Ethical Leadership is Important in creating an Ethical Workplace


EthicalLeadership is Important in creating an Ethical Workplace

EthicalLeadership and Ethical Workplace

Creationof an ethical workplace is a management process that requiressignificant influence of the organizational behavior throughleadership. As a result, ethical leadership is an integral componentof management that should be experienced in an organization toactualize an ethical workplace (Watts, 2008). Ethical leadership isthe art of influencing people by knowing and doing what is right.Leadership involves influencing people through showing of directionand guiding the actions of others. Therefore, there is a possibilitythat the art of leadership can be used to propagate unethicaldirections in an organization. Therefore, ethical leadership becomesan important element of management to create an ethical environmentfor work. The discussion in this paper will illustrate that Ethicalleadership is the most important factor in creating an ethicalworkplace.

Ethicalleadership is instrumental in shaping the major elements oforganizational management. According to Resicket al (2008), ethical leadership is at the core of the decisionmaking process in an organization at all levels of organizationalpractice. At the same time, ethical leadership is important in theformulation of the ethical culture in an organization, therebyshaping the values that people uphold in a workplace environment(Resicket al, 2008). Moreover, ethicalleadership determines the extent at which organizational rules andregulations are followed and adhered to. This makes ethicalleadership the most important element of influencing ethics in anorganization. Therefore, it is only rational to assert that ethicalleadership is the most important factor in creating an ethicalworkplace.

TheImportance of Ethical leadership

Themain principle behind the attainment of an ethical workplace is themembers of an organization understanding to do what is right at alltimes. Therefore, ethical leadership entails the development of themanagement and governance decisions based on what is “right” interms of ethics. According to Nahavandi (2014), the practice ofethical leadership revolves around the ability of a leader todetermine what is right and chose to do it. However, an organizationhas several factors that influence the decision making process andoutcomes of organizational operations (Worthington &amp Britton,2006). These factors may sometimes jeopardize the adherence of ethicsin an organization. Therefore, ethical leadership provides the basisof promoting ethics in such circumstances.

Oneof the main roles of ethical leadership is the definition of what isright in an organization. The definition of the actions, behavior,conduct and character that entail the right things in an organizationcan only be achieved if the leadership in the organization emphasizeson ethics. According to Jordan et al (2013), leadership plays animportant part in showing direction by so doing, a leader definesthe direction that the organization should take. This means that theestablishment of an ethical workplace will be determined by thedirection that the leadership of an organization. According to Mayeret al (2012), the leadership can only lead the organization towardsethical workplace if the leaders have regard to ethics and focus onshowing the same direction. This art of influence is what entailsethical leadership.

Ethicalleadership is the most important factor in creating an ethicalworkplace because it provides an ethical environment for people in anorganization. An ethical workplace can only exist if people in theorganization are conscious about what is right. In addition, theyhave to be self reliant when making decisions that are guided byethics. This makes the type of leadership in the organizationsignificant, since such leadership is necessary in the creation ofworkplace environment (Mayer et al, 2012). To create an ethicalenvironment in the workplace, the leadership is instrumental in theinfluence of the behavior of the people in the organization. Ethicalleaders are able to influence ethical behavior through influencingthe decisions and actions of the people in the organization.

Ethicalleadership is important in the promotion of the regard to ethics bythe people in an organization. The regard to ethics is achievedthrough the influence of the actions and decisions of the people inthe organization through the setting of examples and role models(Jordan et al, 2013). Brown and Trevino (2006) argue that leaders areon the forefront in every activity in the organization, and so givean example of how things should be done. Therefore, ethical leaderswill become elements of ethical behavior to people in theorganization. As a result, an ethical environment will be created inthe organization. This is because an environment that has regard forethics has a significant influence on the personal actions, conductsand behavior of each and every employee.

EthicalLeadership and Decision making

Tomaintain an ethical workplace, people in the organization should beable to make ethical decisions. An ethical workplace is characterizedby ethical decisions by all the people in the organization from thesenior to the most junior employee. This is the main element ofpromoting ethics at the individual level, team level and departmentallevels. Ethical leadership seeks to empower people in theorganization to make decisions that are based on what is right.According to Bonner(2007), decision making processcan be challenging for the organization when faced with ethicaldilemmas. The dilemma is mostly on whether to do what is convenientor what is ethically correct. Therefore, ethical leadership providesthe guidelines for determining the right thing to do.

Ethicsshould be applied in all the levels of decision doing so as tomaintain an ethical environment and workplace. The significance ofthe decisions made in the organization depends on the level of thedecision. For instance, operational decision making impacts the dailyoperations while tactical decisions have a larger scope of impact. Atthe top management level, the strategic decision making influencesthe future of the organization due to the long term nature of theirimpacts (Bonner,2007). While most organizationsdo not leave ethical decision making as a choice of the employees,leadership promotes empowerment of employees to make decisions.According to Worthington and Britton (2006), the main focus ofleadership is not to make decisions on behalf of employees but toguide them to make decisions.

Leadershipplays a big role in the attainment and maintenance of an ethicalworkplace in shaping the nature of decision making processes. Of allthe elements of influence of ethical leadership, decision making isone of the most important aspects. An ethical leader shows the ethicsin an organization by creating a culture of making decisions thatfocus on upholding ethics in an organization. According to Resicket al (2008), making decisionsentails the most important aspect of ethical leadership because itdemonstrates the ability of a leader to choose what is right. Byfocusing on ethics, a leader focuses his or her sphere of influenceto guide the organization towards an environment where every personpractices the laid down ethics.

Leadershipand Ethical Culture

Theexistence of an ethical workplace means that an organization has beenused to acting in a certain ethical ways. The actions of employeesdictate the level of ethical observation that all the members in theorganization uphold. This cannot be achieved if the leadership of theorganization is not actively involved in the formulation of theethical culture. Despite having employees who are observers of therequirements of the organization, the ability to decide on whether toact right or not lies in the values of each and every employee. Thismeans that, the influence of leaders is a critical component of theorganizational culture. Ethical leadership is important in theformulation of an ethical culture in an organization.

Leadershipprovides the basis of influencing the type of culture that theorganization bases its life on. Leadership is the element of theorganizational practice that guides the members to do things in acertain way, especially through effective communication (Papaet al, 2008). While the cultureof an organization is based on several other factors, the type ofleadership has significant impact on the way an organizationformulates its culture. This is because leaders are at the forefrontin showing actions and not just giving orders. According to Hickman(2010), members of the organization will tend to behave and act in away that models what the leaders have done before.

Thehighest level of influence of ethical leadership is the formulationof the organizational values, mission and vision. The leadership ofan organization determines the nature of values that guide theorganization. The practical values that members of an organizationpractice are anchored on what they see their seniors do. According toHickman (2010), the leadership of an organization determines thevalues that employees uphold as part of the organizational values.This is mostly confused to mean the organizational values that anorganization lists on paper, or its mission and vision (Trevinoet al, 2008). However, leadersdetermine the actual values that are portrayed by the people they areleading.

Accordingto Trevinoet al (2008), an ethical leaderwill instill the values of ethics and morality in the character ofthe followers. This means that the character of an organization willbe shaped by the type of values that leaders instill in all thepeople in the organization. This is because the values of anorganization are a summation of the values held by the people in theorganization. The values of ethics guide the realization of anethical workplace, which is the reflection of the ethical environmentthat has been set by the organization (Watts, 2008). While themission and vision of the organization are the reflection of itsvalues, values practiced by the members is the ultimate determinantof the ethical values in its workplace.

Ethicalleadership and regulations

Anethical workplace is characteristically determined by the level ofcompliance to the organizational rules and regulations, by themembers of an organization. This is the most basic and significantdemonstration of an ethical or unethical workplace of an organization(Watts, 2008). For members of the organization adhere to theorganizational regulations, the leadership of the body should behighly involved. Ethical leadership will translate to observance ofthe regulations of the organization, as their main element ofinfluence. This is because ethical leaders will guide the members ofthe organization to adhere to the rules and regulations set by aninstitution.

Ethicalleadership is made visible in the ability of the leaders to instillthe culture of adherence to the organizational regulations. Employeesof a firm will do this as the right thing to do and not as the onlything to do. The difference between the two choices is based on theintention of an employee to respect and obey the laws of anorganization. While in normal workplace, employees adhere to rules asa norm, in ethical workplace, employees adhere to rules because it isthe right thing to do. The determination of whether such adherence isa norm or the right thing depends on the ethics tat leaders haveinstilled in the value system of the members of an organization.Ethical leadership is therefore an important factor in the creationand maintenance of an ethical workplace.


Anethical workplace entails an environment where members of anorganization operate in ethical manners that are guided by choosingto do what is right. At the same time, leadership influences thebehavior and actions of the members of an organization. Therefore,ethical leadership translated to influence of the members of anorganization to adopt ethical ways during their operational andmanagerial practice. As an important influence of behavior, ethicalleadership shapes the decision making process and the culture of thepeople in an organization. At the same time, ethical leadershipguides the adherence of the regulation of an organization, therebydetermining the ethics of a workplace environment. Therefore, ethicalleadership is the most important factor in the creation andmaintenance of an ethical workplace.


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