Johnson, C. E. (2015). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow (5th Ed.). Retrieved from http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/sage/2013/meeting-the-ethical-challenges-of-leadership_ebook_5e.php
Answer the following two questions separately with a minimum of 150 words each, and include a citation/reference from the following for the first question:
Johnson, C. E. (2015). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow (5th Ed.). Retrieved from http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/sage/2013/meeting-the-ethical-challenges-of-leadership_ebook_5e.php
1. If I am perceived to be an ethical leader, am I an ethical leader Why or why not What happens when perception and reality are not congruent Can I be a toxic leader and still be an ethical leader Why or why not
2. Focus on Research:
Read the following research study:
Chekwa, C., Ouhirra, L., Thomas, E., & Chukwuanu, M. (2014). An examination of the effects of leadership on business ethics: empirical study. International Journal of Business & Public Administration, 11(1), 48-65. (http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx direct=true&db=bth&AN=97887448&site=eds-live&scope=site
After reading the study, provide the following information â€“ Problem statement, Research questions, Methodology, and Purpose statement. Are these pieces of information important in scholarly research Why or why not
Leaders within organizations cannot simply talk about behaving ethically; they must also
“walk the walk” and exemplify behavior as a guide for the employees they lead. Specifically,
executive and upper-level management must demonstrate their commitment to ethics through both
words and actions and must provide a safe mechanism for reporting violations. In an effort to
expound on this topic, this study is intended to answer the question, “What are the effects of
leadership on ethical behavior within an educated workforce ” The assertions presented within
this document center on the effect of various factors on productivity and management as they
relate to ethics within business. Additionally, where available, legislation passed or proposed, to
protect businesses and individuals regarding penalties for unethical behaviors, is reviewed. The
results of this study indicate there is linear relationship between leadership ethical values and
ethical behavior. This implies that if one knows, or has experienced ethical violations, he or she
may be able to make some prediction about leadership impact.
Keywords: Leadership, ethical values, Ethical behaviors
The discussion on organizational values and ethics is as old as organizations themselves,
and ethics and organizational values go hand in hand. Although not new, the subject has received
significant press in the past five to seven years, primarily as a result of scandals surrounding the
unethical behavior of corporate leadership. Consequently, the dialogue on values-driven
organizations, values-based leadership, and ethical codes of conduct has been “refreshed.” The
researchers surveyed employees on whether ethical practices exist in their organizations and on
their beliefs about the role of leadership in setting business ethics standards. At the conclusion of
this study, data were assessed to examine the role that leadership may, or may not play in
creating an organizational reality centered on values and ethics.
The authors believe that leaders’ internalization and demonstration of the values through
which they operate have a powerful influence on others. With respect to this, the authors believe
that ethical behavior starts at the top, beginning with the chief executive officer (CEO), board,
In an age of corporate scandals, a larger number of organizations are implementing a
system of checks and balances. In addition, Congress responded to the public outcry by enacting
the Sarbanes–Oxley Act to monitor organizations in an effort to keep them operating within the
ethical realm and with moral responsibility.
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 49
Although a number of organizations have written codes of ethics, many others have not.
In addition, many employees in companies with a code of ethics in place are unaware of the
policy. Yet, whether available examples or guidelines of behavior expectations are available or
not, leaders of the companies that have engaged in public ethical scandals are held responsible
when their companies behave unethically.
The purpose of this research is to examine the standards established by leaders to ensure
that all employees act in an ethical manner. The researchers surveyed employees within various
organizations regarding their beliefs about the role of leadership in setting standards in business.
Although research indicated that leaders are influential with employees and subordinates, this
influence may have no impact on ethical behavior. However, by exploring the many factors in
value-based leadership, value-driven organizations, and ethical codes of conduct, the researchers
achieved a comprehensive understanding of the role of leadership and its effect on subordinates
and the organization as a whole.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ethics as (a) the discipline dealing with what is
good and bad and with moral duty and obligations, (b) the principles of conduct governing an
individual or a group, or (c) a guiding philosophy (2010). In summation, business ethics is the
study and evaluation of decision making by businesses according to moral concepts and
judgments. Business ethics are based on the frequency of unethical behavior and the seriousness
of ethical transgressions. According to Jones and other researchers, unethical behavior in and by
organizations is commonly defined as that which violates generally accepted moral norms of
behavior (Jones, 1999); Trevino and Weaver, 2003. Ethical behavior implies adherence to these
moral norms, whereas unethical behavior implies their violation. Examples of common types of
unethical behavior are corruption, fraud, theft, and sexual harassment (Crane & Matten, 2007).
Recently, ethical components in businesses have gained significant attention. The
collapse of many high-profile companies and organizations has caused the public to question
organizational values and ethical practices. The media’s broad scope has played an important
role in bringing these practices to light by exposing the inner workings of organizations. The
media are constantly looking to predict the next big corporate scandal or outbreak of corruption
and broadcast it to constituents. The unethical choices that we have seen in business negatively
affect companies, damage individuals, and reduce society’s confidence in institutions. With this
in mind, businesses can no longer ignore ethics; they must become socially responsible.
Leadership influence is a process of transforming followers’ self-concepts and attitudes toward
the tasks and goals set for the organization. It is stated by some that persons who practice smaller
unethical behaviors my someday move on to more serious behaviors. (Lewis, 1985) The authors’
suggest that leadership must play an active role in modeling appropriate behavior and practices
for employees to follow. In modeling behavior, it is suggested that a person is more likely to act
ethically with a well-defined code (Lewis, 1985).
Imagine a world without ethics, one in which we put ourselves first all the time. Sadly,
some people describe their current workplace in this manner. Research by Axiom Software into
graduate recruitment found that 75% of graduates would not work for a company with a poor
ethical record (Personnel Today, 2002). Thus, people seem to increase their awareness of the
need for ethics. In 2003, many companies implemented the new position of ethics officer
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 50
An ethics officer aligns the practices of a workplace with the stated ethics and beliefs of
that workplace to hold people accountable to ethical standards. Ethics officers are increasingly
common in the business community. They perform a number of important tasks, including
assisting their employers with developing codes of ethics to ensure the creation of a clear
standard and establishing clear consequences for violations of these codes to ensure that all
employees at the company understand that they will be held ethically accountable. According to
wiseGEEK website, for definition of “What is an Ethics Officer ”, ethics officers may also
enforce ethical codes and modify the code as needed (McMahon).
One role of an ethics officer is to examine the stated values, mission, and goals of an
organization and to determine whether the organization’s behavior actually supports these
statements. The authors’ suggest that a company that claims to behave ethically may use an
ethics officer as a symbol of accountability, demonstrating that it does not simply pay lip service
to the ideal of ethics but actually adopted an ethics code and appointed people to enforce it.
Often, one can be influenced by people who assist in shaping our views of the world.
Some of these people include teachers, parents, family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and
In business, ethical questions range from practical, narrowly defined issues, such as a
company’s obligation to be honest with its customers, to broader social and philosophical
questions, such as a company’s responsibility to preserve the environment and protect employee
rights. Frequently, conflicts in ethics arise when the interests of the company’s owners,
employees, and customers differ. In response to the public outcry in the wake of financial
misconduct by firms such as Enron, Blackstone, Tyco, and WorldCom, Congress passed the
Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act (PL 170-204), commonly
known as the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (Sarbanes et al., 2002). The Sarbanes–Oxley Act came into
force in July 2002 and introduced major changes to the regulation of corporate governance and
financial practice, including changing the procedures and the business practice official who signs
the corporate tax return (Buyer, 2005). The law, named after its main architects, Senator Paul
Sarbanes and Representative Michael Oxley, set a number of non-negotiable deadlines for
The Sarbanes–Oxley Act created new standards for corporate accountability and new
penalties for acts of wrongdoing. It changed how corporate boards and executives must interact
with one another and with corporate auditors. It removed the defense of “I wasn’t aware of
financial issues” from CEOs and chief financial officers (CFOs) and holds them accountable for
the accuracy of financial statements. According to Attachmate, in an explanation of SOX, the
Act specifies new financial reporting responsibilities, including adherence to new internal
controls and procedures designed to ensure the validity of financial records (unknown).
The Sarbanes–Oxley Act (2002) was passed in the wake of a myriad of corporate
scandals. What these scandals had in common was skewed reporting of selected financial
transactions. For example, companies such as Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco covered up or
misrepresented a variety of questionable transactions, resulting in huge losses to stakeholders
and a crisis in investor confidence. How did Congress think the Act would address the problem
Sarbanes–Oxley enhances corporate governance and strengthens corporate accountability by:
• Formalizing and strengthening internal checks and balances within corporations;
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 51
• Instituting various new levels of control and sign-off designed to assure full disclosure in
financial reporting; and,
• Ensuring that corporate governance is transacted with full transparency.
Based on the extant literature, some business professionals believe that ethics is irrelevant to
the field of business. They also believe that they have only one obligation to the company—to
maximize the amount of money the company makes (i.e., increase profit margins). However, an
effective organizational culture should encourage ethical behavior and discourage unethical
behavior. Truthfully, ethical behavior may cost the organization by ensuring that operations are
conducted properly. Even though ethical problems in organizations continue to concern society,
organizations, and individuals, the potential effect that organizational culture has on ethical
behavior has yet to be fully explored. Today’s complicated times require more organizations to
step forward and operate with more positive values and ethical cultures. The IRS Employment
Review featured a report of 25 organizations’ policies and practices concerning corporate social
responsibility (IRS, 2002). Quoted within the report are three central reasons why businesses
cannot ignore ethics: good practice, risk to their reputation, and increasing external pressure.
An individual’s values are the basic principles and tenets that guide his or her beliefs,
attitudes, and behavior (Gordon, 1996). A value is considered the most abstract type of social
cognition whose function is to guide the individual’s adaptation to the surrounding environment
(Kahle, Goff, & Selznik, 1983).
In measuring the ethics of an organization, focusing on its intention, conduct, and effects
is necessary. The intention of an organization is seen in the manner in which the organization
promotes ethical behavior and prevents unethical behavior. Kaptein (2009) employed the
corporate ethical virtues model, which distinguishes between ranges of organizational virtues and
lends itself to measuring the relevant intentions of an organization. To identify the organizational
virtues with reference to the unethical behavior that can be explained and prevented, Kaptein
(2009) analyzed multiple cases of unethical behavior:
Eight virtues were distinguished and empirically validated: (1) clarity, defined as the
extent to which ethical expectations, such as values, norms, and rules, are concrete,
comprehensive, and understandable to managers and employees; (2) congruency of
management, defined as the extent to which the board and middle management behave in
accordance with ethical expectations; (3) congruency of supervisors, defined as the extent
to which local management behave in accordance with ethical expectations; (4)
feasibility, defined as the extent to which the organization makes sufficient time, budgets,
equipment, information, and authority available to enable management and employees to
fulfill their responsibilities; (5) supportability, defined as the extent to which the
organization stimulates identification with, involvement in and commitment to ethical
expectations among management and employees; (6) transparency, defined as the extent
to which ethical and unethical behavior and its consequences are visible to those
managers and employees who can act upon it; (7) discussability, defined as the extent to
which ethical issues, such as ethical dilemmas and Muel Kaptein alleged unethical
behavior, can be discussed internally by managers and employees; and (8)
sanctionability, defined as the extent to which managers and employees believe that
unethical behavior will be punished and ethical behavior will be rewarded, as well as the
extent to which the organization learns from unethical behavior.
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 52
Measuring the perceptions of managers and employees on the existence of these virtues
in their organization revealed the ethical culture of an organization. This approach showed that
the stronger the presence of these virtues, the more ethical the organization.
The ethics of an organization are derived from measuring the effects of the behavior of an
organization, its managers, and its employees. The stakeholder model, originally developed by
Freeman (1984) and further developed by Donaldson and Preston (1995), Jones and Wick
(1999), and Mitchell et al. (1997), is useful for framing the dimensions of an organization’s
In the post-Enron, post-WorldCom, post-Tyco era, ethics has become one of the hottest
topics in the business world. Business schools have entire courses dedicated to the topic.
Companies have instituted more rigorous ethics policies and set up global ethics offices. One of
the fastest-growing employment categories is chief ethics officer, as evidenced by the creation of
that post at the New York Stock Exchange, Nortel Networks, Marsh & McLennan, and HewlettPackard.
Frequently cited and widely advocated components of an ethics program also included in
this study are (a) a code of ethics; (b) an ethics officer or ethics office, also called a compliance
office (r), ombudsperson, or ethics committee; (c) ethics training and other types of information
and communications; (d) a dedicated telephone system, usually called an ethics hotline or ethics
helpline; (e) policies to hold management and employees accountable for unethical behavior; (f)
policies for investigating allegations of unethical behavior; (g) policies that create incentives and
rewards for ethical behavior; (h) internal monitoring systems and ethics audits; and (i) preemployment
screening of applicant ethics (cf., Kaptein, 2009; Trevino & Weaver, 2003).
The ethical quality of an organization is directly related to the depth and successful
implementation of its ethics program. For example, according to the Federal Sentencing
Guidelines for Organizations, the adoption of an effective ethics program demonstrates that an
organization is “committed” and “capable” of preventing, detecting, and responding to unethical
behavior. The guidelines also assert that organizations whose ethics programs are more effective
receive a lower penalty in the event of a legal violation than those with less effective programs.
Previous research found that values vary according to occupational category, with
executives placing the highest value on self-respect, family security, freedom, a sense of
accomplishment, and happiness (Frederick & Weber, 1990). The relationship between leadership
and values has long been studied in the management literature. In 1957 book Leadership in
Administration, Selznik argued that the real task of leadership is to create a social structure of
shared values. (Selznik, 1984)
As the twenty-first century continues, companies face a variety of changes and challenges
that will have a profound effect on organizational dynamics and performance. In many ways,
these changes are expected to determine who will—and who will not—survive and prosper in
Schein (1985) noted that top managers have attempted to communicate their
organizational values to employees to shape behavior and lead the firm. The ethical orientation
of the manager, in terms of traits and behaviors, is a key factor in promoting ethical behavior in
an organization (Carlson & Perrewe, 1995; Posner & Schmidt, 1992) and in creating an ethical
organizational culture (Trevino, 1986, 1990). An ethically oriented organization is one that has
the capacity to reflect on values in the decision-making process and establishes how managers
use these observations to manage the organization (Carroll, 1987). The CEO is often viewed as
the individual primarily responsible for the creation of an organization’s ethical orientation
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 53
(Hanson & Valasquez, 1988). The model by Agle (1996) emphasizes the relationship between
leadership and organizational ethics with CEO attributes as antecedents to CEO behavior,
organizational strategy and structure, and organizational policies and procedures.
Thus, the leadership style of the CEO communicates and exhibits the values that lead to
an ethical orientation in the organization. Burns (1978) proposed that the leadership process
occurs as either transactional or transformational. Transactional leadership is based on
bureaucratic authority and legitimate power in the organization. Transactional leaders emphasize
task assignments, work standards, and employee compliance. These leaders rely on rewards and
punishment to influence employee performance. In contrast, transformational leadership is a
process that motivates followers by appealing to higher ideals and moral values.
Transformational leaders define and articulate a vision for the organization and then inspire
followers to carry it out.
To achieve the organizational capability to effectively address ethical issues, leaders must
become sensitive to their moral obligations to stockholders and to other stakeholders, including
consumers, employees, suppliers, governments, and local communities. They need to develop a
culture of work ethics that is morally defensible and empowers employees to adopt such ethics in
their day-to-day work behavior (Kanungo & Mendonca, 1996). On a more personal level, a
leader’s intelligence, hard work, technical competence, and knowledge might fail to achieve
organizational objectives if the leader is “perceived as arrogant, vindictive, untrustworthy,
selfish, emotional, compulsive, over-controlling, insensitive, abrasive…” (Hogan et. al. 1994, p.
499). To avoid such failures, a leader must develop as a moral person with an ethical and
However, too often, we overlook other forces in the organization that interfere with good
character and bring out the worst in those with weak or questionable character.
More often than not, particularly in a large-scale ethical breakdown, the organization and
its leadership failed to prevent ethical meltdowns using ethically sound, strong leadership to
establish an ethical climate that minimizes harmful forces and strengthens factors that support
Cases such as Enron and other recent corporate failures, including Abu Ghraib, the My
Lai massacre, the LAPD, and other dramatic examples, illustrate the role of leaders in promoting
(un)ethical behavior or, worse, sometimes contributing directly to the ethical failure of others.
Ethical leadership is required to bring out the best in employees. Without ethical leadership, even
employees who know what is right might do things that are clearly wrong.
Ethics is not a methodology or a strategy that one can apply without a grounding in basic
theory, principles, and concepts (Foy, 2002). The concept of ethics needs to be explained and
practical and experiential exercises need to be included to help people look at moral and ethical
issues and discuss their reaction to them in a non-threatening manner. Velasquez analyzed ethical
decision making and suggested five questions that should be considered when attempting to
resolve a moral issue.
1. What benefits and what harm will each course of action produce, and which alternative will
lead to the best overall consequences
2. What moral rights do the affected parties have, and which course of action best respects those
3. Which course of action treats everyone the same—except when a morally justifiable reason
exists not to—and does not show favoritism or discrimination
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 54
4. Which course of action advances the common good
5. Which course of action develops moral virtues
However, before any teaching begins, we need to look at our individual role as
leader/trainer and the actions of our clients. All parties need to agree to ethical contracts and
adhere to them; after all, everyone is a role model for ethical behavior. Again, everyone needs to
be transparent in all actions and be held accountable for them. Clients also need to be aware of
the consequences of their own actions.
In summation, businesses need to develop the type of environment that promotes ethical
development, which can only be done from the top down. Reduced turnover and improved
employee morale and satisfaction are just a few bonuses of being a business of which its
employees are proud. The feeling that one gets from doing what is right was simply put by
Abraham Lincoln, “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my
In progressive global companies on almost all continents, leaders now seek to create and
maintain responsible, healthy, and ethical corporate cultures. However, that task is far from easy.
Research showed that truly transforming company culture is extremely difficult. In fact, in very
few cases have attempts succeeded to change a large, established company’s strategy, structure,
systems, and behaviors. A large part of the problem is that, traditionally, leaders in large
companies have used centralized power and control to change their large, bureaucratic, and
hierarchical organizations. However, that form of organization and type of leadership are no
longer the norms in the organizational world, primarily because of the recent confluence of
factors such as changing social and workplace values, globalization, information technology, and
advancing managerial knowledge. Today, many large, global companies are becoming dynamic,
organic, decentralized organizations in which leaders use shared values, missions, and purposes
to gain alignment with corporate goals on the one hand and commitment to innovation and
processes of adaptive change on the other hand (all of this occurs in the context of a stakeholder
In essence, the values of business leaders are the primary drivers of an organization’s
culture. That ethos—manifested in organizational purpose, structure, design, and rewards—
influences behavior as measured by the extent to which employees are motivated, identify with
the company’s mission and goals, and are committed to innovate and serve customer needs. In
addition, their behavior yields results, whether measured financially in terms of profits or
socially in terms of responsible and ethical global citizenship. Thus, it all begins with leadership
and, in particular, with the values of leaders. Their values—what they hold dear and how they
wish their contributions to society to be measured—ultimately determine the behavior and results
of their organizations. The more faithfully leaders create values-based cultures that develop a
strong sense of community through employee involvement, the less need exists to exercise
central control, and the more likely companies respond appropriately and continuously to the
changing needs of all of their global stakeholders (O’Toole, 2009).
Leadership plays an important role in creating an organizational reality around values and
ethics. In this respect, leadership truly starts at the top and includes the CEO, board, and/or
owners. Leaders’ internalization and demonstration of values through how they operate have a
powerful influence on others. In a 2005 study conducted by the Aspen Institute and Booz Allen
Hamilton, 85% of respondents stated that their companies rely on explicit CEO support to
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 55
reinforce values and 77% stated that such support was one of the most effective practices for
reinforcing a company’s ability to act on its values.
Leaders living the organizational values add to their credibility and reinforce the
importance and relevance of the organization’s values to employees. Conversely, when
leadership takes a casual approach or demonstrates behavior that conflicts with codes of conduct,
employees receive a negative message and may themselves take a casual approach or disengage
mentally and productively from the organization.
Leaders are responsible for setting the standards, articulating them, holding others
accountable, and keeping their personal actions above reproach. Research argues that
“[t]ransparency is your friend. If you can’t feel comfortable shining the light on what you’re
doing, it doesn’t need to be done.” (Parker, 2008)
Remember, employees look to management for direction. Management must be
conscious of the signals it sends to its employees. Creating an ethical tone at the top will reduce
the losses caused by fraud and improve loyalty and morale. Preventing fraud is good business,
and doing so starts at the top.
This study utilized a self-administered survey entitled “Leadership Effects on Business
Ethics Survey” which consisted of 19 questions. The adopted survey was developed by the
authors of this text…… The survey is presented in Appendix 1.
Sample and Data Collection
The sample population comprised adult working online students at a major public
university without consideration of sector, from which we randomly selected a sample size of 30
students. Data collection was implemented by the surveyed students’ responses to the 19
questions which were distributed to each of the 30 students. Twenty-one (21) surveys, or 70%,
were returned as complete.
The questionnaire was distributed to respondents after endorsement and pre-testing. To
establish a foundation for understanding the survey topic, the formal study began with the
question, “Are you familiar with, or do you understand what is ethically right or wrong in a work
environment ” Thus, the survey questions focused on participants’ perceptions and employer
leadership as they pertain to ethical responsibility.
Measurements of Variables
The concept of “leadership” was measured by individual behavior and paradigms and
work cultures. The concept of “business ethics” was measured by intrinsic and extrinsic values
and motivations. In combination or individually, responses to certain questions were used as
stimulus (leadership motivator) and contrast to participant response (ethical behavior).
Questions, 2, 12, 13 individually focused on individual leadership awareness by assessing
respondents’ personal opinion and paradigm of ethical values and observable variables of
behavior modification examples. Questions 10 through 13 examined respondents’ behavior in
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 56
response to stimuli which focus on actual contributors to motivation to promote desired ethical
behavior. The authors’ belief that knowledge in conjunction with understanding can be good
measureable for success or failure of leadership effort, Questions 6, 7, 8, and 9 were used to gage
respondent’s comprehension of ethical behavior and/or misconduct and their ramifications, while
questions 10, 11, and 13 evaluated respondents’ paradigm of extrinsic contributions within the
company environment. As obvious, some questions were designed to serve dual purpose, as
example of leadership and extrinsic motivators of behavior,
The descriptive research on the effects of leadership on business ethics examined the
perceptions and personal values of the respondent. Understanding ethics and its leadership effect
on rank-and-file employee success can play a role in a company’s overall and strategic success.
Thus, the survey questions focused on participants’ perceptions and employee leadership as they
pertain to ethical responsibility.
THE RESULTS OF THIS STUDY
The respondents were 43% males and 57% females, and 17% were in the 18–27 age
group (GenX), 67% were in the 28–43 age group (GenY), 17% were in the 44–61 age group
(baby boomers), and 0% had missing age identification (the Silent Gen, persons over age 61, had
no participants in the sample). Ninety-five percent worked full-time and 5% were parttime/temporary
contractors. The level of respondents’ experience was measured in five-year
increments, with 48% with 0–5 years of experience, 19% with 6–10 years of experience, 19%
with 11–15 years of experience, and 14% with 16 years or more of experience.
The information obtained for this study presented the researcher with several factors to
consider when developing the research hypothesis because individuals are influenced by
supervisors, colleagues, family, and friends who shape our being and the people we become.
However, at various times, the ethical behavior may be questioned. As adults working in an
organization, the authors of this study often realize that the people in charge guide us in our
behavior. Based on this information, greater emphasis is placed on managers of organizations.
In alignment with the title of this study, the authors wanted to examine the effects of
“leadership” (as perceived by the respondents) on “ethical behavior” (as also perceived by same
H0: Perception of leadership’s ethical values will not impact ethical behavior.
H1: Perception of leadership’s ethical values will impact ethical behavior.
The above hypothesis was tested by regressing the dependent variable (ethical behavior) on the
independent variable ( leadership ethical values). The dependent variable was obtained from
question 6 of the questionnaire in the Appendix and the independent variable from question 11.
From the analysis in Table 1, the regression equation is given by
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 57
Behavior (Values Overlooked) = 0.218 + 0.687 Leaders ethical Values (1)
Regression Analysis Outcomes of Ethical Behavior Against perceived leadership Ethical Values
Predictor Coef SE Coef T P
Constant 0.2182 0.4260 0.51 0.612
Leader ethical Values 0.6870 0.1191 5.77 0.000
S = 1.33586 R2
= 54.3% Adjusted R2 = 52.7%
Analysis of Variance
Source DF SS MS F P
Regression 1 59.400 59.400 33.29 0.000
Residual Error 28 49.967 1.785
Total 29 109.367
As is seen from Table 1, the significance level (or p-value) for the test is less than 0.05, so we
can accept the alternate hypothesis (H1) and conclude that there is linear relationship between
Leadership ethical values and ethical behavior. However, only 54.3% (R-Sq) of the variability in the
dependent variable is explained by the model.
In order to test the normality assumption for regression, a probability plot was performed on
the residuals. The probability plot is linear which indicates that the residuals are normally distributed.
Normal Probability Plot of the Residuals from Regression
-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Probability Plot of RESI1
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 58
By ranking based on the perception of the likeliest or most often the strongest abusers of
ethical policy on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, 55% of respondents said that
executive-level individuals are the strongest violators of ethical policies (Figure 2)
Ranking by Level
• Of the 55% who identified executive-level violators, 73% were female and 27% were male.
When asked about experience (question 4 in Appendix), both their own and of others
whom they know, 61.9% of respondents rated violations of company policy as the most
commonly experienced. “Harassment of any kind” and “making false promises” tied for second
at 38% (Figure 3).
Ranking by Experience
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 59
Because the utilized sample in this study is a convenience sample which will affect its
external validity. In other words, the results of this study cannot be generalized to other
companies or other cultures.
At the end of the day, the authors believe that ethical practices within businesses are an
essential part of a company’s survival and that the leadership team should bear responsibility for
ethical adherence. And, as this research demonstrates, subordinates are both observant and
critical of the behavior of organizational leaders. Despite the introduction of other variables,
which should also be considered, the author’s believe that leadership bears the primary
responsibility for developing and shaping an ethical culture, particularly in the work
environment. However, and most importantly, the authors do not believe that leadership
commitment to good ethical practices should detract from, or forfeit, each person’s individual
responsibility to conduct him or herself in an ethical manner.
With this in mind, the authors tested the hypotheses on the premise of respondents’
perception that ethical misconduct is “never” OK. Using dependent variables that signified the
perception of leadership values and behavior as well as physically presented guidelines, the
researchers found that leadership has an influence but does not stand alone. Comparative
statistics show that the alternative hypothesis (Ha) could be accepted. However, this result has no
bearing on the individual respondent’s personal character or other contributing factors. As
secondary data suggest, variables, such as economic instabilities, cultural norms, and other
external and internal factors, must be taken into account because they also affect decisions on
Finally, the authors suggest that ethical behavior in the workplace is not one-dimensional.
Although the presented research is informative and supports the hypothesis, it is also
inconclusive and suggests that more in-depth research must be pursued.
Andre, C., Meyer, M. J., Shanks, T. S. J., &Velasquez, M. (1996). Thinking ethically: A
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About the Authors:
Charles Chekwa is a Professor at Troy University’s Sorrel College of Business. Dr.. Chekwa is a graduate of
Mississippi State University.His degrees include BS in Accounting,MBA andDBA respectively..…..
Eugene Thomas Dillard University holds a position in the Information Technology Department, with a major utility
in Florida. Mr. Thomas holds Master’s degree in Management from Troy University….
Mmuta Chukwuanu is a Professor of Marketing at Allen University. Dr. Chukwuanu holds… a Phd in Marketing
from the University of Nigeria.
Latoya Ouhirra Currently Works for the State of Florida. She holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Troy
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 63
Effects of Leadership Ethical Values on Business Ethics Survey
This survey is being conducted by a college graduate school student for the purpose of
gathering foundational data. The sample will include a convenience sample of colleagues,
constituencies and friends in an effort to document leadership’s impact on personal values and
ethics in the business. Thank you for your participation.
The first section of questions seeks to gather information about your personal values and
experiences. Please circle your answers
1. Are you familiar, or do you understand what is ethically right or wrong in a work environment
a) Yes b) No
2. In your opinion, do you consider yourself an honest person who always value treatment and
equality within your workplace
a) Yes b) No
3. Have you ever taken credit for someone else’s work
a) Yes b) No
4. Have you, or anyone you know experienced any of the below in the workplace (You may choose
more than one)
a) Falsifying records d) Intestinally lying to customers
b) Harassment of any kind e) Violation of company rules and/or policy
c) Making false promises for work
5. Have you ever violated rules (to any degree) for the sake of promotion or other opportunity
a) Yes b) No
IF “Yes”, how: _____________________________________________________________
6. Do you feel that ethical miss-conduct can be overlooked if it will result in positive outcome
a) Always b) Sometimes c) Rarely d) Unsure e) Never
7. Have you ever, at any time within current or past employment, been the victim or beneficiary of
a) Yes b) No
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 64
If “Yes”, How ____________________________________________________________
8. Rank each of the items listed below in order for who you feel are the strongest violator ethical
policy (1 being the worst violator):
_____ Middle Managers _____ Regular workers (hourly non-process owners)
_____ Contract workers _____ Knowledge workers (Experts, Educators, Technical)
_____ Commissioned workers _____ Executive Level Managers
9. List any laws or punishments, within or outside your company, that address of employee rights
This section of questions relate to your experience and/or observation relative to the company
which you work. Please circle your answers.
10. How does your company promote values or ethics within its culture (You may choose more than 1)
b) Well placed literature
d) Other: List:__________________________________________________________
11. With 5 being the highest, rate your perception for leadership’s ethical value system (setting the
example) within the company you are currently employed:
1 2 3 4 5
12. Does your company/employer use the term “Value-based” leadership in office-wide
a) Always b) Sometimes c) Never d) Unsure
13. Does your company have a posted “Code of conduct” or “Code of Ethics”
a) One b) Both c) Neither
14. What best describes the industry or work environment in which you are employed
f. Government (any level)
g. Other (list): _____________________________
International Journal of Business and Public Administration, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2014 65
This section is about demographic information for grouping purposes. Please circle your answer.
15. What is your gender
16. How many years have you been
employed in your current company/industry
a. 0 – 5
b. 6 – 10
c. 11 – 15
d. 16 or more
17. Employment status:
a. Full Time Permanent
18. What is your position type
d. Skilled labor
19. What is your age range
a. 18-27 (Gen Y)
b. 28-43 (Gen X)
c. 44-61 (Baby Boomer)
d. 62 or older (Silent Gen
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International Academy of Business & Public Administration Disciplines (IABPAD), LLC and
its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the
copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email
articles for individual use.
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