Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Is Being a Leader Inherently Unethical?

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During this time of uncertainty, it is worth examining some of our basic underlying assumptions about how the world works and how people interpret that world. This piece is about ethics.

Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

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If you review the various major models of leadership out there a glaring hole becomes rapidly evident, and that is the relative lack of ethics as a trait, skill or critical behavior of leadership. In a cross section of studies reviewed by Peter Northouse (2010) on leadership traits and characteristics, only one major review (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991) out of six, listed integrity or ethics as an important defining characteristic of leadership. Roughly the same results occur when other leadership models are reviewed including those that focus on leadership skills or style, a situational characteristics approach to leadership, a contingency theory or path-goal theory approach, or exchange based approaches to leadership. Only models describing transformational leadership and authentic leadership seem to have substantial ethical or moral components to them. Since the development of most of these theories is driven by data-based experiments, it leads one to questions why…

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Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

November 14, 2016 at 4:45 am

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