Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership
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Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership

Critical and Philosophical Reflections

Edited by Leah Tomkins

Why does it matter that our leaders care about us? What might we reasonably expect from a caring leader, and what price are we prepared to pay for it? Is caring leadership something ‘soft’, or can it be linked to strategy and delivery? International scholars from the fields of ancient and modern philosophy, psychology, organization studies and leadership development offer a strikingly original debate on what it means for leaders to care.
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Chapter 7: Leadership and the fiduciary: addressing asymmetrical power by caring well

Helen Mussell


This chapter considers the fiduciary relationship between trustees and beneficiaries in relation to care, power and responsibility. The historical premises regarding beneficiaries’ agency and reasoning capabilities are founded in gender politics upheld by now outdated laws including couverture. By emphasising and elevating reason, and seeking evidence of the characteristics of inequality, dependence, reliance and authority in fiduciary relationships, the power inequity in this relationship of caring leadership was historically enforced. The fiduciary is at core a moral relationship – one which benefits from exploration through an ethics of care. With fiduciary and trusts having their roots in familial law – in the domestic/private sphere where care has historically been relegated – fiduciary has past dealings with care. With increasing shareholder activism, the catalyst for change in development of fiduciary character, of leaders who care-well, could be caused via agitation of their beneficiaries resisting the power asymmetry, that is, by increasing market demands.

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