Organizational and leadership virtues and the role of forgiveness

By: Kim S. Cameron, Arran Caza

Cameron, K.S., & Caza, A. (2002). Organizational and leadership virtues and the role of forgiveness. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 9:33-48.


The investigation of virtues in organizational life has been neglected. Systematic studies of the development and demonstration of virtue have been all but absent in the organizational sciences. This article highlights the potential impact of virtues in organizations, particularly the power of forgiveness to affect individual and collective outcomes. Under conditions of organizational injury and trauma, such as when organizations downsize, leaders have an especially important role to play in demonstrating virtuous behaviors. In this paper, we describe some early research findings that explore the effects of organizational virtues, and we highlight the role of one particularly misunderstood virtue–organizational forgiveness–and its role in the leadership of effective organizations.