HMLS 495 Week 6 – Ethical Leadership and Competing Stakeholders

Week 6 – Ethical Leadership and Competing Stakeholders

Table of Contents

  • Required Readings
  • Useful References and Further Reading
  • Figures and Tables
  • Learning Objectives
  • To Do This Week
  • Introduction
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Competing Masters or Stakeholders
  • References

Required Readings

Read via hyperlink:

  • Philosophy of Ethics

  • Reference Link 16.1 Ethical Role of Management

  • Reference Link 16.2 Ethical Dilemmas

  • US Government Office of Ethics

  • A Guide to Ethical Resources ethics/resources/

  • CMA Code of Ethics

Useful References and Further Reading

Optional Read via hyperlink:

  • What is Ethical Leadership?

  • Leadership Ethics

  • Ethics and the Leadership Process,AAAAPmb RRLk~,C5G7jhYNtie3c6Bhi4MvuCjtiNI0p2Fk&bctid=1431905806001

Figures and Tables

• Figure 6.1 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership

Learning Objectives

After completing this week’s assignments, you should be able to:

  • Discuss ethical leadership and define an ethical leadership framework
  • Identify ethical leadership self-check tests
  • List components of a code of ethics
  • Describe the concept of competing masters or stakeholders

To Do This Week

  • Complete weekly discussion activities
  • Assignment: Submit Research Paper


To a surprising number of people, including ethics teachers, the principal or sole subject matter of ethics is the treatment of moral problems, rather than the formation of habits of good character.

—E. J. Delattre, Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing

Ethical education and training are much more than mulling over a moral dilemma. Most people when asked to choose between right and wrong can identify the right thing to do. People tend to make the wrong choice when they strongly desire something or lack information.

Developing and practicing ethical decision making requires a commitment to doing the right thing for the right reason at the right time. Ethical people are truthful, industrious, prepared, well informed, honest, selfless, courageous, and the like. A leader’s ethical conduct is assessed via three frames of reference, those being what it actually is, what he believes it is, and what it appears to be to others (Ianonne and Iannone, 2020).

The study of ethics is not without controversy. Some argue that a professional code of ethics does not necessarily drive decision making, but rather circumstances do. An opposing argument is that a code of ethics does drive decision making and will enhance the professionalism in a discipline. John Ladd (1991, as found in Sundar Sethy, 2015) argues that professionals have no special rights or duties different from those of any other moral persons, therefore making professional codes of ethics unnecessary. Alternatively, the adoption of a code is significant for the professionalization of an occupational group, because it is one of the external hallmarks testifying to the claim that the group recognizes an obligation to society that transcends mere economic self-interest (Sundar Sethy, 2015).  

A code of ethics has a number of functions:

First, it can serve as a collective recognition by members of a profession of its responsibilities. Second, it can help create an environment in which ethical behavior is the norm. Third, it can serve as a guide or reminder in specific situations. Fourth, the process of developing and modifying a code of ethics can be valuable for a profession. Fifth, a code can serve as an educational tool, providing a focal point for discussion in classes and professional meetings. Finally, a code can indicate to others that the profession is seriously concerned with responsible, professional conduct (Duggan, 2020).

Leadership offers many challenges, but balancing decision making with ethics can be the greatest challenge. A true leadership position conveys upon the leader a moral obligation to strictly adhere to the highest standards of honor and integrity the leader expects of his subordinates. Conversely, his superiors have the right to expect the same of him/her (Iannone and Iannone, 2020).

This week’s lecture notes are designed to challenge you to critically reflect on ethical leadership and to provide ethical tenets to consider. Learning the material this week will not make you an ethical leader. Ethical leadership must come from your commitment to demonstrating ethical behavior.

Ethical Leadership

“…Ethical leadership is knowing your core values and having the courage to live them in all parts of your life in service of the common good” (Center for Ethical Leadership, 2021). Leaders who fail to display ethical leadership have difficulty staying in leadership positions. In previous modules, many leadership traits were identified.
Ethical behavior is the backbone of these traits. There are many examples of leaders who failed their followers by allowing the “big three”—greed, sexual desire, and lust for power—to override their conscience. However, one must note that a violation of ethics may or may not disqualify a leader from leading. Many factors come into play when an ethical violation occurs.

Godfrey et al (2018) identified 25 federal and state political candidates whose careers were derailed by allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct during the 2018 election cycle. Most, if not all, of the persons identified have been accused of serious ethical lapses. Some have withstood the resulting scandal and remain political active while many have elected to end their political careers.

So how does a potential leader commit to ethical leadership? We will present two ethical models. We hope they will encourage you to reflect on ethical leadership and provide a knowledge base to assist you in developing a personal ethical model to adhere to. There are other ethical models as well, and your instructor may set up a conference for you to discuss them in more detail…

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