Original Research - Special Collection: Sustainable leadership in times of uncertainty

The identification of misplaced moral ingredients that obscure sustainable leadership

Jennifer Slater
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2691 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2691 | © 2023 Jennifer Slater | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 August 2022 | Published: 29 May 2023

About the author(s)

Jennifer Slater, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, Faculty of Humanities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


This article endeavours to liberate the concept of ‘morality’ and debrief the term ‘sustainability’ by exploring the fundamental moral questions that relate to leadership based on ethical living connected with self, others, nature and the environment. It investigates sustainability that cultivates leadership and undergirds the social, economic, political and moral subsistence of humanity. It explores the dire deficiencies of moral ingredients that have infiltrated all kinds of leadership that consequently restrain social transformation. The decay of unethical leadership that resulted in the unsustainability of regular life requires investigation because both morality and sustainability need liberation, to be ‘unfrozen’ from their ‘static’ or inoperative states so as to become once again positively functional in the practice of leadership. While ethics and morality focus on building correct relationships that uphold honourable living, it is also defined by an affiliation with a divine component that nourishes our collective well-being on earth. Entrenched moral assumptions that make it impossible to move morality forward are challenged so as to discharge our principled obligations to humans and the planet alike. The overarching aim is to formulate an ethical theory that defines a set of moral qualities that are exclusively aimed at sustaining the intrinsic worth of all, promoted by both individual and corporate leadership, that embraces reasonableness, independence, integrity, productiveness and justice.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article is housed in the discipline of Christian Leadership with theological ethics, moral theology and gospel values that interrogate the emasculation of sustainable leadership.


leadership; sustainability; ethics; morality; unethical.


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