Administrative Agencies Conducting Duties when Provided with Tasks Reading Memorandum

Administrative Agencies Conducting Duties when Provided with Tasks Reading Memorandum

Ethics in leadership is paramount to the success of organizations. In order to attain that success, certain ethical obstacles will have to be overcome by leaders. In Craig E. Johnson’s book, Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow (Year), these challenges, and potential solutions, are discussed at length. This paper will focus on four chapters of Johnson’s work. Chapter eight discusses normative leadership theories and their approaches for advancing ethical leader behavior. Concentrating on a more intimate level, chapter nine focuses on the ethical leadership as it pertains to small groups. Chapter ten provides a look at how leaders serve as ethical officers by setting an example via their actions. Lastly, chapter eleven examines a leader’s role in an ever-growing culturally diverse society. These chapters explore several facets of ethical leadership and will be discussed throughout the paper. Serving as an appropriate starting point, chapter eight explores normative leadership theories. As such, it seems beneficial to explore these theories thoroughly. As opposed to descriptive theories, normative theories seem to be more applicable for the purposes of the text by providing insight as to how leaders should act. Normative theories discussed in this chapter are: transformational leadership, servant leadership, authentic leadership, aesthetic leadership, responsible leadership, and Taoism. Johnson begins chapter eight by explaining the differences between transactional and transformational leadership. Transactional leadership focuses on the basic needs of its subordinates, such as food and shelter. The exchange process for transactional leadership is based upon labor and compliance by subordinates in return for money and benefits. Conversely, transformational leaders, as the name suggests, “speak to higher-level needs, such as esteem, competency, self-fulfillment, and self-actualization. In doing so, they change the very nature of the groups, organizations, or societies they guide” (Johnson, 2017, p. 246). This change can be Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM 2 so fulfilling for those involved it produce a galvanizing affect. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Franklin Roosevelt are all examples of transformational leaders. All of whom exhibit the characteristics attributed to transformational. In terms of morality of leaders, it is the main component of transformational leadership according to James MacGregor Burns, political scientist and former presidential advisor. In his book, Leadership, Burns (1978) notes, “Such leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” (p. 2). Delving further into transformational leadership, Bernard Bass, leadership expert and industrial psychologist, noted there are ethical and unethical transformational leaders. This lead Bass to establish to categories of transformational leaders: authentic and pseudo-transformational. Bass explains authentic transformational leaders as ones that empathize and lead with compassion, whereas pseudo-transformational leaders are fueled by self-interest and greed. However, there is a general consensus amongst leadership experts that the vast majority of transformational leaders are ethically sound. Continuing along a similar empathetic theme, Johnson examines servant leadership. As described by Johnson, “The basic premise of servant leadership is simple yet profound. Leaders should put the needs of the followers before their own needs” (251 Johnson 2017). Further examination by Johnson indicates there are five concepts that are integral to servant leadership: stewardship, obligation, partnership, emotional healing, and elevating purpose. As a result of these concepts, It seems fitting that a strong moral compass would be paramount for a servant leader. So as to provide a broader view, Johnson mentions there is some skepticism regarding servant leadership. This is predominantly found in individuals that associate servitude to weakness. Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM 3 Attributed as the, “root construct or principle underlying all forms of positive leadership,” Authentic Leadership Theory (ALT) proposes a belief in ones self as a fundamental characteristic (257 Johnson 2017). A point of emphasis as to how authenticity, and justly the courage attributed to this theory, is established, is speculated to happen via trigger events. These trigger events help enhance authentic leaders’ resiliency. Critics of ALT note the lack of selfawareness and objectivity that an authentic leader may be susceptible to. Aesthetic leadership is described by Johnson as “more of an art than a science” (261 Johnson 2017). The main premise behind aesthetic leadership is its basis is on feelings or emotions of those that encounter it. Criticisms of aesthetic leadership note its ability to focus solely on its artistic aspect and disregard any inclusion of science. Nicola Pless and Thomas Maak, European researchers, provide a solid definition of the next leadership theory discussed, responsible leadership. According to Pless and Maak, leadership is, “a values-based and principle-driven relationship between leaders and stakeholders who are connected through a shared sense of meaning and purpose through which they raise to higher ethical levels of motivation and commitment for achieving sustainable value creation and responsible change” (539, Pless & Maak, 2009). Through responsible leadership, an entire organization, as opposed to direct subordinates, can reap the benefits, and sometimes the consequences. The morality component is solidified by building trust when applying responsible leadership. Johnson closes out chapter eight with a look at arguably the most interesting leadership theory, Taoism. Under Taoism, an ancient Chinese philosophy, the leader takes a subtle approach in his daily activities. There is an on-going theme in Taoism that invokes nature as a metaphorical guide. Taoist practitioners practice a hands-off role and allow people to simply be Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM themselves. While the general perception of Taoism is one of positive ethical practices, some point to the lack of structure and guidelines as means that may harbor unethical actions. After establishing popular leadership theories, Johnson moves on to a more singularly focused subject in chapter nine, ethics in small groups. Fittingly, chapter nine begins by setting parameters as to what a small group actually is. As defined by John Cragan, Chris. Kasch, and David Wright, small-group communication scholars, small groups, in terms of the scholarly view, must contain a common goal, exhibit interdependence, provide mutual influence amongst its members, practice ongoing communication, and vary in size from three to twenty people (291 Cragan, Kasch, & Wright 2009). Next, Johnson establishes the importance that leader of a small group must ensure ethical accountability by each one of its members. Mitigating social loafing and ensuring accountability is instrumental in the overall success of small groups. Equally as important is promoting ethical group interaction. Doing so can be aided by various types of listening, however, in ethical problem solving, comprehensive and critical listening are imperative. Some barriers small groups may encounter regarding communication efforts within the group include defensiveness from evaluation statements or control statements as opposed to problem-oriented statements. An effective way to appropriately convey an issue in a problem oriented way would be, “Let us all figure out this problem.” Moral failure can be a trapping of small groups, however, having productive conflict in an organized manner and valuing the opinion of the group members’ views that are in the minority can help the group sustain an ethical core. Other moral pitfalls are explored by Irving Janis, social psychologist, through the label he developed, group-think. Janis describes groupthink as, “groups that put unanimous agreement ahead of reasoned problem solving. Groups suffering from this symptom are both ineffective and unethical” (271, Janis, 1971). With these 4 Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM 5 trappings in mind, Johnson concludes the chapter by taking a look at the dynamic of ethical relationships between different groups. Johnson notes the common practice of intergroup collaboration and some of the pitfalls such as competition and conflict that may arise, potentially causing unethical actions. “Lead by example” is a common leadership phrase. Chapter ten puts this phrase to the test by examining the role of leaders as ethics officers. Whether ethical or unethical, leaders of organizations are often emulated by their followers. Social learning theory is an accurate descriptor of this occurrence. These ‘ethics officers’ help establish an ethical climate in an organization. An ethical climate takes on an almost tribal identity, as it develops its own beliefs and customs. A healthy ethical climate is not easily defined. Consequently, there is no easy way to ensure a healthy ethical climate. There are, however, certain ways to mitigate an organization going down an immoral path. Johnson points out that organizational self-awareness is key and, accordingly, that self-awareness should include understanding that organizations and people all have a dark side. Recognition of this is crucial in alleviating some of these pitfalls. With the aforementioned knowledge in mind, Johnson notes, “To build or create ethical organizational climates, leaders rely heavily on four tools: core ideology, codes and ethics, socialization, and ethics training (344 Johnson 2017). Johnson examines the process of determining the core values for an organization as part of discovering what it is the organization does best. Additionally, establishing a code of ethics is instrumental towards creating an ethical climate, with the first step being administering an ethical statement. The socialization process provides individuals within an organization a way to feel more connected to one another and to the organization as a whole. Finally, implementing ethics training allows an organization to clearly set standards for members to abide by. Thus further promoting socialization amongst Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM 6 organizational members. Again, the establishment of an ethical climate in an organization is implemented by leaders, and as such, confirms their need to be ethical officers. With the advent of the Internet, more readily available modes of travel, and general globalization, leaders are faced with new challenges of morality in cross-cultural settings. Serving as the main focus of chapter 11, ethical dilemmas abound in the twenty first century’s globalization trend. The global shadow of power and privilege have never been less limited by national or geographical boundaries than they are today. The inconsistencies that are derived from globalization pose ethical conundrums such as fair wages and broken loyalties. Understanding cultural differences is of great benefit to organizational leaders and consequently, establishing protocols to combat risks associated with cultural norms is a necessity for today’s leaders. As a way to evaluate cultural value patterns, Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist, conducted an investigation and relayed his findings in his book Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. Hofstede, using factor analysis, reviewed a world-wide survey of cultural values from IBM employees. As a result of his findings, Hofstede noticed the emergence of four value characteristics. The first category, power distance, indicates the general acceptance certain cultures have towards power differentials. The next category that arose from the survey was individualism versus collectivism, a cultural division based on group or individual preferences. Masculinity versus femininity and the differing gender roles are assumed throughout different cultures was the value explored next. Lastly, Hofstede noted the emergent value, uncertainty avoidance, that showed cultures overall responses to dealing with uncertainty. The importance of understanding these prevailing value patterns, according to Hofstede, plays a key role in a culture’s ethical behavior. The value that has received the most attention and further Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM analyses, individualism versus collectivism. It has been widely described as the value that helps draw certain inferences on ethical behavior based on the specific culture’s patterns. Johnson continues chapter eleven by discussing the similarities amongst cultures. While differences abound among cultures, there are certain traits that are inherently human. These “moral foundation” shared similarities include: care, fairness, loyalty, respect for authority, and purity. And finally, Johnson closes out chapter eleven by exploring certain inalienable rights as mandated by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The four chapters discussed in this paper provide an in-depth look at some the ethical hurdles leaders have to overcome. Johnson’s text allows the reader to take in a holistic view of these hurdles. From normative leadership theories in chapter eight to globalization and cultural norms in chapter eleven, Johnson establishes views, provides solutions, explores history, and explains fundamental processes that shape ethical leadership as we know it. Discussion Question: 1. Is there a normative leadership theory that is more inclined than the others to produce an ethically sound leader in the public sector? 7 Running head: UNIT 5 READING MEMORANDUM 8 References Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York, NY: Harper & Row. Janis, I. (1971, November). Groupthink: The problems of conformity. Psychology Today, 271– 279; Janis, I. (1982). Groupthink (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin; Janis, I. (1989). Crucial decisions: Leadership in policymaking and crisis management. New York, NY: Free Press. Johnson, C. E. (2005). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications. Maak, T., & Pless, N. M. (2009). Business leaders as citizens of the world. Advancing humanism on a global scale. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 537–550, p. 539. …


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