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Leadership Ethics: An Introduction

Leadership Ethics: An Introduction

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Leadership Ethics: An Introduction

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  1. Leadership Ethics: An Introduction Ronald F. White, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy College of Mount St. Joseph

  2. Topics • Ontology of Organizational Leadership • The Great Man Theory of Leadership • Enduring Bias Within the Great Man Tradition • Prescriptive Moral Theories • Discussion Questions

  3. Ontology of “Leadership Theory” • Key Concepts in Leadership Theory • Organizations • Leaders • Followers • Relationships

  4. Organizations • What is an Organization? (Facts) • Organizations as cooperative/competitive communities • Political, Business, Public (governmental), Military, Private (non-governmental), Athletic, Musical etc… • What is a “Good Organization.” (Values) • Organizational Ends-worthiness of goals • What does the organization attempt to do? (Descriptive) • Are these ends good? (Prescriptive ) • Organizational Means-efficiency • Are the means of achieving that end ethical? • At what cost?

  5. Leaders • What is a leader? (Descriptive) • How do you become a leader? • Natural Leadership • Biology • emergence • Social Science • How do you lose leadership? • What is a good/bad leader? (Prescriptive) • How do you become a good (or bad) leader?

  6. Followers • What is a follower? (Descriptive) • How do you become a follower? • Biology- • Social Science • What is a good/bad follower? (Prescriptive) • How do you become a “good” (or bad) follower?

  7. Relationships • Descriptive Relationships: • How do leaders and followers relate to one another in the “real world?” (is) • How should leaders and followers relate to one another? (ought)

  8. History of Great Man Theoryof Leadership • Great Man Theory • origins • Refinements to Great Man Theory • Trait Theory • Behavior Theory • Relational Theory • Transformative Leadership Theory • Social Psychology • Contextual Theory • Complexity Theory • Evolutionary Leadership Theory

  9. Enduring Biases Within the Great Man Tradition • DESCRIPTIVE BIASES • LEADER BIAS: Followers are only “passive” responders to effective leadership, therefore, leadership ethics trumps followership ethics. • Blame the leaders not the followers • HUMAN BIAS: Only human beings organize themselves, naturally, based on leadership and followership. • NATURE OR NURTURE BIAS: Leaders are either “born not made” (Nature) or “made not born.” (Nurture) • MALE BIAS: Leaders are always men. • HEROIC BIAS: Great leaders are “active” and accomplish “heroic acts.” • MACRO BIAS: Bring about macro-level, revolutionary social change • Lower-level leadership is less important • PRESCRIPTIVE BIASES • ETHICAL LEADERSHIP BIAS: Immoral and/or ineffective leaders are not “real leaders” • “ The Hitler Problem” • MORAL ABSOLUTES BIAS: Ethical Leadership involves conformity to universal moral rules, even at the expense of efficacy and efficiency • No “Dirty Hands” • INTERNAL MENTAL STATES BIAS: Ethical leadership is about internal states such as motives, intents, beliefs etc. • Ethical leaders morally “transform” malleable internal states of followers . • Rejection of “transactional leadership” (needs more research on incentives and disincentives) “Nudge” • ALTRUISTIC MOTIVATION BIAS: Altruistic motivation is necessary and sufficient for ethical leadership • Altruistic motives always trump efficacy • Moral absolutes

  10. Prescriptive Moral Theories • Cognitive Moral Theories • Virtue-Based Theories- • Good Leaders/followers are virtuous • Teleological Theories- • Good Leaders/followers are effective • Duty-Based Theories- • Good Leaders/followers follow rules • Non-Cognitive Moral Theories • Emotivism • Constructivism • Feminist Ethics • Subjectivist Theories • Cultural relativism • There are no universal standards for ethical leadership • Good Leaders/Followers are contextually sensitive

  11. Discussion Questions • Are there at least some universal facts of leadership that transcend context, or is leadership entirely contextual? • Are these universal facts embedded in human nature that transcend context, or is leadership contextual? • Are those facts shaped by biological determinants, cultural determinants, or both? • Are leaders born, made, or both? • Are there universal values of leadership that transcend context, or is leadership ethics contextual? • Are “good leaders” virtuous, effective, or dutiful? • Are “good leaders” born, made, or both? • Are prescriptive moral values descriptive biological facts? • Are values discovered via scientific research? • Are all prescriptive moral values descriptive cultural facts? • Are values invented and transmitted via cultural evolution? • Is there a difference between large-group morality and small group morality, or are the product of one single set of biological facts?