Ethical Leadership Essay Sample

Published: 2019-09-16
Ethical Leadership Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership analysis Management
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1804 words
16 min read

In today's world, ethics and values have been made to be a key role for executives levels and executions. An organization's growth matters not in the company's top leadership, the managers and directors in a company should have a good ethical standards that would help employees work with good morals which count more in an organizations performance. Most CEOS and managers in todays society are really ethical role models with most of them having a series of unethical activities from various scandals and behavior in the course of duty. Bad behavior in an organization brings in a negative public image which gives a blow to the organization in question as growth will be hindered from the negative picture that will be created from these bad behaviors. Investors stakeholders and even employees would not give credibility to a company whose leadership is compromised with unethical standards and this would give a blow to an organizations growth. In the case of pen stated the child abuse case brought in a negative public image from the unethical bad behaviors found from one of its top managers, these cases take in a long process to clear the organization from such bad image in the public eyes.

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Ethics are values and beliefs that guide people on their daily duties and how they should behave. Ethical people are viewed to be persons with great character because of the vales which they possess which help them in defining what is right or wrong. Moreover, ethics are also termed as code of conducts, and people working in the formal sector are quite familiar with this because nowadays most organizations require their employees to behave in a certain manner whether within the organizations or outside the organization. In addition to that members of a professional body are also required to be ethical and while conducting their duties there are certain code of behavior that guide them. For instance the Certified Auditors and members of ACCA are guided by the following fundamental principles: the first one is integrity, this means members should be straightforward in whatever they do and should not engage in corruption practices. Another fundamental principle that auditors should adhere to include objectivity this means that they should not allow conflict of interest overrides their professional decisions. There is also the issue of professional competence in this case the governing body require their members to marinating the professional skills at all time but most important is to ensure that the client receive competent services and in accordance with the applicable technical and professional standards. There is also a fundamental principle on confidentiality both accountants and the auditors are required to treat client information with confidentiality unless required to disclose such information by the law or if the information if of public interest. Eventually, there is the issue an ethical code about professional behaviour professional members is required to comply with relevant laws and regulations. There are some of the examples of the code of ethics that govern ACCA members. Besides that there are some of the principles that govern the conduct and behaviour of members of the community. Therefore, ethical leadership can be termed as the process of influencing people through certain principles, values and beliefs; thus, helping them embrace what is right.

The ethical leadership case that is of concern to us is that of Jerry Sandusky at Penn State this case was failed on November 6. The case was about the former administrators in Penn State who engaged in conspiracy to cover up incidence of child sex abuse. The allegations were against Jerry Sandusky which later implicated the University officials for acting in a negligence manner and failing to act. However, also the NCAA was not well prepared to investigate the matter in a proper manner although, when it made few statements about the culture of negligence in the University for failure to act. Even after the NCAA had termed the University as negligence the organization did failed to conduct its own investigation regarding the matter of child sex abuse. The organization failed the report based on findings of the Freeh Report this was like a commission that had been formed by the Penn state to enquirer about what had transpired although it was a cover rap plan.

Moreover, the NCAA had filed again by not acting within its disciplinary rules, normally; the organization rule is that the channel for disciplinary is supposed to flow through its committees but on the Penns case the NCAA had opted for another method and that is negotiating with the state on the terms of punishment that suited the institution. However, according to the NCAA president this situation was special and thus different from other cases that are referred to the organization committee because this case if it was brought to the committee it would have qualified for a death sentences. To, avoid the death penalty the alternative option which the University saw well was to strike a deal with the NCAA regarding the matter.

The agreement was that that Penn state to be banned for participating in any even for a period of four years this would see it lose a large share of its scholarships. The punishment would also make it difficult for the coach to win any record for a major tournament. Moreover, the university also received a great share of the penalty which was $60 million as fine for negligence and plotting a cover up on the event of a child abuse.

Later the issue of fine would be challenged by members of the public among them was the senator Jake who was also an aluminum of the University. Nobody was supporting the sanctioning of the University. The $60 million fine was viewed as a bribe given to NCAA to end the issue of child abuse, among the arguments put across were that Penn state was a public University and whose budget came from the commonwealth and as a result, any expenditure by the institution was going to be spent in the same cit which is Pennsylvania.


Making ethical decisions is a process laced with various obstacles from individually based obstacles to organization caused obstacles and ultimately environmentally caused. Individually caused obstacles vary and center on employee personal attributes and personality dispositions that cause them to make an unethical decision. The Sandusky case, in particular, provides an elaborate example of how personal dispositions can get in the way. Fear is an aspect that would impair low-level employees in speaking out in that he or she may fear to lose their job or appear as lacking professionalism. The idea behind this is that, by being a whistleblower, the employee feels as though they are in the limelight where they would require presenting supporting evidence. From a utilitarian perspective, the employee is likely to experience conflict in that he or she wants to act in the best interest of the children, to protect them while at the same time is under obligation to protect Penn State as an institution.

As explained by (Bien & Carsten 6), the hierarchy in an organization creates an atmosphere where employees often have to decide whether to speak up about the ethical issues they show concern for or remain silent. The hierarchy in a way also creates hierarchical role expectations in the form of a bottom-up model that creates an environment where employees fear not speaking up because of criticism attached with the blame if the issue became recognized.

Moral distress is another potential individual caused obstacle. With the case involving the abuse of children, the employee is likely to feel morally distressed which describes a state in which an individual is aware of the right thing to do but is reluctant,(Bien & Carsten 7). For instance, in this case, the employee has a moral responsibility to protect the children with the threat of losing their job as real as the allegations.

With organizational caused obstacles, there are various aspects such as the absence of third party consultants, a discouraging environment of employee power and dependence. About the absences of third party consultants, (Hill & Rapp 624) explain the important aspects of a bottom-up approach in ethics through the involvement of a trusted third party. The third parties can get involved in monitoring the ethical issue, discussing it from an objective stance, asking critical questions and seeking out the opinions of others through evidence-based approaches. With third party methods, investigations are without bias as investigators operate on objectivity.

With an environment, that discourages employee power and dependence; managing ethical issues can be impaired. As illustrated by (Bien & Carsten 194), building upon an upward ethical leadership model is important. This is because; such a model encourages employees to feel they have a sense of power and independence. By encouraging employees to rely on their independence, they refrain from receiving guidance from fearful thoughts such as those involving the loss of their jobs. For instance, in an article by (Shipley & Johnson par. 1), a custodian sneaked upon Sandusky showering with a boy but declined on reporting the issue following the fear of being fired.

Environmental caused obstacles revolve around the effect of the low-level employee reporting the colleague and its impact on the business. With the reputation of Penn State in jeopardy, the issue is likely to paint a negative image of the institution. Despite this, the problem of not reporting also portrays a negative image in that it gives the impression that the employees do not have a sense of responsibility. The publics perception is important in that it influences peoples willingness to be part of the institution For instance, after the revelation of Sanduskys abuse of children; most parents became fearful of sending their children to Penn State. With top management mostly concerned with maintaining the companys reputation, those holding onto the power discourage the low-level employees from reporting unethical issues when they occur.

Another environmental aspect is hostility within the organization. With a low-level employee serving as a whistleblower, officials at top management may feel betrayed if the employee was to relay the information without using the proper channels. Where the top managers are actively involved in a cover-up, it further creates a hostile environment within the organization in that people doubt the credibility of top administrators. According to a report by (Shipley & Johnson par.2), senior management covered up the allegations of sexual abuse. The question, in this case, would be if senior management could cover up the story, then how low-level employees would handle unethical situations.

The top down and bottom up ethical approach call for managers and organizations to create a safe environment where people regardless of their position in the workplace, can quickly report unethical situations without having to go through many channels. Having ethical hotlines that help employees remain anonymous helps control such situations.

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