Is character an essential ingredient in ethical leadership? Is it especially important in managers? In leadership, especially among CEOs, is character important?
Character: An essential Ingredient in Ethical Leadership:
Character is an essential component in an employee's personality. It shows integrity, honesty, and loyalty of that employee with the organization. When it comes to top leadership, the need to have a sound character in the personality of top managers, CEO's, and directors is highly essential for the success of the organization. In addition to performing their assigned duties and responsibilities, it is also expected from these higher officials that they would exert full efforts in achieving the organizational goals without taking any undue advantage from its public image or resources. In the past, numerous ethical scandals have been pointed which have made the organizations think twice while hiring CEOs for their operations (Shaw, 2011).
Integrity and Sound Moral Character:
A CEO can be considered a man of integrity and to be possessed with a sound and impeccable character if he performs his duties without doing any unethical practices within or outside the organization. It is widely believed that character of employees is highly important irrespective of their job positions, levels, or departments. Character can also be judged by the performance of the CEO or top leadership officials during their day-to-day activities. It takes two different but equally unethical forms.
First, the CEO may take an undue advantage from the physical, human, informational, or financial resources whereas he is expected to safeguard these assets or resources from unauthorized usage or access. The second behavior is when the CEO subordinates the organizational interests over his personal interests. In order to avoid these situations, organizations are now strictly monitoring the conflict of interest and power dimensions of their CEOs. Hence, in order to achieve the set strategic goals in an effective and efficient way, organizations have to recruit CEOs that have proven track record, an honest personality, and sound moral character (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2012).
Q. 2: Do you agree with the Waiter Rule? Does it provide useful insights into who might be an ethical or unethical leader? Should corporate boards consider character when hiring someone for the top position?
Waiter Rule can definitely give deep insights into someone's character (who is holding a top level management position like CEO, director, etc.) because it directly shows how he treats those who can do nothing for them. As a CEO or the director of a company, he oversees the performance of thousands of lower and middle level workers. His behavior with these lower level employees shows how much true concern he keeps in his heart for them. If he has a good moral character, he will also give these workers an equal respect. On the other hand, if he does not bear an immaculate or impeccable character, he will treat his subordinates with a quite rude and unfriendly behavior. This rude behavior must not be tolerated within organizations since it significantly affects the morale and motivation of the employees working at different levels and positions (Shaw, 2011).
Q. 3: Is using the Waiter Rule too simplistic a guideline for hiring people in important positions such as CEO?
Although Waiter Rule is quite effective in judging the inner-self of higher officials like CEOs, directors, top managers, etc.; but it only takes one dimension of their personality in order to judge the softness and compassion in their heart for the lower level workers of the organization. For a better judgment, organizations should also use some other factors or parameters; like track record in previous organizations, power influence during previous years, level of conflict of interest observed in the past, his contribution to strengthening the organizational culture, and overall behavior with other higher officials in addition to the lower and middle level staff (Del, 2006).
Ethics in Practice Case 1
"What They Don't Know Won't Hurt Them"
Q. 1: Is it ethical for the doctor to allow the vet students to perform the autopsy?
From an ethical standpoint, it is quite unfair that the students perform the said operation of the expired animal. Reason being, the owner is not agree to give her expired dog for lab experiment. The office manager at the hospital mentioned that the lady (owner of the dog) would never know whether the operation was done or not. But ethically, it is a kind of deceit which the manager wants to give to the owner. Therefore, it is quite unethical for the doctor to allow his students to perform autopsy on the deceased dog.
Q. 2: Should the fact that the owner would never know if the autopsy was performed affect the doctor's decision?
Although it can be assumed that the lady would never know that the students or any hospital doctor has performed autopsy on her dog; still the decision of the doctor must not be changed. Instead of using her dog for the lab experiments, he can bring other animals with the help of his hospital in order to avoid this deceitful practice.
Q. 3: What would you do in this situation? Why?
The statement that "What they don't know won't hurt them" is quite true in real life. But if they know it in the future from the same or any other source, it would hurt them much more than before. Therefore, it can be said that allowing students to perform autopsy without the permission of the owner can never be an ethical task. In my opinion, wrong is always wrong. I would never have allowed the students to perform autopsy on the dog without the permission of its owner.
Response to the Fellow Members' Post:
I totally agree with the opinion of my fellow member that what is wrong in front of someone is also wrong behind his back (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2012). From an ethical standpoint, it is quite unfair and dishonest act that the dog is being operated without the permission of its owner. Even if the manager mentioned that the lady would never know about the operation, the students or doctors should not agree to perform this operation. It will keep their minds satisfied that they have not deceived anyone.
Ethics in Practice Case 2
Q. On p. 212 of your text, Carol Gilligan believes that Kohlberg's Levels of Moral Development do not apply well to women. Why not? Is her theory better suited for women?
Kohlberg's Levels of Moral Development basically set the women's level of moral development quite below men's level. It means women are more conscious towards socializing and making relationships while men have stronger and more rigid feelings when it comes to relationships and socializing. Women are weaker as compared to men in making impersonal, impartial and abstract decisions. However, when it comes to ethical decision making without gender biasness or any other type of discrimination, the theory applies equally to both males and females. Reason being, both these genders want that they never have to face discrimination from their employers, teachers, families, or friends.
In addition to making sound decisions on the ethical standpoint, both males and females wish to stay unbiased in all aspects. Therefore, they also consider others' feelings, opinions, and judgments before actually reaching a decision upon their own wishes, interpersonal feelings, or experiences.
Response to the Fellow Members' Post:
It is correctly said that the abovementioned theory equally applies to both male and female genders. Reason being, they do not solely make decisions on the basis of their personal or self-centered motives, but also on the basis of the feelings and opinions of others. The arguments given in its favor are also supported by a real life example.
Ethics in Practice Case 3
Flowers vs. Eyes: When would you have paid?
Q. 1: Was it unethical for the professor to conduct such an experiment on his colleagues without announcing it?
Whatever the professor did in this experiment cannot be called unethical from any angle. There are various reasons for it. For instance, the professor had the right to know who among the employees pay for the coffee and who does not. The experiments were quite useful in increasing payments for coffees. However, the idea behind posting the picture of flowers and then the eyes was to play with the feelings of workers in a quite ethical way.
The officers were not told that these pictures are being posted to affect their inner-self which will persuade them to pay for what they used to drink for free. In my opinion, the act of the professor was not wrong at all; he just wanted to make them pay for their coffee in an indirect way which will ultimately benefit the organization in decreasing its administrative expenses.
Response to the Fellow Members' Post:
The fellow member also believes that the professor has done this experiment with a positive aim.…