Essay Sample Dedicated to Unethical Leadership by Bernard Madoff

Published: 2022-07-13
Essay Sample Dedicated to Unethical Leadership by Bernard Madoff
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership analysis Business ethics
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 619 words
6 min read

Unethical leadership is a behavior conducted or decisions made by the organization leaders which are illegal and go against the moral standards, and those that impose structures and processes that promote unethical conduct by followers.

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In the case of Bernard Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, there are a lot of unethical behaviors which he carried out together with his auditors. In the white-collar crime conducted by Madoff, two ethical theories are involved, i.e. deontology ethical theory which is referred as the duty-based ethics. It's one of the approaches to ethics that addresses whether the aim behind particular actions is right or wrong instead of aiming whether the result of an action is right or wrong (Ross, B., & Hoopla digital. 2016). Whereas teleological ethical approach is referred to as result-oriented ethics. It majorly focuses on the aim of each action and whether there exists an intention or meaning of the action. These two perspectives are discussed below in the case of Bernard Madoff;

The Bernard Madoff scandal has since become one of the super examples of white-collar crime in America. Madoff scandal has also revealed the ethical and legal inconsistencies in the modern system of punishment against the white-collar crime. The white-collar crime is not associated with physical violence rather direct harm. As a result, Madoff was granted 10 million bonds to remain free. Later on, the court reconsiders its decision and send Bernard Madoff to jail to wait for trial (Lewis, L. S. 2016). The primary ethical issue that is presented is that Madoff has essentially robbed the company's investors their good fortune without them realizing. Bernard Madoff was not investing their fortunes properly he was concerned about making only himself wealthier. Madoffs behaviors were unethical and he is undoubtedly deserving of his sentenced punishment. As a result of Bernard Madoff immoral actions, a lot of investors suffered a great deal. Due to Madoffs unethical conduct, many lives were taken, and a vast fortune was lost. Madoffs behavior not only impacted investors and many others on the Wall Street but also it affected the accounting community as well (Arvedlund, E. (2010). Bernard Madoff did not claim the correct amount of money in several of his forms, hence creating issues for the accountants handling the company's financial records as well.

While committing the white collar crime, Madoff did not foresee that his actions would later create a domino effect within various parts of the business world. Hence his Ponzi scheme was known to be the largest fraud in the Wall Street history (Lewis, L. S. 2016). Bernard Madoff actions are a good example of the unethical behavior which occurs in the business world every day. Also, the unethical conduct of Madoff made several thousands of the affected investors to be declared bankrupt (Ross, B., & Hoopla digital. 2016). Moreover, his own family had to bear the burden of emotional and social pressures that came as a result of a Ponzi scheme. The scandal did the biggest ever fraud towards his family as Madoff kept going on without clear thought about the damaging consequences the family would face.


Bernard Madoff made much fortune through his unethical means. It's indicated that he stole over 20 billion from investors through fraud. The analysis has presented the Madoff Ponzi scheme fraud scandal from an ethical point of view. The two perspective of the ethical approaches are also discussed, i.e. the teleological and deontological perspective.


Arvedlund, E. (2010). Too good to be true: The rise and fall of Bernie Madoff. New York: Penguin Group.

Lewis, L. S. (2016). Bernard Madoff and his accomplices: Anatomy of a con.

Ross, B., & Hoopla digital. (2016). The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the secret world of Bernie and Ruth. United States: Disney Book Group.

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