Yes, I believe unethical behaviors can occur amongst leaders with proper intentions and values. I will explore this using Cooper and Frank (1991) argument that six factors are likely to cause unethical behaviors. They include an individual’s moral standards and values, controlling bosses who may result in compromise ethical standards, family and friends who provide insights, the work culture and environment, professional codes of ethics, and the organization management philosophy. O’Fallon and Butterfield (2012) explain that leaders with proper values and intentions may follow the victim of unethical conduct due to peer influence where for example, working in a place where everyone is unethical may feel like the best thing to do.
Proper leaders may be unethical to the influence of organizational goals. According to Cooper and Frank (1991), a highly competitive industry may force managers to be more bottom-line rather than following business ethics resulting in ethical misconduct. Based on this, a leader may measure workforce performance based on the outcome without ethical consideration, which may indirectly make them unethical. Additionally, a proper leader setting short-term goals is highly prone to unethical behaviors if they fail to attain such goals.
Tenbrunsel and Messick (2004) explain that unethical behaviors are influenced by peer pressure, organization culture, and moral compass. In the aspect of moral compass, the cost-benefit analysis indicates that a leader may face a dilemma where they may either follow the utilitarianism view where they follow decisions resulting in collective welfare or follow economic analysis where they follow the most cost-effective strategy (Gino et al., 2011). Proper leaders without a strong moral compass are likely to err because the impact of education into ethical misconduct concerning a moral compass is low. Lastly, Tenbrunsel and Messick (2004) explain that the best motivator for unethical conduct is money, power, and personal advancement. All these factors are likely to cause ethical misconduct among employees.
Cooper, R. W., & Frank, G. L. 1991. Ethics in the Life Insurance Industry: The issues, and hindrances. Journal of the American Society of CLU & ChFC, 45: 54-66
Gino, F., Schweitzer, M. E., Mead, N. L., & Ariely, D. (2011). Unable to resist temptation: How self-control depletion promotes unethical behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115(2), 191-203.
O’Fallon, M. J., & Butterfield, K. D. 2012. The Influence of Unethical Peer Behavior on Observers’ Unethical Behavior: A Social Cognitive Perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 109: 117-131
Tenbrunsel, A. E., & Messick, D. M. (2004). Ethical fading: The role of self-deception in unethical behavior. Social justice research, 17(2), 223-236.
The “Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness” (GLOBE) explore the application of traits in effective leadership. Rumsey (2013) explains that the GLOBE evaluates the aspects of cross-cultural leadership spanning across 60 nations and cultures. Robert J House founded the GLOBE project in 1993 intending to analyze the organizational beliefs, values, and norms in different cultures. The main purpose of the project according to Chhokar, Brodbeck, and House (2013) was to explore the most essential view of leadership from different cultures.
One aspect discussed in the GLOBE is power distance, which explores the cultural preferences for hierarchical and differentiated status compared with the egalitarian and undifferentiated status. Rumsey (2013) defines Power Distance in GLOBE Project as “the degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be shared unequally” (p230). Based on this, persons with lower-status are required to compromise to persons with higher status who provides for their needs. Chhokar, Brodbeck, and House (2013) explain that persons from high power distance follow more hierarchical distance, reserved, and orderly while persons with low power distance have less formal and close superior-subordinate relations.
The GLOBE project also explores the aspect of uncertainty avoidance, which explores the extent to which it seeks formalized procedures, structure, consistency, orderliness, and laws. Individuals with a high desire for security were identified to resist change because it questions their security. Therefore, the GLOBE Project is beneficial as it helps in understanding the impact of change or other organization factors has on leaders. It makes it easier to explore all the areas of the life of a leader. It also helps define basic human relations principles like love and obedience, father and son, elder and younger brothers, loyalty and duty, obligation and submission, and seniority and modeling subject.
Chhokar, J. S., Brodbeck, F. C., & House, R. J. (Eds.). (2013). Culture and leadership across the world: The GLOBE book of in-depth studies of 25 societies. Routledge.
Rumsey, M. G. (2013). The Oxford handbook of leadership. New York: Oxford University Press.
1. Laura worked in an organization that was predominated by males resulting in gender discrimination. For example, her colleague did not accept any suggestions she made but suggestions from her colleagues were highly accepted. She works in a conservative organization, which led managers to give assignments that are more challenging to males while leaving her out irrespective of her skills in the field. Besides, Laura was left out while senior managers invited her colleagues to social events. Due to this, she missed the opportunity to boost good relationships with managers. Worse, her male colleagues who were hired during a similar duration were promoted while she received no promotion.
2. To overcome these obstacles, Laura would have worked extremely hard and outdo her male counterparts. This should be illustrated in the new company she formed which is successful. In her new company, Laura may be prone to discrimination from men but should have formed an environment that attracts gender equality in leadership and another organizational role. Such an environment should motivate employees following their skills rather than their gender. This new company should not discriminate against employees based on any factor but they should treat them accordingly by making them feel appreciated.
3. Equality and diversity are essential elements in an organization, as it helps in attracting and retaining employees at work (Sharma, 2016). In this case study, the president should have included a diverse environment in the workplace that embraces diversity based on race, sexual orientation, mental abilities, culture, religion, and gender. The manager after hearing Laura case should have formed a diversity and equality committee who would have boosted equality in the workplace. For example, Laura faced discrimination in social events, managerial positions, and promotions because she was a woman. This negatively affected the company, as it lost talented employees who could help the business increase their productivity.
Sharma, A. (2016). Managing diversity and equality in the workplace. Cogent Business & Management, 3(1), 1212682.
There are several differences between male and female leaders in the present world. The first difference is evidenced in the egalitarian vs. hierarchical work structure. From this viewpoint, organizations run by female leaders have an equal valuation of achievements and voices tend to be heard. This is in contrast to male managers who drive more experience and greater knowledge. This form of approach is beneficial towards predictable results while the former is better in driving morale and may benefit unexpected areas of a business (Snaebjornsson and Edvardsson, 2013).
The second difference is based on collaboration vs. individual achievement. Jonsen, Maznevski, Schneider (2010) argue that female bosses are more into collaborative procedures where they collect knowledge and skills of different employees to form a strong team. In contrast, male bosses are more concerned about increasing competition by rewarding individual achievement and employees compete against each other. The third difference is perception vs. reality, which explores the language that managers apply during communication. For example, a positive male manager is described by the word analytical while the word compassionate describes a positive female character.
Variation is also identified between general vs. individual traits. Although there are different descriptions of men and women where women are termed as collaborative and compassionate, some are authoritarian and competitive as men while some men are collaborative and compassionate. Nonetheless, Ayman and Korabik (2010) argue that men who are authoritarian and competitive are so because of the organization environment that such traits help them rise in the ladder. Lastly is the aspect of transformation vs. transactional where women tend to support workforce skills and build their skills while the men follow a transactional form of leadership to offer ongoing learning while ensuring work is done.
Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership: Why gender and culture matter. American Psychologist, 65(3), 157.
Jonsen, K., Maznevski, M. L., & Schneider, S. C. (2010). Gender differences in leadership–believing is seeing: implications for managing diversity. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal, 29(6), 549-572.
Snaebjornsson, I. M., & Edvardsson, I. R. (2013). Gender, nationality and leadership style: A literature review. International Journal of Business and Management, 8(1), 89.
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