As we move into the new millennium, there is an emphasis on the need for leadership and the complexities of developing effective moral leadership. In out postmodern society, chaos and corruption prevail. Organizations are created while others go out of business. Programs that are effective and necessary are eliminated, while profit-making programs that serve those who have the least need find a solid market share. From a realist perspective, it is argued that leaders cannot afford ethics in this world of increasing responsibilities, political and economic intimidation, and competitive interests. However, an alternative view would argue that leaders should follow the requirements of ethics. Further, ethical leadership leads to the development of quality human services, empowered consumers and community citizens, and committed employees.
Leadership of human service delivery systems brings forward many complex ethical challenges that are located in a particular context: the organization. The moral nature of human service organizations is multidimensional, with responsibilities to consumers, employees, and society. Perhaps the greatest ethical challenge is that human services have, as their primary purpose, serving people. Therefore, leadership in human services is connected to the moral issues of affecting people in serious, life-changing ways and attending to public trust through the moral contract with society. Human service organizations function to protect, maintain, and/or enhance the personal well-being of individuals through services that define, shape, or alter their personal characteristics and attributes (Hasenfeld, 1983).
Human beings turn to these organizations to meet their needs in areas that are critical to basic daily life, such as food, housing, employment, health and mental health care, social welfare, and so forth. Subsequently, their dependence on the organization is increased and the organization acquires power to shape their lives....
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