The connection between leadership and ethics typically is focused on describing the right behavior to those who want to be considered by others ethical leaders.  Then these leaders are expected to do those ethical leadership behaviors.  This is regarded as Normative Ethical Action theory.  


Alternatively, moral behavior can also be framed or understood through prosocial behaviors. There is a host of human values that motivate human behavior, among them is the human value empathy. When a leader has empathy aroused and acts altruistically, they can be correctly labeled a prosocial leader.  Each of these leaders goes through a developmental process.  


The beginning of every prosocial act, according to David Batson, begins when empathy is aroused within the individual.  At this point the individual has one of three choices: 

  1.  To abate or ignore the concern.
  2.  To help the other person as a means to gain a reward, or to avoid punishment, leaders act to gain reward or avoid punishment they are selfish. They are using the other to get the reward or avoid being punished.
  3. While every leader follows a developmental does not abate their concern, nor worry about getting a reward, or fears punishment they are acting altruistically. 


See the model to the right. 

Prosocial Behavior 

Understanding Prosocial Leadership



​​​​​Research


Prosocial Behavior and Leadership

Prosocial Leadership Theory is not a new leadership theory but is a prosocial leadership development model that can be appended to existing leadership theories that have prosocial values.  Many well-recognized leadership theories contain behaviors or values which are others directed or prosocial.   Transformational Leadership, Authentic Leadership, the Social Change model, Ethical Leadership, Servant Leadership and Spiritual Leadership all contain others directed behaviors or values. 

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Prosocial Leadership 

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