This study looks at the twenty precepts of virtues set forth by the ancient philosopher Laozi’s DAODEJING (DDJ) related to a leader’s ethical spirit (LES) and leader’s social responsibility (LSR) and applies them to today’s leaders in China. We define two constructs of LES and LSR, referred to as ‘Dao’ and ‘De’ on the respective chapters in DDJ; we then provide an empirical validation and develop a scale of twenty virtues of LES and LSR with desirable psychometric properties, and explore theoretical and practical applications to Taiwanese stakeholders in the shipping industry. Linear structural equation modeling (SEM) is applied for measurement of the components of Laozi’s ‘Dao-De’ relationship to help readers understand these two constructs that underlie leadership of Chinese. The ‘virtues’ aspect of a leader’s ethical spirit is defined in terms of humility, love, resolution, temperance, purity, sincerity, order, justice, benefit, and moderation. ‘Social responsibility’ related to a leader’s virtues power are then described in terms of livelihood, welfare, happiness, follow-through, accomplishment, tolerance, support, everlastingness, practice, and credit. Empirical evidence proves that leader’s ethical spirit (LES) has a significant effect on leader’s social responsibility (LSR). The study results provide criteria for virtues applicable to the ethical spirit and social responsibility of a leader. With desirable psychometric twenty virtues and explore theoretical and practical applications to Chinese leaders, which serve as guiding criteria to improve leadership in current Chinese society.
Key words: Laozi, DAODEJING, Dao-De, leader’s ethical spirit (LES), leader’s social responsibility (LSR).
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