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Ethics and morality receive little attention in mainstream behaviorally focused leadership research and theorizing until authors started to address morality issues in charismatic/transformational leadership research (Trevino et al. 2003). Ethical behavior has been critical to leaders’ credibility, and their potential to meaningfully influence followers at all levels in organization. It has also been found that ethical leadership may affect managerial careers. Morality has become an important topic in organizational behavior/psychology and the attention of researchers for moral and ethical issues in leadership has increased.
Early empirical work on transformational leadership usually portrayed it as positive, moral, and values based. For example, Burns (1978, p.20) described transforming leadership as a process whereby “leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” and “transforming leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both leader and led, thus it has a transforming effect on both”. Researchers differentiated between authentic and pseudo-transformational leadership or personalized (unethical) and socialized (ethical) charismatic leadership (De Hoogh & Den Hartog 2009a).
Such approaches focus on social versus self-oriented use of power and the morality of the means and ends to differentiate between ethical and unethical leaders.
Trevino and colleagues (2000, 2003) described ethical leadership along two related dimensions: being a moral person and being a moral manager. The first refers to qualities of the ethical leader as a person at work and beyond, such as honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and concern for others. A moral person considers the consequences of his or her actions.
The moral manager concepts revolve around how leaders use managerial roles and leadership positions to promote ethics in the workplace-for example, through role modeling ethical conduct, setting and communicating ethical standards, and using reward/punishment to ensure that ethical standards are followed. Leaders are thought to have a strong influence on ethical standards, and followers see them as role models of the “right” ethical behaviors in the firm (e.g., Mayer et al. 2009, 2013). Leaders serve as role models and use reward and punishment to stimulate desired
behavior and ethical conduct (Treviño et al. 2003). Brown and colleagues (2005, p. 120) define ethical leadership as “the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making.” This emphasizes ethical leadership as perceived ethical leader behavior and operationalizes it in terms of behavior intended to benefit employees; other stakeholders, such as customers or society, are not explicitly included.
Also, this definition focuses on normatively appropriate conduct, a term which Brown et al. (2005) made deliberately vague, because norms vary across organizations, industries, and cultures. In addition, often combined with social learning, ethical leadership is studied in social exchange terms, which suggest that followers will reciprocate when treated ethically by leaders (e.g., Hansen et al. 2013, Hassan et al. 2013). Others see ethical leadership in more general terms by considering the intention or purpose of leaders’ behavior and its effects rather than its perceived normative appropriateness or the exchange involved (e.g., Turner et al. 2002). The effect of leader’s actions on others (in a broad sense) then forms a major concern (Aronson 2001). For example, Resick et al. (2006) focus on how leaders use their power in decisions, actions, and ways to influence others.
Different leader behaviors have been proposed as components of ethical leadership. For example, Resick et al. (2006) identified character/integrity; ethical awareness; community/people orientation; motivating, encouraging, and empowering; and managing ethical accountability. Several scales measure ethical leader behavior. Brown et al. (2005) combined the behaviors they saw as core components (acting fairly, allowing voice, and rewarding ethical conduct) in their 10-item ethical leadership scale (ELS). This is the scale used most to date. Yukl and colleagues (2013) developed a similar 15-item scale. Short scales such as these are useful in field studies where many other variables are measured, or the number of items needs to be limited. Theoretically, however, the involved behaviors may have different effects or antecedents, and thus combining them into a single syndrome may make it harder to fully understand the role of ethical leadership (DeHoogh&DenHartog 2008).
Several leadership styles share some characteristics with ethical leadership but are conceptually different: transformational, transactional, spiritual, and authentic leadership (Brown & Treviño 2006). Chen et al. (2014) add paternalistic leadership to that list. Transformational leadership revolves around communicating an inspiring and idealized vision of the collective future with which followers can identify (Bass 1985). Transactional leadership revolves around leaders providing followers with desired rewards in exchange for each followers input at work (Bass 1985). The leaders focus on getting followers to perform as expected and facilitates such performances. Whereas, Spiritual leaders are visionary, which is a characteristic not associated with ethical leadership, and ethical leaders use transactional mechanisms that are not associated with spiritual leadership. ethical leadership implies that leaders and followers engage in two-way communication and power sharing, paternalistic leadership emphasizes one-way communication and centralized decision making. Brown & Mitchell (2010, p. 588) define unethical leadership as “behaviors conducted and
decisions made by organizational leaders that are illegal and/or violate moral standards, and those that impose processes and structures that promote unethical conduct by followers.” Many destructive leadership behaviors directly contrast with those described for ethical leadership. Leaders can also be viewed as unethical in that they violate legitimate involvement in the organization by not taking the responsibility that is part of their role, being unmotivated for goals, showing no care for others, and failing to support or guide their followers. Some work suggests that ethical and unethical leadership form opposites—for example, when such behaviors are portrayed in terms of a tension between leaders acting on altruistic versus egoistic motives or engaging in beneficial versus harmful behaviors (e.g., Kanungo 2001). refraining from unethical behavior does not make leaders ethical. Ethical leaders actively pursue instilling and communicating about ethical norms; they model ethical behaviors and actively monitor and reward to influence ethical awareness and behavior.
Ethical leadership has to date been linked to attitudinal, motivational, well-being, and performance-related outcomes; ethical norms and decisions; and the (ethical) behaviors stemming from these. Ethical leaders are expected to promote altruistic attitudes among followers, such leadership is likely to enhance commitment and motivation, and employees who feel supported and respected are more likely to develop trust, satisfaction, and a sense of well-being. Positive attitudinal effects are indeed found in research. available evidence suggests that ethical leadership is negatively related to individual- and group-level deviance and positively related to both individual- and group-level citizenship behaviors, including both affiliative and challenging citizenship behaviors.
Mayer et al. (2009) found a direct negative relationship of both top management and supervisory ethical leadership with group-level deviance and a positive relationship of these forms of leadership with group-level organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Consistent with their trickle-down model proposing that ethical leadership flows from the top to supervisors and then to employees, Mayer and colleagues found that effects of top management ethical leadership on outcomes are mediated by supervisory leadership. Thus, top managers serve as role models for lower-level managers, who in turn serve as role models for employees (Mayer et al. 2009). His work highlights the importance of multiple sources of social influence at different hierarchical levels. Ethical leaders send clear messages about ethical values and hold subordinates accountable (Treviño et al. 2003). Ethical leadership is a value-driven form of leadership that affects the self-concept and beliefs of followers. According to Piccolo, ethical leadership helps followers see their job as meaningful, which translates into increased effort and productive behavior.
The findings of a recent meta-analysis indicate that outcomes of destructive leadership seem mostly opposite of those for ethical leadership (Schyns & Schilling 2013). For example, followers of destructive leaders tend to have negative attitudes and show resistance toward them. Such leadership is negatively related to positive attitudes toward the job and the organization and positively related to deviance. Well-being implications of destructive leadership include more negative affectivity and stress for followers.
A full review of the effects of unethical leadership is beyond the scope of the article. The work focusses on direct effects on leader behavior. It suggests that unethical leadership affects not only the target subordinate but also others who observe it. Laissez-faire leadership relates to both self-reported and observed bullying, targets associated bullying more with non-contingent punishment. It is also found that inconsistent mix of leader behaviors both unethical and supportive toward followers has a negative impact in outcomes. Researchers began to explore what makes leaders ethical. The five-factor view of personality describes the structure of personality in five main factors, which are often labeled extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience (e.g., Goldberg 1990, McCrae&Costa 1997). As Ethical leaders are described as altruistic, honest and caring, Agreeableness relates positively to ethical leadership. They set clear guidelines and clarify what is expected of employees.
Studies has also found that ethical and morally focuses individual antecedents. It plays an important role either as an antecedent in shaping what is seen as ethical or as a moderator of its affects. Cross-cultural leadership research, such as the GLOBE study (House et al. 2004), shows that although some aspects of leadership are universally endorsed, many leadership practices and expectations vary systematically and considerably across societal cultures. Some of the universally desired characteristics relate to ethical leadership. research on ethical leader behavior is rapidly progressing, there is still some confusion about the nature of ethical leadership. In some definitions, leaders’ intentions are central (i.e., ethical leaders do not intend harm); other work focuses on ethical leader behaviors or follower perceptions of these. despite the strong and normatively positive connotations of the term ethical, perceived ethical leader behavior as currently operationalized may have some unintended negative effects (e.g., perceptions of moral reproach) that need to be understood.
The available literature strongly suggests that ethical leadership matters for organizations. For example, the research quite consistently shows that if employees indicate that their leaders are ethical and fair role models who communicate and reward ethical behavior, there is less deviance and more cooperative behavior, and employees perform better and are more willing to both expend effort and report problems to management. If followers do not perceive the changes in behavior, they will not react to them. Thus, as with any leadership training, finding ways of embedding newly learned behavior into the context and making it salient to followers may help effectiveness. Research on the effectiveness of different forms of ethical leadership training could help our understanding in this area. If ethical (leader) behavior is appropriately measured it may be possible to take it on board in performance appraisals and promotion decisions. as ethical leadership seems to cascade or trickle down the hierarchy (Mayer et al. 2009, Schaubroeck et al. 2012), top managers should be made aware of their own roles in setting ethical cultural values and in role modeling ethical behavior. although the research on inconsistent leader behavior is still scarce, the first indications are that consistency in behavior is important. Thus, consistency may be another element to cover in ethics training for leaders.
What started small, with a single discount store and the simple idea of selling more for less has grown over the last 50 years into the largest retailer in the world. Walmart as we know it today evolved from Sam Walton’s goal for great value and great customer service. Walmart is an American Multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount stores, and grocery stores. Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, the company was founded by Sam Walton. Sam Walton was born in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. At the age of 24, he joined military and as his military service ended, he and his wife Helen moved to Iowa and then to Newport, Arkansas. In 1950, the Walton left Newport for Bentonville, where Sam opened Walton’s 5&10 on the downtown square. Inspired by the early success of his dime store, he opened the first Walmart in 1962 at the age of 44 in Rogers, Arkansas. The company success surpassed Sam’s expectations and the company went public in 1970 which help the company expand its business. The company bring technologies to retail along with new approaches. With the success of its Wal-Mart stores, the firm open its first Sam’s Club in 1983 which catered small businesses and individuals.
Each week, nearly 265 million customers and members visit more than 11,200 stores under 55 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With FY 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. The firm continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy, and employment opportunity. Walmart has a total of 45 Executive management who overlooks the operations of Walmart Stores its subsidiaries. Doug McMillon is President and CEO of Walmart Inc. he leads a strong management team that is working to deliver Walmart’s mission of “save money, live better”. Doug is a longtime champion of Walmart’s customers, its associates, and the company’s culture. He started out with the company in 1984 as an hourly summer associate and went on to serve in leadership roles in all Walmart business Segment while pursuing his master’s degree in Business Administration. Doug has served on the board of directors for Walmart since 2013 and currently is the chair of the Executive and Global Compensation committees. Walmart subsidiary Sam’s Club is a membership warehouse club which offers quality products at an exceptional value. As of 2018, the club operates a total of 597 warehouse clubs in 44 US states.
Good corporate leadership can save lives. Walmart has provided associates the resources to help them succeed and recognize ethical decision-making. Walmart has been criticized for its unethical practices and culture it promotes in its stores. But under Doug McMillon leadership, the company’s culture has been transformed. The company and its employees are proud of the policies that also motivate associates to protect the community at large. According to Forbes, the Walmart associate in New York notified police Maximilien Reynolds used a gift card to buy a weapon, camping gear, drill bits, hacksaw blades, and a knife. The combination of items being purchased alarmed the employee. After contacting the police, Reynold apartment was searched where the FBI found bullet-resistant vest, military style clothing, knives, gas mask, MSR-15 rifle, ammunition, homemade silencer and bomb making materials. It was concluded that he was preparing for a mass shooting or an act of terror, and Walmart may have saved lived by preventing it. It makes the company proud of having such a conscientious employee on its team. Walmart founder, Sam Walton had established a foundation of ethical value and respect for the customer, but the company needed to adapt even further for the customer centric economy of 21st century. During Hurricane Katrina,
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