PART THREE — The Importance of Ethics

Major Purposes of Part Three

Part Three focuses on three important subjects—leadership character, the role of values, and ethics at work.

Part Three Objectives

After completing Part Three, your students should be able to better understand:

• How the character of the leader influences the behavior of followers;

• The importance of ethics;

• The levels and stages of moral development;

• Situational influences on the leadership process; and

• The ethical climates of organizations—profit maximizing, trusteeship, and quality of life management.

NOTES AND ANECDOTES

Aristotle was one of the first and perhaps most influential of all people to shape the ethics of Western civilization from a secular orientation. He believed that every type of animal has a common essence or nature, and that human beings are essentially, or by nature, rational. He viewed rationality as the central and most significant trait distinguishing humankind from other creatures. Further, Aristotle taught that the good person is the one who lives most rationally and whose moral judgments and social conduct are born of contemplation and reason, in contrast to spontaneity and emotionality. Today, when we address a moral dilemma by saying, "Let us use reason; let us use logic; let us think rationally about this," we are being ethical in the Aristotelian, secular tradition.[i]

Aristotle taught an ethical doctrine of the "golden mean," or of "moderation." He believed it was good to seek balance between too much and too little, and that the result would be moderation, the ethical ideal. Aristotle believed the following elements were required to live a whole human life characterized by maximum living.

1) Health: physical and emotional well-being.

2) Wealth: absence of economic want or need.

3) Friendship:

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