Corresponding Author

Simon Tareke Abay


This paper systematically reviews the literature on values-based leadership (VBL) theories by analyzing 161 studies published in different peer-review journals from 2000 to 2022. The study first identified the literature on VBL and found that terms “values-oriented, values-centered, or value-based” leadership are used interchangeably as a roof term for various theories focusing on the moral, authentic, principled, and ethical dimension of leadership. The literature on leadership offers different types of leadership theories that constitute VBL, but we focused on six leadership theories that are widely cited as forms of VBL and have a strong theoretical background. This was followed by a comparative analysis to identify the key theoretical components of each theory and how it relates with the other forms of VBL theories. Our results from the comparative analysis revealed that transformational leadership is a broader theory and many of the key dimensions of the other five VBL theories overlap with the essential theoretical components of transformational leadership which obviously raises a question on their distinctiveness as separate theory. Based on our literature review we offered a more comprehensive conceptual framework that can bring clarity to the concept. Finally, we presented a conclusion and forwarded an agenda for future research.