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

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


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


Total abstract views: 4673
Total article views: 4243


Crossref Citations

1. Liderazgo Personalista Integral. Un modelo para el liderazgo en las organizaciones
Marcela De-La-Sota-Riva-Echánove, Eduardo Zainos-García-Cano, María-de-Lourdes Cabrera-Vargas
Revista Empresa y Humanismo  first page: 43  year: 2022  
doi: 10.15581/015.XXV.2.43-73