Ethical Leadership in Organization Essay

4706 Words Apr 25th, 2014 19 Pages
A Review of the Literature Concerning Ethical Leadership in Organizations
Kelly Monahan Regent University
The following article explores the literature regarding the topic of ethical leadership. Thirty-eight articles were identified that are written by authors who focused on four main topics. These topics are the definition of ethical leadership, the personal integrity and morality of a leader, how a leader ethically influences followers, and current challenges facing ethical leaders. These four topics are explored in further detail within the literature review. Overall, it is found that ethical leadership is complex and a relatively newer field of study. Yet, common themes include the need for establishing trust and gaining ethical
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Green and Odom (2003) note that the lack of ethical leadership in Enron caused harm to thousands of employees, invoked greater government regulation, and crippled consumer confidence of the financial industry (Thompson, 2010).

Emerging Leadership Journeys, Vol. 5 Iss. 1, pp. 56-66. © 2012 Regent University School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship ISSN 1941-4684 | editorelj@regent.edu

A Review of the Literature Concerning Ethical Leadership in Organizations

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The examples of organizations exhibiting unethical behavior has caused businesses to reexamine their strategic direction, helping them learn that ethical leadership is the way which leads to profitability (Moss, 2002). However, as Thornton (2009) notes, “Now in the global marketplace, with fierce competition for business and resources, the scope of problems that can occur in leadership ethics has expanded exponentially” (p. 60). As a result of the increasing scope of concerns within today’s organizations, it is noted that one of the greatest needs is a charismatic ethical leader (Mackie, Taylor, Finegold, Darr, & Singer, 2006). A rigorous qualitative study completed by Plinio, Young, and Lavery (2010) found that one of the most serious problem facing organizations today is impoverished ethical behavior and nonexistent ethical leadership. Consequently, the

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