An African Theory of Good Leadership

Keywords: African ethics, Communion, Decision making, Employee relations, Leadership, Stakeholder theory


This article draws on the indigenous African tradition of philosophy to ground a moral-philosophical theory of leadership that is intended to rival accounts in the East Asian and Western traditions. After providing an interpretation of the characteristically sub-Saharan value of communion, the article advances a philosophical account of a good leader as one who creates, sustains, and enriches communal relationships and enables others to do so. The article then applies this account to a variety of topics, including what the proper final end of an organization is, how decisions ought to be made within it, who counts as a stakeholder, and how to deal with non-performing or misbehaving employees. For each topic, the article notes respects in which the African theory of good leadership entails approaches that differ from other, more internationally familiar ones, and suggests that its implications are prima facie attractive relative to them. 

Author Biography

Thaddeus Metz, UJ
Thaddeus Metz is currently Distinguished Professor (2015-2019) at the University of Johannesburg.


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