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Donna Ladkin, PhD

Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership and Change

Dr. Donna Ladkin is an internationally recognized leadership and ethics scholar whose philosophically-informed publications explore aesthetic, ethical and embodied aspects of organizing and leading. Her theoretical work is underpinned by a strong commitment to the realm of practice and is informed by extensive consulting experience in both public and private organizations. Her current research focuses on examining the racial assumptions which underpin traditional leadership perspectives . She holds a strong commitment to bringing under-represented voices into theory building, as evidenced by recent work into how African American existentialism can inform ethical organizational practices.


Educational History

  • BA, Music and Philosophy, Yale University, New Haven, CT USA, Awarded 1981
  • MBA, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Awarded 1988
  • PhD, “The Outcomes of Personal Development within Manager Development as Exemplified by the Use of the Outdoors”, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Awarded 1992
  • MA, Environmental Philosophy, Lancaster University, Awarded with Distinction December 2003

Recent Journal Articles – Peer Reviewed

“Problematizing authentic leadership: How the experience of minoritized people highlights the impossibility of leading from one’s “true self”. Leadership, 2021 (in press).

“What President Trump’s Response to Covid 19 Tells us:  It’s time for our Romance with Leaders to End” Leadership 2020, 16(3): 272-278.

“From sovereign to subject: Applying Foucault’s conceptualization of power to leading and studying power within leadership”.  With Joana Probert. The Leadership Quarterly, (in press).

“Enacting the ‘true self’: Towards a theory of embodied authentic leadership”, Leadership Quarterly, 2010 21(1), pp. 64-74.  (Lead author, with Steven S Taylor). Finalist in Leadership Quarterly’s Decennial Article Influence Award.

“Self Constitution as The Foundation for Leading Ethically: A Foucauldian Possibility”, Business Ethics Quarterly, 2018,  28(3), 301-323. doi:10.1017/beq.2017.43

“The Journey of Individuation:  A Jungian Alternative to the Theory and Practice of Leading Authentically” Leadership, 2018, 14(4), 415-434.  (Lead author, with Chellie Spiller and Gareth Craze).

“The Aesthetic’ and its Relationship to Business Ethics:  Philosophical Underpinnings and Implications for Further Research” Journal of Business Ethics, 2018, 147(1), pp 35-51 (sole author).

“Realising the Potential of Arts-based Interventions in Managerial Learning: Embodied Cognition as an Explanatory Theory” Journal of Business Research, 2018, 85, pp 532-559 (Second author, with Claus Springborg).

“How Did  That Happen?: Making Sense of the 2016 US Presidential Election Result through the Lens of the ‘‘Leadership Moment’’, Leadership, 2017 13(4), pp. 393-412 (sole author).


Mastering Ethics in Organizations (2021) Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar

Rethinking Leadership:  A New Look at Old Questions (2nd Edition) (2020) Cheltenham, UK:  Edward Elgar

Mastering the Ethical Dimension of Organizations, (2015) Sole Author, Edward Elgar Publishers. Shortlisted for CMI Book of the Year Award, 2015.

The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities (2014) co-edited with Steven S. Taylor, Emerald Publishers.

Authentic Leadership: Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences, co-edited with Chellie Spiller, Edward Elgar Publishers, 2013. In final 10 of the International Leadership Association’s ‘Book of the Year’ award for 2013.

Rethinking Leadership: A New Look at Old Leadership Questions, Sole Author, March 2010, Edward Elgar Publishers.  Awarded the Integral Leadership Review’s ‘Book of 2010’ award.

Recent Book Chapters

“Developing Ethical Leaders’ in Field Guide to Leadership Development, Stephen Kempster, Arthur Turner (Eds) 2018,  Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp 15-29.

“Writing with the body: Political, personal, practical” , with Amanda Sinclair, in Sage Handbook of Qualitative Methods,  Cathy Cassell, Anne Cunliffe, and Gina Grandy (Eds.) 2018,   London: Sage, pp 415-429.

“Leadership, management and headship:  Power, emotions and authority in organizations’ in Leadership: Contemporary Critical Perspectives, Brigid Carroll, Jackie Ford and Scott Taylor (Eds.), London: Sage, pp. 3-25.

‘In through the nose, out through the mouth: How conscious breathing can help mere mortals cope with the difficulties of leading’, in The Physicality of Leadership:  Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities, Donna Ladkin & Steven S Taylor, (Eds.) Bingley, UK: Emerald, pp221-238/

Recent Keynotes and Symposia Invitations

  • Invited Contributor: Trans-Atlantic Business Ethics Conference, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, November 2018.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker: International Leadership Association Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA, October 2018.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker: Provost’s Leadership Forum, The Ohio State University, September 2018.
  • Keynote Speaker: Leadership Conference, Exeter University March 2017.
  • Keynote Speaker: Developing Leadership Capabilities Conference: Developing Ethical Leaders, Ashridge Management College, July 2016.
  • Distinguished Professor Address: Fallen from Grace: Why is Leading Ethically so Difficult and What Can Leaders Do About it? University of West of England, June 2016.
  • Keynote Speaker: MODEM, Sarum College, Salisbury:  ‘Is it Possible to Teach Leaders to be Ethical?, December 2013.
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts
  • Distinguished Fellow, Schumacher Institute
  • Member American Academy of Management
  • Member International Leadership Association

Podcast Episodes

Donna Ladkin

Professor of Leadership and Ethics,

Antioch Graduate School of Leadership and Change


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