Leadership and Ethics

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things” Ronald Reagan.


Who is a leader and what do you mean by ethical Leadership?

 (Source: Fotosearch 2016)


This blog contains an overview of what an ethical leader is and what frameworks and examples are used to evidence them.

Leadership is defined as “the ability to evaluate and or forecast a long term plan or policy and influence the followers towards the achievement of the said strategy” (Mayowa 2009). Both organizational developments along with individual’s progress are improved through an effective leadership (Wilson 2013). Ethical Leadership is one of the concepts of Leadership which was explained as “leadership that is directed by respect for ethical beliefs and values and for the dignity and right for others” (Seidman 2010). Ethical Leadership usually follows two fundamental principles: Deontological (duties) and Teleological (consequences) (Sendjaya 2005).


Figure 1: Approaches to Ethics

(Source: Ethics model 2016)


According to William K. Frankena, 1973, Duty-based or deontological ethics demonstrates that “established moral rules should precept and delineates the rights and wrongs in actions” (Groves and LaRocca 2011). Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks was acknowledged with a pace award for leadership in ethics for his installation of a value-based company providing respect for mankind with service to the public and without negotiating the definitive quality (ECI 2014). Here, the leader tried getting right things done so as to get a good result which influenced the workers to perform their duty in the right way. Howard Schultz can be entitled as an ethical leader as he encouraged two way and effective communication and also helped in solving problems by making specific decisions (ECI 2014). Whereas, teleological ethics is “based on the principles; whether an act is right or wrong depends only on the results of that act and the further good consequences an act produces, the superior or extra right that act” (BBC 2014). For example, Apple is presently the world’s best computer hardware company generating revenue of more than billions of dollars each year. Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple could be labeled as an unethical leader since he has broken certain promises like, he made workers work under high stress and exhaustively every day, committing suicide and more with the only aim of end result which was profit making and failed to consider the impact of their choices on stakeholders involved (Bilton 2014). Plus, Apple relies more on child slave labor by making children work for more than 10 hours and exposing them to cancerous vapors and even avoided some taxes using the Irish loopholes (Boney 2014).


We shall now consider the 4 V model of ethical leadership,

Figure 2: The 4V model of ethical leadership

         (Source: The Centre for Ethical Leadership 2014)


The Ethical Leadership model was introduced by Dr. Bill Grace based on his preceding researches on leadership and intimate affection about ethics (Our History 2016). This framework helps to regulate the internal and external journey.

Values and Vision analyses the group and gives them the purpose and direction. Claiming voice to values and vision bring dynamics to groups. The mixture of principle, awareness of commitments and relationships is Virtue (Concepts and Philosophies 2016).

Like the two sides of a coin, there are even criticisms relating to the 4 V model which states that, the model is proposed to expand the leader’s boldness for being a representative of the common good and one who is willing to face all challenges to acquire his destined target. But, leaders these days neglect following these models and believe they are invalid (Google Books 2006).

The 4V model of ethical Leadership maybe illustrated with the example of an organization, Microsoft. Bill Gates, the inventor of Microsoft, outsets with the inward exploration of ethical leadership. Passion, intensity and tenacity were discovered as his core values (JD 2011). By reducing inequity the world could be improved and the working in one computer with one screen and keyboard is going away. This was the vision pinpointed by Bill Gates (Yarow 2014). By spotting his vision, it becomes easier for Bill Gates to coordinate his behavior towards what are the appropriate things to be done. Furthermore, he explores his intimate voice to explicit perception through administration, concentrating all his time, resources and energy on building an enhanced world. Secondly, Bill Gates operates in the desire of serving the virtue. To exemplify, Bill Gates has set a family foundation in which the major role is played by philanthropy (Thorpe 2012).

In a nutshell, ethical leadership can be a monumental device by which the ruler administers their organization. In order to provide competent optimal performance, the four sides of 4V model should be arranged accurately by the leaders by coordinating the internal and external factors. Howalt Schultz and Bill Gates represented strong ethical leadership because they focused on value, vision, voice and virtue rather than individual benefits in the organization (JD 2011). The strategy of practicing ethical leadership by mangers is an effective tool so as to encourage and motivate employers, which thereby brings better profit and further goodwill to the organization. Although ethical leadership could impact positively on individuals and organizations, ethics is not the only way to value a leader or a company.


[817 words]



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Adeoye, M. (2009). Leadership definitions by scholars. [online] Adeoyemayowaleadership.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://adeoyemayowaleadership.blogspot.co.uk/.%5BAccessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Bbc, (2014). BBC – Ethics – Introduction to ethics: Duty-based ethics. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/duty_1.shtml. [Accessed 6 Feb. 2016].

Bilton, R (2014). ‘Apple’s broken promises’ [Online] available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04vs348/panorama-apples-broken-promises. [Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Boney, Enkivillage.com, (2016). Top 10 Unethical Business Practices with Pictures – EnkiVillage. [online] Available at: http://www.enkivillage.com/unethical-business-practices.html. [Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Concepts and Philosophies, (2016). [online] Available at: http://www.ethicalleadership.org/concepts-and-philosophies.html. [Accessed 6 Feb. 2016].

Ethics, (2014). Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz receives Pace Award for Leadership in Ethics – Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI). [online] Available at: https://www.ethics.org/newsite/research/big-ideas-blog/blogviewer?BlogKey=454736cf-1bfb-4f16-8eb5-eb4c623bb52f. [Accessed 7 Feb. 2016].

Forbes, (2012). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2012/09/05/the-real-reason-bill-gates-the-world-will-remember-bill-gates-hint-its-not-windows-8/#5373b3b34f49. [Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Fotosearch, (2016). Ethical leadership Stock Photos and Images. 142 ethical leadership pictures and royalty free photography available to search from over 100 stock photo brands.. [online] Available at: http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/ethical-leadership.html. [Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Google Books, (2006). Ethical Leadership. [online] Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=tgaUGP-V9mkC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=criticisms+against+the+4V+model+of+ethical+leadership&ots=x_zmhIn5PB&sig=jws0wSQdh7x0DBmauE0uQ6HNt2s#v=onepage&q=criticisms%20against%20the%204V%20model%20of%20ethical%20leadership&f=false. [Accessed 6 Feb. 2016].

Groves, K. and LaRocca, M. (2011). An Empirical Study of Leader Ethical Values, Transformational and Transactional Leadership, and Follower Attitudes Toward Corporate Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics., [online] 103(4), pp.511-515. Available at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/bsi/detail/detail?vid=42&sid=01814e68-2376-4252-af23-1d3807b00344%40sessionmgr4003&hid=4107&bdata=JnNpdGU9YnNpLWxpdmU%3d#AN=66440560&db=bth [Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

JD, (2011). ‘Lessons Learned from Bill Gates’ [online]. Available from:  http://sourcesofinsight.com/lessons-learned-from-bill-gates[Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Our History, (2016). [online] Available at: http://www.ethicalleadership.org/our-history.html. [Accessed 5 Feb. 2016].

Seidman, D. (2010), Bloomberg Business Week. Ethical Leadership: An Operating Manual. 10, 1-2. Viewed 7th February, 2016. [Accessed 6 Feb. 2016].

Sendjaya, S. (2005). Morality and Leadership: Examining the Ethics of Transformational Leadership. Journal of Academic Ethics, 3(1), pp.75-86. [Accessed 6 Feb. 2016].

The Center for Ethical Leadership (2014). ‘Ethical Leadership’ [online]. Available from:http://ethicalleadership.org/about-us/philosophies-definitions/ethical-leadership %5BViewed 8 Feb 2016].

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38 thoughts on “Leadership and Ethics

  1. I really liked the way the writer has started this. This is a wonderful article regarding leadership and Ethics. I suggest you could add little more examples of good leaders in this present world and also how they became successful in their life

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Flourry.. I’m glad on receiving your comment. I would love to include more examples of ethical leaders but unfortunately I had reached my word limit so was forced to put a stop..


  2. This article is indeed a thought provoking one, perforating yet another level of entrepreneurial instincts. It seems quite a task to distinguish the best leaders from the successful ones. Regardless of which it is still a verity that hardwork surpasses all shortcomings as in Steve jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This article speaks about the most important qualities that are to be maintained and improved by entrepreneurs. Simple effective use of words. A little bit more illustration could have been made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Angela,I’m glad on receiving your feedback for my piece of work. I’ll make sure that I would include more examples on my upcoming blog so that it could be in a more understandable and easier manner.


  4. I think the writer has mentioned what an ethical leader should be and what they exactly are. I think it’s a brilliant piece of work which enriched my knowledge on Leadership and ethics. I am looking forward for more blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m greatly obliged to here such words from you Mr.Sudeheesh. I would be uploading further blogs on different topics but basically leadership and hope you would enjoy them as well.


  5. Really interesting piece of work Roshny !!! Seems that you did lot of research before writing your blog and came up with different point of views.

    You used pictures to explain the Approaches to Ethics, which make it easier for the reader to understand what each approach means. Also the fact that you gave two example of leader, the first one is ethical and the second one unethical, which gives the reader a longer view on what you mean by an ethical leader.

    I recommend that in your future blog, you use smaller sentence as some of the sentences in this blog were very long. Try to avoid run-on sentences. As for your references, I would recommend that you make them in Alphabetical order.

    Other than that Well done. Cannot wait to read you next Blog, and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Khaoula, I don’t know how to express my delight. Your feedback on my blog were so meaningful and now,I get an inner feeling and confidence on how to present my upcoming blogs. Will certainly keep in mind the suggestions and will work on it.

      Once again thank you for spending your precious time on my blog and further for your recommendations.


  6. This is a great blog from a beginner. I really appreciate the efforts you have taken to write this blog. I would recommend you to cut short the lengthy sentences and make it crisp and clear. Good that you tried to give examples, you can also provide alternate solutions/recommendation on how better the examples can be handled. That will show the amelioration you can show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Surya, Thank you for the suggestions mentioned. I would undeniably work on them in order to cut short my lengthy sentences and will surely try keeping them crisp and clear with more easily understandable examples.


  7. Hi Roshny,
    Did a good job. It seems that you tried well to get good examples of successful leaderships!
    Ethics is the most important quality of a good leader. Any leader can make achievements but it is important to make the achievements through ethics and must be loyal to the code of ethics. But unfortunately the present leadership keeps either ethics or loyal to the duties. In my opinion, leadership must be bind with ethics so that a leader can live in the hearts of human beings from generation to generations.
    The focus on personal ethics of a leader is not meant to undermine the other, numerous variables that affect leadership, but to emphasize how personal ethics of a leader act as the backbone of successful leadership. Consciously addressing individual ethics will establish good leadership, which will produce more ethical organizations and eventually instill the social responsibility missing in today’s culture.
    I think since you are a finance student, you could have included the example of a financial company to the 4V model framework. Except that, I thing it was a brilliant piece of work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mr. Joseph. It undoubtedly is a tremendous gratification on receiving your feedback for my blog. I too staunchly believe that achievements should be acquired by following the specified code of conducts within the organization. But, people these days focus on attaining success through non-ethical ways which should be eliminated.

      Once again thank you sir for enlightening me with such thoughtful words.


  8. It is an interesting and good article on Leadership and ethics.
    A good leader can do best and make things better for others. But, as you mentioned above, unethical leaders like Steve Jobs also make good profit and most of the people are unaware about his unethical code of conduct but have well knowledge about apple’s products and fame. I think you could have added some more recommendations on leaders and to uphold ethical leadership towards the conclusion part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Ms.Magi. I realize what you say and comply with it. I believe that Ethics is a science that identifies the principles that best serve the goal with respect and discipline and therefore hope that the future leaders would understand the need and importance of being ethical in every aspect of their life.

      Thank you for your thought and comment on my first blog.


  9. Hi Roshny, I went through your blog and think your diagrams and explanations are very detailed and easy to understand. I also wanted to say that i liked how you related the four V model to Bill Gates. I shall be waiting for further blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alan, thank you for the compliment. I’m honestly overjoyed to hear that you could interpret what I explained in my blog and I promise that my second blog will be uploaded as soon as possible.


  10. Great article Roshni!

    Being an ethical leader is important however at this day and age i feel there are so many factors that can prevent this from happening. As you mentioned in the article, Steve Jobs was an unethical leader however factors such as competition with other giants like Microsoft can influence the decisions you make.

    Although this article explains the need for ethical leadership in today’s society, I am looking forward to reading your views on some of the factors that can prevent ethical leadership at this present day. Plus, I also have a small suggestion that you could have criticized the deontological and teleological theory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Minu for your great support. Well, it was a good question and I think factors such as Individual causes (like ignoring boundaries such as ethical code and organisational culture, Failing to use self-control, lack of a moral compass et cetera) and organisational causes (such as lack of clarity, oversimplified rules, no ethical leadership and behaviour standards et cetera) could be the reason preventing ethical leadership ath this present day. Hope I have answered appropriately to your question.


  11. Very well written and presented which users the proper understanding of the concepts by the writer. All the points are clear and well defined.Keep up the good work. looking forward to more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anurag. I’m happy to hear that you could understand the concept I intended to share through my blog. I would certainly be uploading my blogs on various other topics in the upcoming weeks.


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