Leading by Example: Values-Based Strategy to Instill Ethical Conduct

Journal of Business Ethics 145 (1):133-139 (2017)
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Abstract

Years of research clearly shows that relying on traditional organizational power bases is not effective when companies want to promote business ethics and performance. It is not only that the use of legitimate power to establish ethics codes and coercive power to punish employees who do not comply does not work; this study—based on a multi-method research approach in the retail industry—indicates that the classic iron fist leads to unethical business values and lower service performance. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for forward-looking managers. The ethical attitudes and behaviors of employees within international organizations is a dynamic variable that is possible to change by the use of values-based leadership. Our extensive study of a large grocery store chain owned by a multinational corporation indicates that managers who lead by example will boost team values and commitment.

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