Prosocial Leadership 

Understanding Prosocial Leadership



"He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own."


CONFUCIUS, attributed, Treasury of Thought


​In need of training



Yet, there are some differences between Prosocial Leadership Theory and other ethical leadership theories.  The Prosocial Leadership Development Process considers often neglected aspects of Normative Ethical Theory, broadens and redirects leadership development commitments and finds connections between prosocial values and leadership theories.  All of these act as contextual considerations for the development of leadership theory. 


The hope of this ongoing research is to support the identification and development of leaders who serve others, and while there are numerous examples, the world needs more!
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[1] Batson, C. D., Polycarpou, M. P., Harmon-Jones, E., Imhoff, H. J., Mitchener, E. C., Bednar, L. L., ... & Highberger, L. (1997). Empathy and attitudes: Can feeling for a member of a stigmatized group improve feelings toward the group?. Journal of personality and social psychology, 72(1), 105; Batson, C. D., Chang, J., Orr, R., & Rowland, J. (2002). Empathy, attitudes, and action: Can feeling for a member of a stigmatized group motivate one to help the group?. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(12), 1656-1666.;Batson, C. D., & Shaw, L. L. (1991). Evidence for altruism: Toward a pluralism of prosocial motives. PsychologicalInquiry, 2(2), 107-122.
[2] Schwartz, S. H. (2010). Basic values: How they motivate and inhibit prosocial behavior. Prosocial motives, emotions, and behavior: The better angels of our nature, 14, 221-241.; Schwartz, S. (1994). Are there universal aspects in the structure and contents of human values? Journal of Social Issues, 50(4), 19-45.



What is Prosocial Leadership?

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Prosocial Leadership is not a new leadership theory, in that, it doesn’t replace or challenge existing theories. Instead, Prosocial Leadership is a compliment or a component of their leadership theories which contain prosocial or others directed values and behaviors. Specifically, Prosocial Leadership theory focuses on identifying a leadership development process that can exist within most if not all leadership theories. 

Prosocial Leadership theory has at its center the Prosocial Leadership Development Process, which can be used to identify prosocial leadership development in both individuals and organizations. Prosocial Leadership uses prosocial psychology, in particular, the work of Batson[1] and Swartz[2] to identify empathetic and altruistic behavior in leaders.

“We rise by lifting others”​
Robert Ingersoll. 

​​​“Every person must decide, at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness”


Martin Luther King (1967 sermon, New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago) 

​​​​​Research