To argue that morals and ethics are more important today than any other time in history would be difficult to prove. The discussion about morality of leaders and ethical behavior is nothing new. What has changed is the world that we live in. The reality is that the world is changing at a rapid pace, and there is value to investigate what issues seem to be capturing the attention of scholars in a particular field of research. In the field of leadership studies, it does seem that morals and ethics are more important than any other time in history. The explanation for this attention to morals and ethical leadership comes from various reasons that an examination of literature can help uncover.
The first issue that seems consistent throughout the literature is the discussion about the leadership challenges presented by the changing nature of business and the way the global economy is connected. Since the new millennium began, several factors have been cited for an increased attention on business ethics including globalization, advancements in technology, and an increase in government regulation (Drover, Franczak, & Beltramini, 2012). More people today are working independently, off site, without direct supervision. (Trevino, Hartman, & Brown, 2000). In this new work environment, where many employees may be spread around the globe, it is more important than ever for leaders to instill the proper values within every facet of the organization to ensure ethical behavior.
The result of the changing business landscape has been detrimental in terms of ethical behavior. There is an increase in unethical behavior regarding economic crime, a problem that research (Verschoor, 2014) shows can t...
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...e on a global scale, and privacy becomes harder and harder to maintain, corporations, governments, and other organizations are being forced to become more transparent about the way they conduct business. Unethical practices have led to major scandals, which can affect more than just the reputation of those committing transgressions. Within the corporate world, the Enron case, the banking crisis of 2008, and more recently the Volkswagen emission scandal proves the damage unethical practices can cause. As leadership studies have shown, leaders play the most prominent role in determining an organization’s ethical behavior. By establishing a reputation as an ethical leader, and displaying strong moral behavior in his or her professional and personal life, a leader can positively influence the ethical behavior and decision making of everyone within the organization.
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