When ethical leaders are ‘no longer at ease’: the role of social vice in corruption through the lens of a Nigerian novel

Mukuka Kasonde*, Kae Reynolds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Abstract

This paper addresses the social context of corruption through literary analysis of Chinua Achebe’s (1960) novel No Longer at Ease. By exploring the societal influences that may lead an individual to engage in unethical behaviour, the analysis challenges the more predominant view of ethical failure as individual vice and reframes corruption as socially embedded. The analysis unfolds with a brief synopsis of the story, mapping out key plot points of leader-follower relationships and the process of the protagonist becoming corrupt. Secondly, an
analysis is presented of the protagonist as a leader and in the role of follower applying knowledge from the field of ethical leadership/followership. Finally, parallels are drawn with the recent, real life case of Kweku Adoboli, a Ghanaian banker convicted of fraud in the UK. Insights from the literary analysis are applied to a to highlight their relevance in the real world and broader understanding of corrupt leadership.

Conference

ConferenceBritish Academy of Management 2020 Conference in the Cloud
Abbreviated titleBAM2020
Period2/09/204/09/20
Internet address

Keywords

  • Chinua Achebe
  • arts-based inquiry
  • corruption
  • ethical leadership
  • social exchange
  • African communitarianism
  • ethical followership

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