Ethical Decision Making - Wallstreet

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‘WALL STREET’

ETHICS IN LEADERSHIP ANALYSIS

LDR 3230 Ethical Decision Making

How Gordon Gecko compares to an ‘Ethical Leader’

The movie Wall Street depicts the intricacies of financial transactions and the opportunity some investors take to make huge sums of money. Gordon Gecko is a millionaire through finding the right opportunities in the investment world. Gordon is very harsh with his words, emotional in his judgment about people and finds investment to be like a game where the most ruthless player wins. He is a very ruthless player, aiming for more and more money. Profit is the only reward he cares about, no matter who gets hurt in the process.

A leader in the investment field, Gordon Gecko is a role model to many players in the stock market. His behavior and attitude is emulated and admired. Since he made millions, he has an estate, a family, private jets, limos, expensive paintings and anything else he desires. Gordon is admired as a man that ‘staked his claim in this world.’[1] He provides other people the ability to become wealthy as long as they play by his rules and don’t complain about his lack of ethics. In Gecko’s world, money, and the challenge of making money, is the sole measurement of success.

Leaders have responsibility to behave ethically and create strong examples for ethical decision-making. Gordon Gecko is a strong and prominent leader who viewed rules as obstacles observed by ‘sheep who get slaughtered.’[2] He made large profits through acquiring inside information and manipulating the stock market. Gecko has a very weak ‘Personal Character’[3] that is strongly biased toward unethical decisions. His business approach is suburb for making highly unethical and highly profitable decisions.

Passion is very present in the behavior portrayed. The passion to do everything possible to make money and possibly ruin people’s lives in the process. Ethical leaders who have a passion to do right aim to ‘alleviate human suffering and to advance human prosperity.’[4] Gecko could have used his millions for projects to aid humanity or invest in the growth of companies. Instead, the game of investing and gaining millions was more important to him than knowing his actions contributed to help create or build something of value.

Being Proactive is essential to ethical leadership. Providing guidelines for employees to follow and practice is vital to cultivate ethical corporate culture. Gecko is only proactive in making sure his responsibility is erased from an illegal practices, like transferring fund to off shore accounts. He arranged Buddy Fox to sign legal documents making Fox have power of attorney for trading with Gecko’s money. Legally, Fox holds all blame for insider trading, while acting under Gecko’s directions. Gecko was active in protecting himself and encouraging Fox to seek out and recommend new investments, as when he proclaimed ‘Surprise me!’[5], in terms of profitable investments.

Ethical leaders account for all stakeholders’ interest. Gecko only gives the impression that he cares about the success of the companies he invests in. At a shareholder’s meeting he gives a speech saying ‘Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”[6] His attempt to mask his lack of care for people is accepted and cheered by the stockholders in the meeting. Gecko alludes that profit-focused actions encourage smart business decisions that also benefit people’s well being. When going forward to take over Blue Star, he meets the three top company representatives since he needs their support for the takeover. The plan he presents looks ethical on paper but is ethically questionable since it gives Gecko complete control over the company. Later on, Gecko decides he can make more profit by selling the company and proceeds to do...
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