This review will study the impact of ethical leadership, of employees, performance in an organization. The progress of an organization’s achievements is based on the employees. The employees are considered an important resource to achieve competitive advantages. An ethical leader who shares its authority with employees will improve their performance. So, if leaders set the precedence for upholding high ethical values then the employee will follow suit. On the other hand, if leaders do not have an ethical value and does not set the precedence, then more than likely employee will mirror as they do not have a standard to follow. In this case, the lack of values and ethics can be determinantal to the productivity and success of an organization.
Most individuals are in the pursuit for meaning, in which holding a specific job occupies that central position. This means that most individuals spend most of their hours at work looking for a purpose of belonging through purpose, and identity. “In light of these benefits to employees and their organizations, organizational scholars are increasingly interested in understanding the factors that contribute to meaningful work, such as the design of jobs, interpersonal relationships, and organizational missions and cultures.” (Michaelson et al.,2014) In a separate inquiry most business scholars have examined the importance and meaningfulness of moral issues concerning the management of themselves and others and whether there are moral rights, and if they have a moral duty to fulfill.
Are Managers Morally Obligated to Provide Meaningful Work and a fair and equitable work environment? “However, there always hangs in the air the prospect that any given individual’s estimation of the significance of their work can be manipulated by the astute and practiced manager who sees worker commitment merely as a means to achieve organizational purpose, leading ‘‘some organizational theorists…to question whether healthy outcomes for individuals and society are achieved when meaning becomes a form of normative control.’’ (Michaelson et al.,2014)
Questioning the ethics of practice While on the surface it may appear that the adoption of corporate social responsibility is based on a genuine desire for corporations to contribute to society rather than just focusing on growth or profits, not everyone agrees. Corporations around the world despite the training on ethics, are still embroiled in some type of financial, social and environment problems that they caused themselves because of unethical work practices. An example of this would be the Volkswagen emissions scandal of 2015. Volkswagen is known for it being a global leader, but they installed devices in their cards designed to cheat emission tests. This meant that the customers were led to think that their vehicles emitted less pullulation then it actually did. The moral ethics and obligation was not set in place to the customer, and the actual management and employees were aware of the device and its inaccuracy. Now than ever more companies around the world are characterized by financial scandals, managerial corruption and erosion of labor rights. “It has thus been suggested that CSR and corporate ethics are in fact ideological tools, acting like a cloak that disguises selfish and damaging organizational behavior with a thin layer of ethical respectability.” (Rhodes, 2018)
One important value of a leader when it comes to ethical morals within an organization and the outcome whether it be good or bad depends on being able to communicate values once they understand their own. A leader must not just communicate but communicate effectively. “Leaders who are clearly in touch with their own value system will understand the importance of communicating priority values and explaining their application to changing situations.” (Whitmire, 2005) A leader must understand and share values as it’s a major contributor to success. They found that “successful leaders are not shy about suggesting the standards that people should live by.”
Leaders should not hesitate to communicate their values widely and advocate for them vigorously. Deal and Kennedy concluded that leaders must create a guiding vision and shape shared values. When this is done, employees take pride in their team and its accomplishments and feel good about their work. “Recent catastrophes in corporate America illustrate what happens when leaders’ actions communicate values that are at variance with their stated beliefs.” (Whitmire, 2005) Leaders can have that commitment to honesty and fairness, which are positive moral and ethical to live by, however some organizations advertised corporate misstatements of facts which the senior leaderships communicated within their organizations that to be successful, their victories and financial accomplishments were a higher priority values then honesty and fairness.
“The Enron case—as well as other corporate scandals— must leave us wondering how many of the misdeeds carried out by members of management.” (Whitmire, 2005) Whitmire (2005) stated, “Recognizing Conflicts in Values For shared values to move a organization toward accomplishment of visionary goals, leaders must be alert for the inevitable conflicts between values and must clarify the nature of conflicts in values and help the community reach a productive resolution.” “The leader’s success in identifying and framing the conflict and reinforcing commitment to the shared value system will be critical to keeping the team on course.” (Whitmire, 2005) Some individuals within an organization or team realize that their priority values are not consistent with teams shared values.
When this becomes the situation and an individual does not share or feel that their moral ethics or beliefs are in line with other individuals, it would be best to go to another organization that follows their same belief system, which is reinforced and rewarded. Conflicting values between followers, leaders and the entire team can result is a quick downfall of energy and undermines the team work and trust between the employees. It’s possible to fix these types of internal conflicts by establishing certain priorities within your own personal value system. Whitmire (2005) addresses the idea that conflict often occurs between values that address the overall community versus the individualized or local interests. Conflict often occurs between values that address interests of the community at large versus more individualized or local interests. “James MacGregor Burns believes that leaders should help followers reframe their understanding of core values from self-interest to a broader view of the common good.” (Whitmire, 2005)
Ethics as we know is all about behavior. It’s doing the right thing, and ethical both leaders and people take the right and good types of paths when it comes to ethical choices. The overall goal is to establish and sustaining an ethical workplace with a just as equal workplace culture. Values Drive Behavior in any organization, and a few virtuous values align with ethical behaviors. Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture (2013) addresses a few of these values such as wisdom and knowledge: A prerequisite to doing the right thing when facing an ethical dilemma is knowing what to do, knowing the difference between right and wrong. Another important value would be self-control, which is one’s ability to avoid unethical temptations. This means taking the ethical path requires a commitment to the value of acting with temperance. In other words, ethical people would say no to any type of induvial gain if it does not follow the intuitional benefit of good will.
Justice and Fair Guidance is the fair treatment of others. Justice is considered served when individuals feel that they have a fair return for their efforts that have been expended. Another value would be transcendence, which is “The recognition that there is something beyond oneself more permanent and powerful than the individual. Without this value, one may tend toward self-absorption.” (Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture, 2013) Those leaders who motivate by self-interest and personal power are not effective and are not considered authentic.
It’s important that moral and ethical behavior is established in a business along with values and attitudes. Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture (2013) addresses the importance of ethics in a business and the effects of not having it in place. First things first, employees and want and deserve to be treated ethically. If there is a lack of morals and a business allows unethical behavior can provoke damaging effects such as criminal activity.
Not only that but economically, having ethics in place can promote productivity as evidence shows that employees that are recognized for their work end up practicing good ethical behavior and produce good work practices. “Third, in line with a growing trend to look beyond shareholder value to a broader stakeholder perspective, organizational ethical behavior becomes the socially responsible thing to do.” (Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture, 2013)
No matter if a business is legally required to have a code of conduct, every organization should have one. A code has a value in itself to set an internal guideline and promote an external statement of a business’s values and commitments. A well-written code of conduct clarifies an organization’s mission, values and principles, linking them with standards of professional conduct. The code articulates the values the organization wishes to foster in leaders and employees and, in doing so, defines desired behavior. As a result, written codes of conduct or ethics can become benchmarks against which individual and organizational performance can be measured. Moreover, a code is a central guide and is used as a reference for employees to support day-to-day decision making. A code can encourage ethics and the compliance of. It is also to assists employees with dealing with ethical dilemmas that they may run across. “We live in an era of cut throat competition and competition breeds enmity. This enmity reflects in business operations, code of conduct.” (Firms keep quiet about ethics, 1998)
There can be devastating effects of workplace due to the lack of ethics and values. One of these examples is bullying. “Exposure to such highly unethical behavior has been shown to be related to a range of negative consequences at both the individual and the organizational levels.” (Einarsen et al.,2017) Employees experiencing bullying are frustrated by their organization`s poor response and inability to handle such misdeeds, as stated by (Einarsen et al.,2017) Bullying is one of the examples of an how individuals lack of ethics and morals can effect another individual by setting a hostile work environment.
“Establishing ethical infrastructure is an organizational response to the challenges that most organizations face when coping with corporate wrongdoing, also called unethical workplace behavior.” (Einarsen et al.,2017) As stated by (Einarsen,2017) with this type of behavior and lack of ethics, it’s become the main purpose of implementing ethical infrastructure in organizations to achieve behavioral control of employees’ ethically related behaviors.
The lack of ethics doe not only fall under nonfederal organizations of businesses. This has also affected our men and women in uniform. The Department of Defense (DOD) is a large operation with an a very large budget. The DoD has similar characteristics on any large business, but the differences are that it’s a nonprofit organization and it does not produce items for sale like consumer goods. The other thing that sets the military apart from any other business is that they are required to sacrifice their lives if mission calls. Due to the stresses of the military, careers for an employee usually last 20 to 30 years. With this being said, the similarities that the Military has with the civilian world is that there are times when the lack of support from senior leadership can prevent troops to staying focused to the mission.
Mill’s theory of justice states that whether the injustice consists in depriving a person of possession, or in breaking faith with him, the supposition implies two things: a wrong done and some assignable person who is wronged. A covenant is a trust. To break that trust is to determine the foundation on which our armed services rest. If faith is broken, the service person is the one who is wronged, and the government is the wrongdoer who has broken the covenant. Regardless of politics, good sailors and soldiers continue to serve, although with each passing year it is getting more difficult. (Smith 2001)
Promises that were made to service members were not followed through and were changed and those that were promised certain benefits, were not grandfathered. “In a testimony of a former sergeant major of the Army wife, stated that she was trying to talk her son out of going to officer candidate school, “We hear a lot about quality of life supporting troops, but we don’t’ see much action in reality”. (Smith,2001). You can see by this remark in a testimony given by a wife who supported the Army for more than 30 years can be this negative, due to the choices made my senior leadership to not follow through with promises, then imagine those viewpoints of people who and not caring or apathetic. Ethics, moral are important in any organization, this especially in the military where they live by a code and when broken can cause serious moral issues within an organization that has the responsibility of maintaining this countries freedom on their shoulders.