Comparing Ethical Behaviour And Leadership Philosophy

Essay add: 27-11-2017, 16:56   /   Views: 179

When you took out the loan for the car the banking institution worked out how many months and for what amount the payment would be each month. If you have lost a job or are between jobs, were ill, were in an accident, then if you are honest you can talk to the bank manager and they will usually be quite willing to adjust your loan payments. The smaller the loan payment the longer it will take you to pay it off because of the interest applied on the outstanding loan. So, you could spend an extra couple of years paying this off. Banks don't want the vehicle, they want their money.

(a) Ethics is that set of behavioral standards that relate to a set of principles, values and ideals for human conduct. Ethics may be defined as 'the standards of conduct which indicate how one should behave on moral duties and obligations'.

(b) Ethics deals with two aspects: the first involves one's ability to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil and propriety from impropriety; the second involves the commitment to do what is good, right and proper.


Values are core beliefs, which guide or motivate attitudes and behavior. They are the established ideals of life that members of a given society regard as desirable.

Ethical Values are directly related to our beliefs concerning what is right, good and proper. They impose moral obligations and are concerned with our sense of moral duty. The 10 core ethical values are:-


        (I) Honesty

        (ii) Integrity

        (iii) Promise keeping

        (iv) Loyalty

        (v) Fairness

        (vi) Concern and Caring for others

        (vii) Respect for others

        (viii) Responsible Citizenship

        (ix) Pursuit of excellence

        (x) Accountability

What are your care ethical values?

With how many of the above do they coincide?

Or, do you have other unique ethical values?

Before you can develop an approach to ethical decision making, you should invest some time and effort and attain a solid understanding of your own core ethical values.


There is an ethical dimension to every decision that can be evaluated in terms of its adherence to the previously discussed core ethical values. Thus any of your decisions, which affect other persons, have ethical implications, and virtually all of your important decisions reflect your sensitivity and commitment to ethics.

In summary, as you perform your job in your workplace, what are the ethical dimensions as you deal with your superiors, peers, subordinates and others connected with your work?

Different stakeholders have different ethical perspectives.

Take the case of organizational romance. Whereas, some organizations feel that there is nothing ethically wrong and may even encourage organizational romance and marriage among colleagues by giving various perks and incentives like dating allowance, some other organizations may prohibit or discourage organizational romance. Of course, sexual harassment would be universally considered unethical.


Ethical Commitment is the strong desire to act ethically, to do the right thing, especially when ethics imposes financial, social or psychological costs. Regardless of profession, nearly all people believe they are and should be ethical. While most are not satisfied with the ethical quality of the society as a whole, they believe their profession is more ethical than others and they are at least as ethical as those in their profession.

Unfortunately our behaviors do not consistently conform to our self-images and moral ambitions. As a result, a large number of decent people who are committed to ethical values regularly compromise these values, often because they lack the strength to follow their conscience. Both in your professional and personal life, you will be confronted with a continuous stream of stream of situations in which your ethical commitment will be constantly tested.


While weakness of will explains a great deal of improper conduct, a much greater problem arises from our failure to perceive the ethical implications of our conduct. Many of us simply fall to apply our moral convictions to our daily behavior.

Some of us do not always see ethical issues that are likely to trouble others. Sometimes perfectly legal conduct often appears to be ethically improper or inappropriate.


Being ethically conscious and being committed to act ethically is not always enough. In complex situations, which are frequently faced by most of us involved in Human Resource Management, the following reasoning and problem solving skills are also necessary:

Evaluation - The ability to collect and evaluate relevant facts and to know when to stop and how to make prudent decisions based on incomplete and ambiguous facts.

Creativity - The capacity to develop alternative means of accomplishing goals in ways which avoid or minimize ethical problems.

Prediction - The ability to foresee potential consequences of conduct and assess the likelihood or risk that person will be helped or harmed by an act.


The extent to which we use this approach to ethical decision making to guide our behaviors in management situations will very from person to person. Kohlberg offers a handy framework for delineating the stage each of us has reached with respect to personal moral development.

Stage 1.  Physical consequences determine moral behavior.   At this stage of personal moral development, the individual's ethical behavior is driven by the decision to avoid punishment or by deference to power. Punishment is an automatic response of physical retaliation. The immediate physical consequences of an action determine its goodness or badness. Such moral behavior is seen in cadets at service training academics where physics punishment techniques are prevalent with a view to inculcate the attributes of obedience and deference to power.

Stage 2.   Individual needs dictate moral behavior.  At this stage, a person's needs are the person's primary concern. The right action consists of what instrumentally satisfies your own needs. People are valued in terms of their utility. Example: "I will help him because he may help me in return - you scratch my back, I will scratch yours."

Stage 3.  Approval of others determines moral behavior. This stage is characterized by decision where the approval of others determines the person's behavior. Good behavior is that which pleases or helps others within the group. The good person satisfies family, friends and associates. "Everybody is doing it, so it must be okay." One earns approval by being conventionally "respectable" and "nice." Sin is a breach of the expectations of the social order - "log kya kahenge?" 

Stage 4.  Compliance with authority and upholding social order are a person's primary ethical concerns.  "Doing one's duty" is the primary concern. Consistency and precedence must be maintained. Example: "I comply with my superior's instructions because it is wrong to disobey a senior officer," Authority is seldom questioned. "Even if I feel that something may be unethical, I will unquestioningly obey all orders and comply with everything my boss says because I believe that the boss is always right."

Stage 5.  Tolerance for rational dissent and acceptance of rule by the majority becomes the primary ethical concern. Example: "Although I disagree with her views. I will uphold her right to have them." The right action tends to be defined in terms of general individual rights, and in terms of standards that have been critically examined and agreed upon by the whole society. The freedom of the individual should be limited by society only when it infringes upon someone else's freedom.

Stage 6.  What is right is viewed as a matter of individual conscience, free choice and personal responsibility for the consequences.  Example: "There is no external threat that can force me to make a decision that I consider morally wrong." An individual who reaches this stage acts out of universal ethical principles.

Moral development is in no way correlated with intellectual development or your position in the hierarchy or factors like rank/seniority/status/success. In the words of Alexander Orlov: "Honesty and Loyalty may be often more deeply ingrained in the make-up of simple and humble people than in men of high position. A man who was taking bribes when he was a constable does not turn honest when he becomes the Chief of Police; the only thing that changes in the size of the bribe. Weakness of character and inability to withstand temptation remains with the man no matter how high he climbs." Ethical traits accompany a man to the highest rungs of his career.

If the environment is not conducive, a person can intellectually reach stage 6 but deliberately remain morally at stage 4 as he may find that he has to sacrifice too much to reach stage 6. This can be particularly seen in most hierarchical organizations  where most smart employees make an outward preference of being at stage 3 or 4 (Conformance and Compliance) to avoid jeopardizing their careers even if internally they have achieved higher ethical states. This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde schizophrenic moral approach is at the heart of many ethical dilemmas people encounter in their professional lives and results in stress due to ethical confusion.

Whenever two individuals at different stages of moral development interact with each other both of them try to force/maneuver the other into their own appreciation of the ethical situation, thus leading to conflict. In a formal hierarchical setup the players in the chain may not be at the similar stage of moral development thereby leading to dissonance in the system.

Where the ethical susceptibility is high, morally strong people (less vulnerable) should be appointed and conversely, in such jobs where ethical susceptibility is low, weakness persons can be appointed. 

What is your stage of personal moral development?

Be honest with yourself and recall the decisions you made in recent ethical situations.

The six stages are valuable landmarks as they tell you approximately where you are and what changes you will have to make in your behaviors and decisions to move to a higher level of moral development.

The ultimate goal is to engage in ethical decision making at stage 6. However, the level that you do reach will depend on your ethical commitment, your ethical consciousness and your ethical competence.


Ethical Susceptibility is the inability to avoid ethical dilemmas. It is environment dependent (on external factors). Ethical Vulnerability is your inability to withstand succumbing in the given ethical dilemmas /situations. It is dependent on your internal stage of moral development in the given ethical situation. Whereas being in an ethical dilemma is not in your control, to act in a proper and ethical manner in the prevailing situation is certainly in you control. Ethical vulnerability is the ease with which a man be ethically compromised, especially in an ethically poor climate. Where the ethical susceptibility is high, morally strong people (less vulnerable) should be appointed and conversely, in such jobs where ethical susceptibility is low, weaker persons can be appointed.

In the context of organizations, it would be revealing to reflect on the prevailing HR practices and try to aim to facilitate and encourage all employees to achieve at least stage 4 of the moral development grid in order to enable them to be effective flowers. HR practices of the Adam Smith style which use fear and a sense of insecurity as motivators are akin to treating employees like slaves and will lead to proliferation of sheep type of employees. Over emphasis on disciplinary action, threats of sacking, firing and transfer are examples of motivators which attempt to cow down an employee into stage 1. Over-reliance on Motivation as motivator corresponds to stage 2 and this may become a standard operating practice to motivate and facilitate yes-man as will stage 3 motivation techniques, Unless one has achieved the ultimate stage of moral development (conscience and free will) each of us un in a state of moral flux and workplace environment and personal circumstances may force a man to fluctuate between stages of moral development (conscience and free will) each of us in a state of moral flux and Workplace environment and personal circumstances may force a man to fluctuate between stages of moral development depending on the situation and he may tend to practice what is called situational-ethics like the survivor type of employee.

References: Question 2:

Within the business context, businesses are expected to have good ethical values and act socially responsible. The problem is that the ethics of a business is a mixture of individual sets of ethics. This is why it is important to have good individuals as employees. It is also equally important that when you got to work somewhere that you feel like values of those you work with. Ethics is not just talking about the right thing. It is doing what is right in every decision that is made.

Based on the above observation discuss the impact on society that ethical leaders can make.

The topics of authentic leadership and the ethical behavior of leaders have received significant interest in recent years due to the plethora of ethical scandals in corporations. In this paper, we developed a theoretical framework that maintains that employees' psychological empowerment mediates the relationship between leaders' ethical behaviors and employees' organizational commitment and trust in leaders. We also argue that authenticity (i.e., the consistency between leaders' true ethical intention and behavior) moderates the relationship between leaders' ethical behaviors and employee outcomes. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the proposed model for work on authentic leadership.

Ethics are talked about frequently and addressed in the news when unethical decisions are found. Sadly, people do not hear about ethics when others are engaging in ethical behavior on a daily basis. Keep in mind that things that are not illegal may be unethical. Ethics are an individual belief system that consists of knowing what is right and wrong. Ethics can vary person to person. Ethics is in part analyzing decisions, beliefs, and actions.

Within the business context, businesses are expected to have good ethical values and act socially responsible. The problem is that the ethics of a business is a mixture of individual sets of ethics. This is why it is important to have good individuals as employees. It is also equally important that when you go to work somewhere that you feel like you share the values of those you work with. Ethics is not just talking about the right thing. It is doing what is right in every decision that is made.

Social responsibility can be an example of ethical behavior. It is enhancing society in general. However, a business can't afford to go around doing good deeds if there is no potential payoff. If the business were to lose too much money, then it would cease to exist, hurt customers, and leave employees jobless. There are some that argue that social responsibility is shown only when companies go beyond what is optional, and really intend to create a benefit for others besides the company. Additionally, some companies may not benefit from some forms of social responsibility. These businesses should focus on what they do best as a business and give back what they can. Examples of socially responsible behavior range from projects that raise money for research on diseases, raising money for the needy, requiring workers to volunteer within the

Community, recalling products that may be dangerous, promoting recycling, and offering free services to the disadvantaged.

There are innumerable ethical dilemmas that may arise in a business setting. Some of them are more obvious while some of them are more obscure. There is a simple basis that helps keep decisions in perspective. Businesses should operate in a manner that is legal, profitable, ethical, and within social norms. By being within social norms means that you need to use society to gauge if your decisions are appropriate. Some cultures would define what is ethical differently from other cultures. Due to the fact that all businesses need to be profitable, sometimes there is an over emphasis on making more money. Social norms should govern what is appropriate to compensate individuals as well as to charge customers. Profit expectations and goals should not require a business to cut corners in an unethical way or to misrepresent or twist facts.

Then where do ethics come from? People begin to develop their internal beliefs from the time they are small children. Factors such as the conditions that an individual grows up in affect the way that they see the world. For example if a child was raised in a household with a lot of violence, they might feel that fighting is okay. The beliefs of the peers around you may influence how you see things. It is human nature to want to belong and some are more apt to give into peer pressure. People have a lot in common with their peers due to similar values in the first place. However, it is hard to find two people that feel exactly the same about every situation. Some people would feel that if they found money that they should be able to stick it in their pocket and keep it. Others would feel as if they should take it to the lost and found area. Keeping money that you find on the ground in a public place is not illegal, but some people would not be able to benefit from

a situation while the person who lost it could be potentially found. Powerful situational factors may cause people to compromise their values and resort to measures that they would not normally take. If someone is having financial problems, then they are more likely to steal. An individual that is very angry with another person may have a hard time being objective and fair.

Then why do people engage in unethical behaviors? Many people feel that they won't be caught. An employee that steals a few dollars out of petty cash may eventually result to taking large amounts of cash if they are never caught. Someone with lots of authority may feel like they can cover their tracks by lying to subordinates. Some people are unethical because they can justify what they are doing. If an employee sees other people not being punished for unethical behavior, then they may feel like they should be able to do it to. Some individuals make a poor choice and instead of coming clean about it feel the need to make more choices to cover it up. Once bad decisions are made, they tend to get worse until they are eventually caught. The biggest reason people are unethical is because they feel that they can gain from it, or that they need to hide something that can hurt them.

There are many things that an organization can do to facilitate good ethical behaviors. One of the best things to do is to make sure that the underlying culture of an organization promotes strong values. People should not be punished for coming forward with problems. As a matter of fact, workers should be allowed to communicate problems anonymously. Some organizations have a phone number to call or a suggestion box. Always allow employees to share any ethical concerns with authority above them when there are ambiguities about the right thing to do. Include a code of ethics as a written

Document for employees to read. Develop brochures, mission statements, and other media that express the company beliefs. Higher authorities within the organization should possess the beliefs and demonstrate the values that they want to see their employees have.

Another method for implementing ethical conduct is to make sure that unethical conduct can't occur. The ability to safeguard resources is an important function of internal controls. Examples of internal controls are to make sure that more than one employee works with cash and accounting related materials. This way there is more than one person who knows what is going on and can identify theft. Other methods are to require signatures, to lock up valuables, use security cameras, have employees rotate jobs, and randomly check employee work. The more secure your business is, the less likely that individuals within the organization will make unethical decisions.

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