Self-interest and Altruism: Pluralism as a Basis for Leadership in Business

Jay Joseph


The paper outlines the case for pluralism between self-interest (egoism) and altruism in business leadership. Scientific progression demonstrating pluralism is discussed, providing a multidisciplinary view of pluralism from evolutionary biology, psychology, moral philosophy, economic theory and organisational behavior. Findings show that myopic views of self-interest and altruism were once dominant in a number of fields however shifts in contemporary theory have provided a basis for pluralism in business leadership. Pluralism is yet to find grounding in leadership ethics, which still widely views “good leadership” through the lens of altruistic orientations. For leaders in business, the relevance of both self-interest and altruistic orientations are described. The paper seeks to address the divide between self-interest and altruism for business leaders, advocating for a realistic and pragmatic pluralistic approach to guide future research.

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Business and Management Studies     ISSN 2374-5916 (Print)     ISSN 2374-5924 (Online)

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