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Neuroscience Research and Ethical Leadership: Insights from a Neurological Micro-foundation

Business Ethics

ISBN: 978-1-78973-684-7, eISBN: 978-1-78973-683-0

Publication date: 7 June 2019


The chapter examines to what extent research from social cognitive neuroscience can inform ethical leadership. We evaluate the contribution of brain research to the understanding of ethical leaders as moral persons as well the understanding of their role as moral managers. The areas of social cognitive neuroscience that mirror these two aspects of ethical leadership comprise research relating to understanding oneself, understanding others, and the relationship between the self and others. Within these, we deem it relevant for ethical leadership to incorporate research findings about self-reflection, self-regulation, theory of mind, empathy, trust, and fairness. The chapter highlights social cognitive neuroscience research in these areas and discusses its actual and potential contributions to ethical leadership. The chapter thereby engages also with the broader discussion on the neuroscience of leadership. We suggest new avenues for future research in the field of leadership ethics and responsibility.



Voegtlin, C., Walthert, I.M. and Robertson, D.C. (2019), "Neuroscience Research and Ethical Leadership: Insights from a Neurological Micro-foundation", Business Ethics (Business and Society 360, Vol. 3), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 261-293.



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