and leadership styles in diverse and heterogeneous teams, on the other. The authors then provide a rationale for leadership theories that are more likely to support leader inclusiveness and foster inclusive leader and follower behaviors.


Four distinct theoretical frameworks capturing the importance of emerging leadership theories (ethical, authentic. servant and spiritual leadership) for informing caring and inclusive climates, are introduced. The authors thus seek to delineate leadership styles effectively entrenched in organizational environments valuing, affirming and supporting diversity, which can better fit to inclusiveness goals.

Practical implications

In view of designing and implementing inclusive initiatives, organizations should consider the specific context in which diverse leaders operate and through which diverse followers interact with diverse leaders. In so doing, corporations should encourage leadership styles that effectively combine goal attainment with an unconditional affirmation of the intrinsic value of diversity.


The paper offers certain insights into the particular conditions that may help organizational leaders implement inclusion strategies facilitating thriving and fulfillment of diverse employees. In this respect, the authors elaborate on distinct leadership frameworks that are more pertinent to, and commensurate with inclusiveness objectives.



Gotsis, G. and Grimani, K. (2016), "Diversity as an aspect of effective leadership: integrating and moving forward", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 241-264. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-06-2014-0107

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