Leading Through Values and Ethical Principles
INSPIRING LEADERS, Cooper & Burke, eds., Routledge Publishing, 2005
14 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2010 Last revised: 4 Nov 2014
Date Written: 2005
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a view of leadership that infuses ethics into its definition. This chapter will demonstrate that previous conceptions of leadership within management literature define leadership as either amoral or having an instrumental use for values. However, we are able to develop an ethical view of leadership from research outside the management literature. As we will demonstrate, the common principles that cross different types of leadership situations, organizations, and goals are infused with moral implications - one could say that the only commonality across various types of leadership is ethics. The implications to theory, research, and practice are outlined based on these ethical leadership principles.
After examining how dominant leadership theories treat leader, constituents, process/skills, situation, and outcomes, we develop ethical principles. These ethical leadership principles include:
Leader: The ethical leader articulates and embodies the purpose and values of the organization. The ethical leader separates criticism from ego.
Constituents: The ethical leader finds the best people and develops them.
Process/Skills: The ethical leader creates a conversation about ethics, values, and the creation of value for stakeholders that is alive. The ethical leader creates mechanisms of dissent. The ethical leader takes a charitable understanding of other's values.
Situation: The ethical leader makes tough calls while being imaginative. The ethical leader knows the limits of the values and ethical principles they live.
Outcomes: The ethical leader frames actions in ethical terms. The ethical leader connects the basic value proposition to stakeholder support and societal legitimacy.
Keywords: Leadership, Ethics
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