Maximizing the Value of Values-Based Leadership (VBL): a Reconceptualization for Leaders and Organizations

  • Mark D. Fulford
  • Robert A. Coleman


Over the last two - three decades or so, a plethora of research has been conducted on values-based leadership (VBL) and related leadership constructs. However, has any real progress been made? Could a change in focus contribute more value to the practical and theoretical implications of VBL?

The Research Questions are addressed via a reconceptualization of VBL itself, along with an expansion of its scope to include follower, leader, and organizational components.

A broader operational definition of the VBL construct is proposed; it is argued that assumptions regarding the existence of a universal desired set of values (including ethics) do not belong; and follower perceptions of leader effectiveness should take precedence over reliance on leader self-reports. Focus should be redirected on several aspects of fit: that between the stated and lived values of the leader; between the values of the leaders and their followers; and between the leaders and the organization.