The Gordian Knot of Ethics: Understanding Leadership Effectiveness and Ethical Behavior

Journal of Business Ethics 78 (1-2):175-192 (2008)

Recent ethical misconduct in American business has resulted in volumes of written commentary, various legislative responses, as well as litigation by those identified as victims. While legislators, judges, juries, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pursue an increasing number of cases, there is little attention devoted to understanding what drives executives and other leaders to behave in ways that violate the ethical and legal standards of business in the United States. This understanding is a prerequisite to selecting leaders and designing interventions that prevent future misconduct. Understanding leadership’s nature and functioning is one key to understanding the ethical behavior of an organization as a system and of the people who lead the organization. Two models or frameworks provide the foundation for this paper. The first is a model of leadership competencies. This model identifies five key areas of competence related to overall, long-term leadership success. The second model targets leadership effectiveness. This model has three components – motivational patterns, decision criteria, and competencies. Using the Leadership Effectiveness Model to frame the discussion, the authors describe the nature and importance of the models, with particular focus on motivational patterns. Research suggests these patterns often account for 40–60% of overall leadership effectiveness. This article defines motivational patterns and describes key patterns that may impact ethical behavior of leaders. The article concludes with a discussion of how to use data on motivational patterns in leadership selection, development, and evaluation processes.
Keywords leadership  ethics  effectiveness  motivation  attitudes  integrity  performance  selection  development  assessment
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-006-9318-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 45,629
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Identity Talk of Aspirational Ethical Leaders.Juliette Koning & Jeff Waistell - 2012 - Journal of Business Ethics 107 (1):65-77.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Leadership Ethics: Mapping the Territory.Joanne B. Ciulla - 1995 - Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (1):5-28.
Leadership.Ph D. Joseph C. Rost - 1995 - Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (1):129-142.
Ethical Leadership in Three Dimensions.R. N. Kanungo & M. Mendonca - 1998 - Journal of Human Values 4 (2):133-148.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #453,885 of 2,280,717 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #837,375 of 2,280,717 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature