Original Research

The principled leadership scale: An integration of value-based leadership

Karen Hendrikz, Amos S. Engelbrecht
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1553 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1553 | © 2019 Karen Hendrikz, Amos S. Engelbrecht | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 May 2018 | Published: 27 March 2019

About the author(s)

Karen Hendrikz, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Amos S. Engelbrecht, Department of Industrial Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


Orientation: A need exists to investigate leader behaviour necessary to curb the corruption that has infected and weakened South Africa’s moral fibre. Such leader behaviour would need to be underpinned by a set of universal moral values.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop a new measure, the principled leadership scale (PLS), by integrating the value-based behaviours inherent in transformational, servant, authentic and ethical leadership.

Motivation for the study: Leader behaviour intrinsic to value-based leadership was found to be closely aligned with universal moral values. Because the study found a considerable overlap between the behaviours mentioned in the value-based leadership theories, it sought to integrate these behaviours under one construct and to develop a reliable and valid scale to assess this construct.

Research approach/design and method: Data from the quantitative study were analysed by means of item analysis, exploratory and confirmatory bi-factor analysis conducted via structural equation modelling.

Main findings: The confirmatory bi-factor solution corroborated a strong general principled leadership factor and four moderately weak group factors. The statistical analyses provided good fit of the PLS measurement model with the empirical data.

Practical and managerial implications: The study found acceptable measurement properties of the PLS that may be used for applications, such as the selecting, training and developing of ethical leadership in organisations.

Contribution/value-add: The study adds value in that it is the first to integrate the four value-based leadership theories under one construct and to develop a potential psychometrically sound instrument to measure principled leadership.


Ethical leadership; value-based leadership; principled leadership; authentic leadership; servant leadership; transformational leadership; confirmatory bi-factor analysis


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Crossref Citations

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