In the current society today, the roles that leaders play in an organisation are much more significant and are studied in greater depth. The importance of ethically managing an organization and leading the entire organization towards a similar purpose and message requires great leadership. With this, we would look further into the practice of ethical leadership; how it’s defined and attempt to provide a more comprehensive understanding of ethical leadership and it’s relation with integrity. What is Ethical Leadership?
Firstly, Ethics is a philosophical term that is related to the prescription and description of moral principles that guides people’s behaviours, suggesting that there are “acceptable” and “unacceptable,” as well as “right” and “wrong” way of behaving (Stapledon 2009). Whereas, leadership is an art to persuade and direct followers and subordinates to act perform and behave in ways that would eventually help the leader achieve the desired goal (Drucker 1995). When both Ethics and Leadership are placed together it gives us an ethical leader, one who is known to be a combination of a “Moral Person” and “Moral Manager.” As mentioned by Brown & Trevino (2006), Ethical Leadership is the demonstration of a normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement and decision making. What is leadership Integrity?
Integrity, is to have a high moral principle and adhering to this set of ethical principles. Leadership Integrity, also known as Moral Identity, is also described as a self regulatory mechanism that motivates one to act morally and is concerned with the degree to which a person’s morality is important to their self identity (Mayer, Aquino, Greenbaum & Kuenzi 2012). Different perspectives of ethical leadership
This topic has been studied over many years, and this has resulted in many differing perspectives on the level of influence that leadership integrity has over ethical leadership. Trevino, Brown & Wall (2004) once stated that the misconception of ethical leadership is due to the narrowing on individual character and qualities such as integrity, honesty and fairness, which falls under a “moral person”, therefore neglecting the importance of a leader possessing the qualities of a “moral manager”. A “moral person” is known to be one with good conduct or character with regards to his personal traits, behaviour and general decision making. They have high integrity making them honest, trustworthy and focused on doing the right thing (Trevino, Hartman & Brown 2000). On the other hand, a “moral manager” translates the ethical traits, behaviours and decision making throughout the organisation, using ethical role model conduct and rewards and punishments, thereby creating ethical standards and expectations. An ethical leader is defined as a person who is strong on both dimensions, as a moral person and a moral manger (Trevino, Brown & Wall 2004). To help us further understand ethical leadership, Trevino and Brown (2006) came up with an executive ethical leadership reputation matrix to further support their statement above. This matrix is made up of four different leadership styles which are formed through the various combinations of moral person and moral manager qualities each leader possess. There are the ethical leader, hypocritical leader, unethical leader and ethically silent leader. As suggested by Arthur Anderson, an ethical leader must not only be individual of high characters; they must lead others to behave ethically as well. This shows that integrity making up a moral person of high character is insufficient and does not fully encompass the concept for ethical leadership. If someone has a strong leadership integrity, and has strong moral identity but does not have the courage or tenacity to want his voice heard, actions followed and principles abided, he would...
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