Ethical Leadership Is Mostly About Leadership Integrity

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Leadership Pages: 7 (2068 words) Published: March 12, 2013
Question 2: Ethical leadership is mostly about leadership integrity. Discuss. Ethical leadership is defined as “the demonstration of 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” (Brown et al 2005). The growing number of unethical behaviours, such as the National Kidney Foundation in Singapore has resulted in putting the role of leadership in shaping ethical conduct in the spotlight, as most employees turn to significant others for ethical guidance (Kohlberg 1986). It is never easy to truly stay ethical due to business requirements and the competitive environment businesses are in. Thus, organizations need ethical leaders to be there, to serve as guidance and instil ethics into the employees. According to Michael and Francis 2007, there are empirical researches that linked aspects of integrity to leadership, such that it is considered a characteristic for good leaders. Also, it was said that integrity is necessary for effective leadership (Morrison 2001). However, ethical leadership may not be mostly about leadership integrity. There may be other factors or traits contributing to ethical leadership that are equally important too.

Hence, this essay will discuss and evaluate if ethical leadership is mostly about leadership integrity

What are Ethical Leadership and Leadership Integrity? Firstly, we have to first understand, the meaning of leadership and ethical. Ethical would be values of honesty, integrity, fairness and responsibility for one’s own actions (Gronner 1996). Whereas, the general meaning of leadership, is the course of action of influencing others in order to attain specific goals (Yukl 2006). Thus, the definition of ethical leadership can also be said as having ethical leaders that are fair and upright decision makers who consider and be bothered about the ethical consequences of their decisions. Furthermore, they are the ones who will have to continually behave according to ethics, as they are role models (whose behaviours are perceived as right) whom followers look upon. In summary, ethical leadership is about influencing and leading others and setting and pursuing goals in ethical manners. It is to use the values to influence action to be more ethical.

Integrity is often linked to leadership due to the course of action of influence that a leader exerts (Grojean et al 2004). Also, researches have referred integrity as an important trait in leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 2002), which surrounds and embraces the other traits like, honesty and trustworthiness (Clarkson 2009). In addition, integrity is the most important variable related to trust (Morgan 1989). The link between integrity and trust would be the followers’ observation that the leaders stick to the set of principles that the followers find acceptable (Mayer et al 2006). Thus, leadership integrity would be summarised as being consistent, of being able to walk the walk and not talk the talk and credibility. It is using the characteristics of integrity, such as trust to set an example to influence actions to be more ethical.

Ethical Leadership is mostly about Leadership Integrity.

According to the research done by Trevino and Brown (2006), evidence from interviews reflected that personal characteristics such as honesty and trustworthy were related to ethical leadership. These characteristics are also components of integrity. Moreover, it is stated that the reputation of ethical leadership is for one to be perceived as both ‘moral person’ and ‘moral manager’ (Trevino & Brown 2006). A leader is a ‘moral person’ when he/she is perceived to be honest, trustworthy, fair and upright decision maker who cares about people (Brown, Trevino, & Harrison, 2005). It is the condition for ethical leaders to be associated with their traits. However, it is not sufficient to be just a ‘moral person’ and...
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