Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Dr. Rosemary Link

Second Advisor

David Schwain


Recent corporate scandals in the U.S. - at Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, and elsewhere - have prompted renewed interest in business ethics. Consistent with the vast majority of organizational leadership literature, however, this new interest in ethics is overwhelmingly focused on the internal practices of corporations. In both the modern organizational leadership literature and recent literature regarding corporate ethics, very little attention has been given to examining leadership from the perspective of the ultimate societal (external) impact of either an organization's products/services or the processes by which they are produced. This essay presents a model of "authentic leadership" in which these ultimate societal ends are more intentionally balanced with internally focused notions of organizational ethics and success. A series of questions is suggested to prompt deeper reflection about this balance between internal success and external impact of corporations.

Based on trends in socially responsible investing, new insights from the natural sciences, and evidence of increased interest in the question of "leadership for what," the author analyzes the case for wider adoption of this model of authentic leadership. Ultimately, the author's purpose is to spark deeper analysis on the part of business leaders about the impact of for-profit organizations' products and services on the larger community or society in which they operate - to spark deeper analysis about another very real bottom line: the societal or external bottom line.


SC 11.MAL.2004.Langseth.MN