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Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness

In: Business and Management

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CHAPTER 13

Ethics and Leadership
Effectiveness
Joanne B. Ciulla

T

he moral triumphs and failures of leaders carry a greater weight and volume than those of nonleaders (Ciulla, 2003b). In leadership we see morality magnified, and that is why the study of ethics is fundamental to our understanding of leadership. The study of ethics is about human relationships.
It is about what we should do and what we should be like as human beings, as members of a group or society, and in the different roles that we play in life. It is about right and wrong and good and evil. Leadership is a particular type of human relationship. Some hallmarks of this relationship are power and/or influence, vision, obligation, and responsibility. By understanding the ethics of this relationship, we gain a better understanding of leadership, because some of the central issues in ethics are also the central issues of leadership. They include the personal challenges of authenticity, self-interest, and self-discipline, and moral obligations related to justice, duty, competence, and the greatest good.
Some of the most perceptive work on leadership and ethics comes from old texts and is out there waiting to be rediscovered and reapplied. History is filled with wisdom and case studies on the morality of leaders and leadership. Ancient scholars from the East and West offer insights that enable us to understand leadership and

Author’s Note: A special thanks goes to Jepson School research assistant Cassie King for her help in preparing this chapter.
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formulate contemporary research questions in new ways. History and philosophy provide perspective on the subject and reveal certain patterns of leadership behavior and themes…...

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