CONCLUSION: JAMES MADISON, THE COMMON
GOOD, AND THE ETHICS OF TRANSFORMATIONAL
Transformational leadership has become a central theme of modern
leadership conceptions. As such, it deserves close and critical study.
Therefore Michael Keeley has done us a great service in utilizing the
thought of James Madison to fashion an ethical critique of this form of
leadership and to repudiate its validity. My own explorations of Madison yield a somewhat different "take" on Madison and his relevance for
transformational leadership. I see Madison's thought as a legitimate
precursor to today's conceptions of transformational leadership, because both seek to realize the achievement of a common good. Indeed, James MacGregor Burns may have gone Madison one better; he proposes a type of leadership that has the potential to resolve a problem Madison gave up on as unsolvable: that of creating a nexus between the
desires of followers and conceptions of the common good. If this is done
correctly, transformational leadership can stand as a beacon for those
interested in the pursuit of ethical leadership.
James MacGregor Burns, Leadership ( New York: Harper and Row, 1978).
For a summation of such critiques, together with a rebuttal, read Chapter 8, "The Ethics of Transformational Leadership", by
See Chapter 6, "The Trouble with Transformational Leadership: Toward a
Federalist Ethic for Organizations", by
Bernard Bass, Leadership and Performance beyond Expectations ( New York: Free
Press, 1985). For a cogent discussion of the contrast between Burns and Bass, see Richard A. Couto, "The Transformation of Transforming Leadership", in
J. Thomas Wren
, ed., The Leader's Companion: Insights on Leadership through the Ages ( New York: Free Press, 1995), 102-7.
Bass, Leadership and Performance.
Bass, "The Ethics of Transformational Leadership".
Bernard Bass, "From Transactional to Transformational Leadership: Learning to Share the Vision", Organizational Dynamics 18 ( 1990): 21.
See Chapter 6, p. 111.
15. Ibid., 118 and passim. The quotation is taken somewhat out of context, that
is, from Keeley's discussion of leaders, but the generalization seems justified.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Ethics: The Heart of Leadership.
Contributors: Joanne B. Ciulla - Editor.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1998.
Page number: 165.
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