Leadership Ethics: An Introduction Ronald F. White, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy College of Mount St. Joseph Topics • • • • • Ontology of Organizational Leadership The Great Man Theory of Leadership Enduring Bias Within the Great Man Tradition Prescriptive Moral Theories Discussion Questions Ontology of “Leadership Theory” • Key Concepts in Leadership Theory – Organizations – Leaders – Followers – Relationships Organizations • What is an Organization? (Facts) – Organizations as cooperative/competitive communities • Political, Business, Public (governmental), Military, Private (non-governmental), Athletic, Musical etc… • What is a “Good Organization.” (Values) – Organizational Ends-worthiness of goals • What does the organization attempt to do? (Descriptive) • Are these ends good? (Prescriptive ) – Organizational Means-efficiency • Are the means of achieving that end ethical? • At what cost? Leaders • What is a leader? (Descriptive) – How do you become a leader? • Natural Leadership – Biology » emergence – Social Science • How do you lose leadership? • What is a good/bad leader? (Prescriptive) – How do you become a good (or bad) leader? Followers • What is a follower? (Descriptive) – How do you become a follower? • Biology• Social Science • What is a good/bad follower? (Prescriptive) – How do you become a “good” (or bad) follower? Relationships • Descriptive Relationships: – How do leaders and followers relate to one another in the “real world?” (is) – How should leaders and followers relate to one another? (ought) History of Great Man Theory of Leadership • Great Man Theory – origins • Refinements to Great Man Theory – Trait Theory – Behavior Theory – Relational Theory • Transformative Leadership Theory • Social Psychology – Contextual Theory • Complexity Theory • Evolutionary Leadership Theory Enduring Biases Within the Great Man Tradition • DESCRIPTIVE BIASES – LEADER BIAS: Followers are only “passive” responders to effective leadership, therefore, leadership ethics trumps followership ethics. – – – – – HUMAN BIAS: Only human beings organize themselves, naturally, based on leadership and followership. NATURE OR NURTURE BIAS: Leaders are either “born not made” (Nature) or “made not born.” (Nurture) MALE BIAS: Leaders are always men. HEROIC BIAS: Great leaders are “active” and accomplish “heroic acts.” MACRO BIAS: Bring about macro-level, revolutionary social change • • • Blame the leaders not the followers Lower-level leadership is less important PRESCRIPTIVE BIASES – ETHICAL LEADERSHIP BIAS: Immoral and/or ineffective leaders are not “real leaders” • “ The Hitler Problem” – MORAL ABSOLUTES BIAS: Ethical Leadership involves conformity to universal moral rules, even at the expense of efficacy and efficiency – INTERNAL MENTAL STATES BIAS: Ethical leadership is about internal states such as motives, intents, beliefs etc. • • • – No “Dirty Hands” Ethical leaders morally “transform” malleable internal states of followers . Rejection of “transactional leadership” (needs more research on incentives and disincentives) “Nudge” ALTRUISTIC MOTIVATION BIAS: Altruistic motivation is necessary and sufficient for ethical leadership • • Altruistic motives always trump efficacy Moral absolutes Prescriptive Moral Theories • Cognitive Moral Theories – Virtue-Based Theories» Good Leaders/followers are virtuous – Teleological Theories» Good Leaders/followers are effective – Duty-Based Theories» Good Leaders/followers follow rules • Non-Cognitive Moral Theories – Emotivism – Constructivism – Feminist Ethics • Subjectivist Theories – Cultural relativism » There are no universal standards for ethical leadership » Good Leaders/Followers are contextually sensitive Discussion Questions • Are there at least some universal facts of leadership that transcend context, or is leadership entirely contextual? – Are these universal facts embedded in human nature that transcend context, or is leadership contextual? • Are those facts shaped by biological determinants, cultural determinants, or both? • Are leaders born, made, or both? • Are there universal values of leadership that transcend context, or is leadership ethics contextual? – Are “good leaders” virtuous, effective, or dutiful? – Are “good leaders” born, made, or both? • Are prescriptive moral values descriptive biological facts? • Are values discovered via scientific research? • Are all prescriptive moral values descriptive cultural facts? – Are values invented and transmitted via cultural evolution? • Is there a difference between large-group morality and small group morality, or are the product of one single set of biological facts?