A Kantian theory of leadership

Norman Bowie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Uses Kant's moral philosophy to provide a normative theory of leadership. First shows how Kant's philosophy would reject instrumental theories of leadership and most charismatic theories of leadership. Perhaps somewhat more surprisingly, it questions some of the assumptions of servant leadership and puts constraints on transformational leadership and the leader as educator. The central concept of Kant's moral philosophy is the dignity given to autonomy. Thus a good leader ought to respect and enrich the autonomy of followers. The Kantian leader turns followers into leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalLeadership & Organization Development Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomy
  • Ethics
  • Leadership


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