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Ethical leadership is a multi dimensional concept which consists of many influencing elements including ethical integrity. The six key elements that characterise an ethical leader are character and integrity, people orientated, motivating, ethical awareness, encouraging and empowering and managing ethical accountability (Resick et al. 2006). The importance and positive influence of an ethical leader is vital given there role model status, social responsibly of power, who create and influence ethical norms, values and standards within an organisation which transfers directly to employees. Ethical leaders are able to sustain positive business relations with stakeholders which require personal and professional traits, behaviour and skills other than just ethical integrity (Brown and Mitchell 2010).There are many other external influences such as a leader’s emotional intelligence, cross cultures influences when comparing the Middle East, South East Asia and the Nordic European societies for example and industrial and organisational cultures surrounding the organisation which all effect ethical leadership. Therefore ethical integrity only comprises of one piece of the puzzle required to be an ethical leader.
An ethical leader comprises of both a moral person and moral manager who is very influential within an organisation, in terms of creating an ethical culture, given there role model status, social responsibly of power, who enforces organisational goals and influences ethical norms, values and standards within an organisation (Kolthoff, Erakovich and Lasthuizen 2010). The same way a parent is to a child, an ethical leader demonstrates through their own personal and professional conduct, communications, behaviour and decision making, acceptable behaviour and standards which should be reinforced using a punishment and reward system (Kalshoven, Den Hartog and Hoogh 2011). Given that this does sound 1
Ethical leaders have clear and open communications and also clarify issues of important (Hartog and Hoogh 2009). 2 . keep promises and take responsibility for their decisions and actions within the organisation which reflects ethical integrity (Groner 1996). are fair and caring.quite ideal. hence increasing the responsibility of employees (Perego 2010). Hartman and Brown 2000). make clear. All of these ethical leadership styles are comprised of some of the ethical leadership characteristics or act completely opposite or disregard these ethical behavioural characteristics all together (Trevino and Brown 2004). create a frame of reference and be influenced by the standard of behaviour of their leader hence why it is paramount that the leader is not a hypocritical leader and practices what they preach (Trevino and Brown 2004). There are four types of leadership styles regarding the interplay of ethics which include ethical leader. consistent and predictable with there behaviour. rational and well communicated decisions which involves a high level of trust and respect within the organisation. A hypocritical leader was defined as someone who was strong moral manager but a weak moral person. This description seems quite academic but it reflects that ethical leaders take action and resolve issues. nevertheless employee’s will tend to copy. From Trevino an ethical leader by reputation was defined as a person who was both a moral person and a moral manager. unethical leader and ethically silent leader. It is essential that an ethical leader is both a strong moral person and manager otherwise they would be classified as either a hypocritical or unethical leader. Ethical leaders are also characterised as being rational. An unethical leader is defined as being both a weak moral person and manager as shown in Figure 1 (Trevino. hypocritical leader. Trust and respect is further extended and reinforce by ethical leaders by delegation.
Firstly. Thirdly openly communicating ethical issues and values through out the organisation and not avoiding such issues is another key requirement 3 . Rewarding and disciplining ethical and unethical behaviour. reinforces the ethical stance of the organisation is the second key characteristic of a moral manager. A moral person has empathy and concern for others. hence leading by example. thereby creating ethical standards and expectations.Figure 1 – Executive Ethical Leadership Reputation Matrix (Trevino and Brown 2004) A moral person is a person with good conduct or character with regards to there personal traits. a moral manager translates ethical frameworks within an organisation from being a role model. A moral manager on the other hand is about the manager translating ethical traits. thereby executing ethically expected traits. behaviour and general decision making. There are three key characteristics of a moral manager. trustworthy and has respect and support for there employees. Hartman and Brown 2000). is fair and is concerned with the short and long term impact on stakeholders with regard to their decision making (Trevino. focused on doing the right thing. behaviour and decisions themselves. behaviours and decision making throughout the organisation. A moral person has high ethical integrity and hence is honest.
Without being able to identify the ethical issue present. Therefore for an ethical leader to exist both forms must obviously exist given the obvious social responsible of power a leader naturally comprises. even if the leader has ethical integrity (Resick et al. 2006). there is no possible way a leader can act ethically. motivating. 2006). which can have quite a detrimental effect on perceived ethical leadership. Ethical awareness is based on a consequential moral philosophy and hence the consequences of decisions and actions. which further highlights the multi dimensional concept and elements required of an ethical leadership. Ethical leaders are required to be people orientated and hence aware how their actions will impact on others. encouraging and empowering. People orientation is mainly focused ‘doing good’ and hence reflects the consequentialism 4 . All of these actions and behaviours of a moral manager are aimed at increasing the ethical awareness and standards within an organisation and hence have a more external focus of how the leader is perceived by employees and stakeholders in general. Whereas a moral person component of an ethical leader focuses on the person’s traits. rather than primarily just being about ethical integrity (Resick et al. and managing ethical accountability. But for an ethical leader to exist they must be both a moral person and moral manager. Hartman and Brown 2000). behaviour and decision making towards ethical conduct.of a moral manager (Trevino. people orientated. ethical integrity falls under the moral person category. From Trevino’s definition and description of an ethical leader. Ethical leaders must be ethically aware of the moral issues constantly surrounding them. given the impact decisions have on all stakeholders. ethical awareness. The six key attributes that characterise ethical leaders are character and integrity. which rebuts the statement that being an ethical leader is primarily about ethical integrity and reinforces the statement that ethical integrity only comprises of one piece of the puzzle required to be an ethical leader.
philosophical approach of ‘the greatest good for the great number of people’. ethical standards and norms. 2006). encouraging and empowering and managing ethical accountability are clearly within the moral manager category. Each of the six key characteristics of an ethical leader outlined above falls into the category of either moral person or moral manager. commit and align employees towards the organisational goals. moral development and 5 . This enables employees to be self sufficient and responsible and hence transmit ethical standards throughout the organisation (Resick et al. 2006). The people orientated characteristic highlights the selfless. Ethical leaders must be encouraging and empowering. where ethical integrity. behaviours and decisions by leaders and respective stakeholders such as moral awareness. Finally ethical leaders must manage ethical accountability within an organisation which is done via reward and punishment systems. by delegating tasks and responsibility to employees. leaders are not held reasonable for there unethical actions and decision which has quite a negative and immoral impact on the organisation and stakeholders (Petrick and Quinn 2001). Even if an ethical leader has ethical integrity they still are required to influence. which rebuts the claim that ethical leadership is primarily about ethical integrity (Resick et al. 2006). external focus and responsibilities required of an ethical leader which clearly demonstrates another critical characteristic and element of ethical leadership. ethical awareness. guide and motivate others given there role model status and social responsibility inherit in leadership (Resick et al. Even though ethical integrity is an intangible asset of ethical leadership it is vital in ensuring consistency and repeated desired ethical traits. people orientation are within the moral person category and motivating. 2006). ensuring that employees are ethically responsible to a certain degree. fairness. In some unethical businesses. Ethical leaders are required to be motivating which is a moral manager’s quality to influence. This ensures proper ethical standards and conduct are performed throughout the organisation (Resick et al.
The advantage of high emotional intelligence ethical leaders is that they have well developed empathy and interpersonal skills and hence people orientated skills. create motivation. besides ethical integrity. cross cultures and also the industrial and organisational culture. as there are clearly many other influential elements and factors that effect ethical leadership which all must be satisfied. but is also heavily influenced by the emotional intelligence personal characteristic of leaders (Gregory 2010). High emotional intelligence ethical leaders are also very engaging. Emotional intelligence is another clear influence and attribute of an ethical leader. To openly communicate ethical issues. and increase ethical awareness will thereby stimulate an ethical organisation. Ethical leadership is not primarily about ethical integrity. which clearly reflects strong moral consequentialism philosophy.decision making (Petrick and Quinn 2001). From this description it is clearly demonstrated that ethical integrity only consist of one sixth of the characteristics required of an ethical leader. with many fundamental elements which includes but is not primarily about ethical integrity. understanding. trusting and can inspire other (Gregory 2010). This enables them to understand and appreciate the influence and impact there decisions and behaviour have on stakeholders and especially employees. This reinforces the statement that ethical leadership is a multi dimensional concept. which is heavily influenced by the leader’s emotional intelligence. 6 . A leader who has high emotional intelligence will openly communicate thoughts and opinions which are required of an ethical leader. Hence high emotional intelligence ethical leaders strongly reinforces both the moral person and moral manager qualities and characteristics thereby demonstrating that ethical leadership is not primarily about ethical integrity.
Altruism or selflessness element of ethical leadership is particular dominate within South East Asian societies where loyalty and in group pride is highly valued. 2006). Character and integrity is highly regarded and valued in Nordic European societies which is directly reflected by having very low levels of corruption. High integrity is of the upmost important in Nordic societies which reflects its importance for an ethical leader. These four elements of an ethical leader all vary in importance and value depending on different cultural values and norms which outlines that ethical leadership is not primary about ethical integrity and reinforces that the other three elements of ethical leadership have a major role and influence. The Nordic European societies highly value collective motivation and also encouragement which reflects a culture that emphasises lower power distance and collective rewards (Resick et al. Collective motivation was particularly dominate within Latin American cultures which is reflected with there general open display of emotions. Established in western culture and universally accepted that ethical leadership consist of four multi dimensional based elements. encouragement and collective motivation (Resick et al. Middle Eastern societies in comparison don’t value integrity as much given the importance of social status and respect which is reflected in there valued leadership characteristics (Resick et al. there is an additional element to ethical leadership which 7 . communication and team work focus. altruism. effective ethical leadership is undermined. given that ethical integrity is important to varying degrees in different cultures. Ethical leaders govern using their respect and reputation and when this has been lost. Within Middle Eastern cultures.Cross cultures have a major influence on ethical leadership. 2006). due to the high power distance and centralised decision making that exists. 2006). Middle Eastern societies in contrast support collective motivation and encouragement to a lesser degree. 2006). On the other hand Confucian Asian cultures support collective motivation to a lesser degree. which is then transferred into a valued necessity for ethical leaders within this culture. Altruism was less valued and hence common within the Nordic European societies (Resick et al. which includes character / integrity.
Therefore stating that ethical leadership is primary about ethical integrity is somewhat of a short sited statement given the interplay of various cultural factors that directly influence the four base elements of ethical leadership. As discussed previously ethical leaders can create and stimulate an ethical organisation by motivating employees. An ethical leader can create an ethical organisation and ethical employees which research as shown to maintain positive sustainable business relationships with stakeholders (Brown and Mitchell 2010). leaders are highly influential organisational members. 2006). subjects to there cultural norms and values. In order to ensure that an ethical organisation exists. reputation and customers. Ethical leaders are considered rare. In contrast unethical conduct of the organisation and leaders can have a profound negative impact on the organisation’s credibility. From the above discussion it is clearly obvious that culture has a major influence on ethical leadership which heavily influences ethical leadership and the dominate characteristics which vary within different cultures. which will directly effect stakeholders and hence business relationship (Stango 2006). which is directly stimulated and created by ethical leaders it is paramount to understand all the influencing and effected elements that 8 . especially in top down organisations (Stango 2006). Given the role model status and social responsibility of power. Ethical integrity is not highly valued in Middle Eastern societies which also demonstrates the Islamic values are highly valued and must be respected and implemented during business conduct which thereby introduces another element to the multi dimensional concept of ethical leadership due to the interplay of culture. but bring about highly desired benefits to the organisation internally and externally. creating frameworks of ethical behaviour and conduct which can be reinforced by rewards and punishment systems and by openly communicating ethical issues and thereby increasing ethical awareness within the organisation.consists of satisfying Islamic values within the organisation and during business operations (Resick et al.
In Middle Eastern societies an extra element in Islamic values is also required for ethical leadership. it must successful satisfy all of the characteristic elements of an ethical leader within that particular culture. In reflection it is therefore very naive and quite incorrect to state that ethical leadership is primarily about ethical integrity given that for ethical leadership to exist. A leader’s emotional intelligence directly influenced ethical leadership and cross cultures had a major interplay on the dominant characteristic elements of an ethical leader depending on the dominant cultural norms and values. 9 . From Resick four base elements influenced leaders in becoming an ethical leader which included character / integrity. altruism. encouragement and collective motivation (Resick et al.impinge on ethical leaders. 2006).
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