Leadership and Ethics

The purpose of this blog is to understand what leadership is, what the theory explains about leadership and what role ethics play in leadership. 

This blog is a brief debate on leadership and ethics where it summarises the importance of ethical leadership and how different theories relate to it following with the examples. There are many organizations best known for their leadership where as many organizations and leaders exist who have become examples for the world to know what bad leadership is and what it leads to which is discussed in detail in this blog.

Leader is the one who can drive his followers through motivation and can transform visions to reality and can empower others through his behaviour (Forbes, 2017) Leadership is said to be adaptive; it adjusts the behaviour of the surroundings and people and he observes the state of the organization and makes it adaptive and it also acts on people’s feelings and link it to the people’s instincts (Stevenmsmith, 2017)

In this era because of the changing dynamics of the 21st century, leaders are re-thinking their leadership techniques because the demand for ethics is high among the organizations (Jooste, 2017). The leaders are re-thinking the concept of leading people and are focusing more on how to behave than to generate (Jooste, 2017). Because the actions are interconnected, it can affect the employees if the leader is unethical.

The theories have been derived by the theorists to study the leadership roles in detail. From trait theory to situational theory, theorists have evolved the role of leadership with additions to new findings. As per Doyle, M. E. and Smith, M. K. (2017), in relation to ethical leadership; there is an emphasis on the study of the behavioural leadership which states that leaders are defined by their behaviours in certain situations which focuses on what they do rather than what their qualities are. Where the trait theory talks about the idealistic characteristics of the leaders stating that it is an inborn quality which cannot be learned and is only found in successful leaders (Academlib, 2017).

Interlinking Ethics and Leadership; ethics is a set of standards for norms and behaviors that people reflect upon in certain situations. It is about making the right decisions with high morality and defined values (Bonde et al., 2017). In the context of ethical theory, there is a distinction between deontological and the teleological theory. The deontological leadership is based on the duty or the mandatory obligation to get the work done and is described as a value of self and morals while the teleological leadership is based on the recognition of right and wrong behaviours and knowing their consequences (Rhchp.regis.edu, 2017).

Every year companies are nominated are ethical. These companies win on ethics because of their leaders that identify their company’s values and implement their behaviour in the employees (Forbes, 2017). Mike Berry the CEO of Marks & Spencer’s UK looked for sustainable change of the model of organization and felt the need to engage the customers in the sustainable change and he developed the internal skills necessary to drive ethics into the company (Ethicalcorp, 2017)


(Kfknowledgebank.kaplan, 2017)

On the other-hand, Apple’s CEO Tim Crooks is also one good ethical leader where he ethically ran his company and made Apple the world most selling brand he made changes to his ethical perspective and made his organization more sustainable and made the workplace more engaging (Independent, 2017)

There is a counter debate on the following topic as well. Not all the organizations and the leaders are ethical and not all organizations are successful with ethics where the corporate corruption is widely spread and leaders somehow come as crooks that destroys the company impacting the employees (Harvard Business Review, 2017) Enron is the far most the best example of a fall of ethical leadership in its context. The CEO got bankrupted and impacted Andersen which was the largest audit firm and became the reason of its downfall as well (Forbes, 2017)

Summarizing the debate, in my view it is important for the leaders to possess ethics in their behaviour and because leaders are the influencers so they possess the ability to solve the motivational issues within the organization which can be ether the unfair behaviours in the organization, or the dishonesty. If the leaders do not preach honesty, the employees will consider it fine to follow the same behaviour (Employee-motivation-skills, 2017). For organizations to build strong ethics they must know how to drive ethics within the workplace and apply policies which they follow and ask the employees to follow as well and this understanding of ethics lead the company to the right direction. And to beat the unethical issues is to train the staff it is important for leaders to let the employees recognize the difference of right and wrong (Employee-motivation-skills, 2017).





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  2. Doyle, M. and Smith, M. (2017).Classical models of managerial leadership: trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory. [online] infed.org. Available at: http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017]
  3. com. (2017).Theories of Leadership, Trait Theory, Behavioural Theory of Leadership, Situational Theory – Perspective management – Academic library – free online college e textbooks. [online] Available at: http://academlib.com/7789/management/theories_leadership [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
  4. regis.edu. (2017).Deontologicial and Teleological Assumptions In Normative Ethics – Page 1. [online] Available at: http://rhchp.regis.edu/hce/ethicsataglance/DeontologicalTeleological/DeontologicalTeleological_01.html [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
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  6. com. (2017).What is Leadership?. [online] Available at: http://stevenmsmith.com/what-is-leadership/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
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  8. com. (2017).Management spotlight: Mike Barry, Marks & Spencer | Ethical Corporation. [online] Available at: http://www.ethicalcorp.com/business-strategy/management-spotlight-mike-barry-marks-spencer [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
  9. Harvard Business Review. (2017).Ethical Breakdowns. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2011/04/ethical-breakdowns [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
  10. com. (2017).Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/02/05/5-most-publicized-ethics-violations-by-ceos/#559b20fc4bbc [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
  11. The Independent. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/apples-tim-cook-business-isn-t-just-about-making-a-profit-9163931.html. [Accessed 26 March 2017].
  12. kaplan.co.uk. (2017). [online] Available at:http://kfknowledgebank.kaplan.co.uk/KFKB/Wiki%20Pages/Ethical%20theories.aspx[Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].
  13. Bonde, S., Firenze, P., Green, J., Grinberg, M., Korijn, J., Levoy, E., Naik, A., Ucik, L. and Weisberg, L. (2017). A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions | Science and Technology Studies. [online] Brown.edu. Available at: https://www.brown.edu/academics/science-and-technology-studies/framework-making-ethical-decisions[Accessed 4 Feb. 2017].



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