Original Research

The role of a positive trigger event in actioning authentic leadership development

S. Puente, F. Crous, A. Venter
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 5, No 1 | a103 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v5i1.103 | © 2007 S. Puente, F. Crous, A. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 November 2007 | Published: 30 November 2007

About the author(s)

S. Puente, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
F. Crous, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
A. Venter, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Authenticity can best be understood in context, and context implies action (Payne, 1996). For the purpose of this study, leadership in general, and authentic leadership in particular, were explored in terms of the actions of former mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, who displayed authentic leadership in action during the tragic aftermath of the World Trade Centre attacks. Authentic leadership development tends to be triggered by a negative event (as in the case of 9/11 for Giuliani, for example). Since there is limited knowledge of how a positive event may trigger authentic leadership development, the aim of this study was to explore the potential of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) - an affirmative mode of action research - as a positive trigger event for authentic leadership development. The results indicated that this positive approach to change could indeed be implemented for this purpose.


Authentic leadership; authentic leadership development; positive trigger events; action research; appreciative inquiry


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