1. Identify three reasons why there may be ethical leadership failures and explain why failed leadership occurs.

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1. Identify three reasons why there may be ethical leadership failures and explain why failed leadership occurs.

What Is Ethical Leadership?

The ethical leader understands that positive relationships built on respect, openness, and trust are critical to creating an ethical organization environment. The underlying principles of ethical leadership are: integrity, honesty, fairness, justice, responsibility, accountability, and empathy. Covey addresses a principle-centered leadership approach to one’s personal life and organization development. He emphasizes that principle-centered leadership occurs when one’s internal values form the basis of external actions. Principle-based leaders influence the ethical actions of those in the organization by transforming their own behavior first. Covey encourages principle-centered leaders to build greater, more trusting and communicative relationships with others in the workplace.

Ethical leaders strive to honor and respect others in the organization and seek to empower others to achieve success by focusing on right action. An ethical organization is a community of people working together in an environment of mutual respect, where they grow personally, feel fulfilled, contribute to a common good, and share in the internal rewards, such as the achievement of a level of excellence common to a practice as well as the rewards of a job well done. By emphasizing community and internal rewards, ethical leaders commit to following a virtue-oriented approach to decision making based on a foundation of values-based leadership.

John Maxwell, the internationally recognized leadership expert, said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”4 (Links to an external site.) Leaders lead by example. They set an ethical tone at the top. Page 507They lead with an attitude of “Do what I say as well as what I do.” Ciulla argues that what is distinctive of leadership is the concept of vision: “Visions are not simple goals, but rather ways of seeing the future that implicitly or explicitly entail some notion of the good.”5 (Links to an external site.)

Lawton and Paez developed a framework for ethical leadership built on three interlocking questions: First, who are leaders and what are their characteristics? Second, how do ethical leaders do what they do? Third, why do leaders do as they do and what are the outcomes of ethical leadership?6 (Links to an external site.) They suggest that the three factors will not necessarily form discrete areas of ethics.


A moral manager serves as a role model for ethical conduct in a way that is visible to employees. A moral manager communicates regularly and persuasively with employees about ethical standards, principles, and values. Moral managers use reward systems to hold employees accountable to ethical standards. They understand that doing the right thing is more than having a code of conduct but also requires carrying through ethical intent with ethical action.

Answer the following discussion question:

  1. Identify three reasons why there may be ethical leadership failures and explain why failed leadership occurs


The three causes of Ethical Leadership Failures include ;

1) Individual Causes

The individual causes includes; failing to use self control, ignoring limits, permissible views, lack of moral values among employees etc.

2) Organizational Causes

The organizational causes may include: insufficient clarity about organizational perspective for ethical views, less training to employees, no accpountability establishedat different levels, behavirol standards are not established and no ethical leadership defined.

3) Compounding Factors

Compounding factors are those factors where a combination of factors effects the organization. These factors include combination of individual cause and organizational cause. These may include: no standards established and positivity role models are also not established, lack of morality in the leader and no ethical standards in an organization etc.

Preventive Measures

  1. A supporting team is to be established to discuss about the dynamics that may occur and take an action to control such causes.
  2. Create Checks and Balances in the standards and actual performance.
  3. Create and maintain code of conduct
  4. Lead the team by an example to motivate and appreciate employees,
  5. Hire an ethics speaker who would tell the organization about importance of ethical behavior in the working environment.