Reconstructing authenticity through a multi-paradigmatic umbrella: A process perspective

Sebastien Vendette, Catherine A. Helmuth, Melissa L. Intindola, Chellie Spiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there is a substantive body of research that recognizes the importance of authentic leadership theory, critiques have challenged its dominant and positive-focused conceptualization. We synthesize these extant critiques, providing researchers with an integrative understanding of the theoretical, conceptual, and empirical deficiencies facing authenticity in a leadership context. These deficiencies have thwarted authentic leadership’s development limiting our understanding of what authentic leadership is and who authentic leaders are. Synthesizing what has been said about authentic leadership demonstrates why authenticity needs to be conceived of and studied differently. We offer being-in-becoming as a multi-paradigmatic umbrella which accommodates different ontological foundations of what it means to be authentic. A being-in-becoming approach recognizes that authenticity emanates from a developmental process, suggesting the study of authenticity must also be thought of processually. Studying authenticity as a developmental process holds important theoretical and practical implications as it embraces the processual nature of our dynamic, evolutionary beings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-800
Number of pages26
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Authentic leadership
  • authenticity
  • becoming
  • being
  • being-in-becoming
  • co-existence
  • critical scholarship
  • positive psychology
  • process


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