A Quasi Experimental Study on Leadership Effectiveness and Ethics

By Khar, Bhavna; Praveen, Mansi et al. | Review of Management, April-June 2011 | Go to article overview

A Quasi Experimental Study on Leadership Effectiveness and Ethics


Khar, Bhavna, Praveen, Mansi, Aggarwal, Mrigank, Review of Management


Introduction

Managers are important group with strong impact on both practice and principles of corporate governance. With the increasing complexity and dynamism of business environment, managers are witnessing a clash between norms towards basic stands of rights and wrongs. With the events of the Enron, Satyam and 2G scandals, lots of questions are asked on the integrity of the leaders. In this paper, we try to correlate leadership effectiveness with the integrity of a leader. We will see whether there is any relation with the leadership abilities of a person with integrity of that leader.

Theoretical Review

Leadership Ethics: From the perspective of Western tradition, the development of ethical theory dates back to Plato (427 - 347 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC). Ethics is concerned with the kinds of values and morals an individual and society finds desirable or appropriate. It signifies the virtuousness of individuals and their motives.

In regard to leadership, ethics has to do with what leaders do and who leaders are. It is concerned with the nature of leader.s behavior and with their moral orientation. In any decision making situation, ethical issues are either implicitly or explicitly involved. The choices leaders make and how they respond in a given circumstance are informed and directed by their ethics.

An example is that in the late 1990s, the president of the Unites States, Bill Clinton, was brought before congress for misrepresenting under oath an affair he had maintained with a White House intern. For his actions, he was impeached by the US House of Representatives, but then was acquitted by the US Senate. At one point during the long ordeal, the president appeared on national television and, in what is now a famous speech, declared his innocence. Because subsequent hearing provided information that suggested that he may have lied during his television speech, many Americans felt President Clinton had violated his duty and responsibility (as a person, leader and president) to tell the truth. From a deontological perspective, it could be said that he failed this ethical responsibility to do the right thing - to tell the truth.

Many researchers have proposed ethics theories to define it; they can be classified into two domains broadly . theories about leader.s conduct and theories about leaser.s character. Also, many people have defined some principles of ethics:

1. Ethical leaders respect others

2. Ethical leaders serve others

3. Ethical leaders are just

4. Ethical leaders are honest

5. Ethical leaders build community

Beauchamp and Bowie (1988) outline several of the common principles that serve as guides for leaders in distributing the benefits and burdens fairly in an organization. These are the Principles of Distributive Justice: To each person

* An equal share or opportunity

* According to individual need

* According to that person.s rights

* According to individual effort

* According to societal contribution

* According to merit or performance

Although not inclusive, these principles point to the reasoning behind why leaders choose to distribute things as they do in organizations. In a given situation, a leader may use a single principle or a combination of several principles or a combination of several principles in treating subordinates.

As Burns (1978) wrote, transformational leaders and followers begin to reach out to wider social collectivities and seek to establish higher and broader moral purposes. All of our individual and group goals are bound up in the common good and public interest. We need to pay attention to how the changes proposed by a leader and followers will affect the larger organization, the community and the society. An ethical leader is concerned with the common good, the broadest sense.

Leadership -Trait Approach: Trait approach was one of the first systematic attempts to study leadership. …

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