Ethical Leadership in Business
Ethical leadership refers to a type of leadership wherein the rights and dignity of others are being characterized as the basic foreground in making the decisions in the state of an organization. It takes into account, not just the leader, but also his constituents, the context, the processes and skills, as well as, the outcome that results to a specific decision being made (Freeman & Stewart, 2006, p. 3).
Because leaders are associated as the “first and foremost members of their own organizations and stakeholder groups” (Freeman & Stewart, 2006, p. 3), it is assumed that their purpose, vision, and values carry utmost importance to the group as a whole. Altruism is being regarded as the main principle of moral behavior among leaders, as it relates to the motives, strategies, and character that the leader possesses.
Main Body It is said that ethics is a very broad area (Chapman, 2009, p. 1). There are many different definitions and interpretations of the concept, as related by Alan Chapman (2009). Because there is no universally agreed set of ethics used in business, the answer as to what is ethical is set on the leader’s view of the ethical aspects of life and how it relates to the outer world.
As for Western ethical philosophy, ethics can be explained as the following: first is virtue, such as justice, charity, and generosity that benefit the person and the society; second is morality and human duty that is based on the degree of respect bestowed by rational people; third and final is the guiding principle that is based on conduct, producing the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people (Chapman, 2009, p. 1). Here it becomes evident that above all, altruism appears to be the basic key terms when speaking about ethical leadership in business, wherein the decision made is done for the good of all.
There is greater need for ethical leadership among organizations nowadays. Because organizations have a structure that causes its members to carry a sort of tasks, roles, and status levels, in order to achieve these efficiently and effectively there has to have the presence of ethical leadership carried by the upper ground of the organization. According to a source, “The leaders are expected to provide direction, exercise control, and generally execute such functions that are necessary to achieve the organization’s objectives” (Mendonca & Kanungo, 2007, p. 2).
This, however, do not just intend to provide direction and control. There has to have a shared vision and mission, with ethics and morality as the foreground of the decisions made by leaders in an organization. Yet, as indicated: When morality intrudes into the business organization, it has the potential of diverting business leaders from the organization’s primary objections (that is financial) and, as a result, causing it to be inefficient and to deprive stockholders of their due returns. (Mendonca & Kanungo, 2007, p. 2)