Effect of Ethics and Gender on Leadership

Participative Leadership
7 mn read

Can unethical behavior occur for a leader who has proper values and intentions?

The notion of good leadership and its effects on employees and the whole organization has long been accepted globally. Leaders have the audacity to regulate organizational development and thus eventually enhance the outcomes of their employees. The impetus practiced by an organizational leader depicts their ethics and values; this is the reason why employees head towards their leaders whenever faced with any ethical or technical difficulty. This shows how important it is for a leader to show a good work ethic and an enthusiastic mindset. Studies have shown that a leader’s good work ethic can have a positive imprint on their employees, ultimately leading to better and improved outcomes.

Ethics are the basis for good administration in all types of organizations. A leader who practices proper work, intentions, and values can never promulgate unethical and immoral behavior. According to recent research conducted by (Rahaman et al., 2019), a leader’s approbatory stance toward good ethical behavior lays down the ground for his ethical ambitions and leadership. Leaders having good intentions and ethical behavior always consider the betterment of their organization in terms of both short and long term. They have the cognitive aptitude and the level of emotional intelligence to differentiate between the wrong and the right way to successfully escalate their company’s success rate. Their positive attitude and values are therefore implicated in their work, actions and their goals. This has an optimistic effect on their employees as they learn and motivate themselves to work hard and achieve their goals.

According to Treviño and colleagues, an ethical leader is described in the context of two realms: a good person and a good manager. This means that if a person is morally correct then he would serve as a morally correct manager as well. A person with good morals is candid and reliable. He understands the situation of others and has a higher level of emotional intelligence in every phase of life. The same person, which is a moral manager, would use his values and customs to bring about an ethical administration at the workplace. Ethical managers set an example of good customs by practicing themselves and making sure of their implementation at the workplace by exercising the award and punishment approach (Brown & Mitchell, 2010). In summary, an ethically accurate manager has to be ethically befitting in order to promote a healthy and decent work environment.

In contrast, a leader or an employee can practice unethical behavior while having good intentions and values. This concept was replicated recently when the term “unethical pro-organizational behavior (UPB)” was coined. This is distinguished as any form of unethical work that is performed by the employees in order to benefit their organization but breaching the laws and ethical conduct of the community at the same time. This type of behavior can be detected at any level of the company. Their intentions of achieving bigger goals and directing the company toward the road of success can sometimes lead them to do unethical or unlawful acts. Such acts come under the headings of either commission or omission. Confounding the validity dates in order to remarket expired items, corrupting consumers to pitch upon competitors, and twiddling with the financial figures to escalate the company’s value in the stock market are all unethical ways, but leaders commit them to enhance the reputation of the company (Zhang et al., 2018).

The GLOBE project

The GLOBE project is an acronym for “Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness”. The concept of this plan was laid down in 1993 by “Robert J House” to analyze the norms, customs, and values of different organizations worldwide. Moreover, it also focuses on evaluating the beliefs of organizational leaders and their effect on the institutional success report. It focuses on the study of cross-cultural leadership that spreads in more than sixty countries’ cultures worldwide (The GLOBE Project, n.d.). This research project has been very beneficial for all business setups as it provides the important leadership traits that help in the success of any organization. This project has created nine cultural and six leadership dimensions in order to evaluate differences in organizational and societal cultures. This knowledge of difference helps leaders to differentiate between their norms and that of other organizations leading to a significant ramification on the administrative department.

As time passes, the world is transforming into a global village. The import and export of goods and other services has become twice in the last ten years, while it has been estimated that the transactions between countries will increase the total transaction within the countries (Javidan & Dastmalchian, 2009). With more and more countries collaborating with each other culturally and business-wise, it is imperative to understand the norms and values of all those cultures to promote smooth business strategies. In the same way, it has become important for all leaders to better understand cultural differences in order to understand their employees, customers, and the international market. When organizations decide to go global, they should train their managers and leaders to deeply study the cultural values, norms, and beliefs of the society of that country, as depicted by the GLOBE project.

GLOBE project is essential for worldwide leaders so that they can effectually acquaint themselves with all domains of universal congruous businesses. Because when dealing with international businesses, managers need to acquire the circumstances of the place they are dealing with. For example, Walmart is a very successful store business in America with huge freestanding stores surrounded by vast parking lots. But when they expanded their business in Mexico, people found it difficult to walk to the store as the majority of their population traveled by bus. Later on, they added shuttle buses for their customers to help them reach the store (Dimensions of Cultural Difference and Their Effect | Principles of Management, n.d.). As the GLOBE project aids cross-cultural business, it not only helps managers to realize the difficulties their employees face but also the adversities faced by their customers. This abets the globalization of the firm and motivates the culturally diverse staff that their difficulties are being heard and thus, they work hard for the expansion of their organization.

Case Study: Madison, Jones, and Conklin

Gender discrimination at the workplace has always been a debated topic. Females have always been treated as unequal competitors to males in a workplace where they clearly showed traits of higher abilities. This inequality not only affects the productive outcomes of the organization itself but also lowers the morale of the employee who is being discriminated against. Stereotypes play a huge role when it comes to gender discrimination in the workplace. For example, a cliché regarding sales marketing is that women are less able and less competitive in this field as compared to men. As a result, fewer women are hired in this scope of expertise, and if they are hired, they are not given the promotion and appreciation that they deserve for their credibility (Heilman & Caleo, 2018).

There are many types of gender discrimination that could be experienced in a workplace, and the victim could be anyone, irrespective of them being a male or a female. Some of the forms of gender discrimination include direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimization (Sex Discrimination | Equality and Human Rights Commission, n.d.). In context to the particular scenario of Jones, Madison, and Conklin organization presented, the form of discrimination faced by Laura was “direct discrimination”. This type of discrimination occurs when a person is treated in an unfair manner as opposed to an employee of the opposite gender who is in the same position. As the organization was male-dominated and fairly informal, Laura was unable to incorporate herself into the workplace environment. Moreover, all the challenging projects were deliberately given to male employees despite her being more qualified and credible. This not only lowered her morale but harmed her portfolio as well.

Firstly, Laura should have read the company’s policies before joining as it should have mentioned protecting every employee from any type of discrimination. Now that she was a victim and even after talking to the company’s president, she could not resolve her issue; she should have issued a complaint on different helplines and commissions that would have assisted her regarding her rights in the particular case. Her boss, on the other hand, should have evaluated the unconscious or conscious biasness among the employees and mediated the situation right then and there by realizing the form of discrimination faced by Laura and redistributing the projects irrespective of the employee’s gender. The boss should have been forethoughtful and unbiased and used objective criteria while evaluating the company’s employees. One most important things that a boss should realize is that every employee should have a mentor in the company who helps them and gives them pieces of advice during any difficulty (Verniers & Vala, 2018).

Using the Internet, survey current research comparing male and female leaders, and summarize the major trends.

It has always been taboo in our society that females can never be a good leader and that they lack good leadership abilities. This is why when it came to running a company or a country, a male leader has always been preferred. However, the time is changing, and that too very rapidly. Females are now being recognized as competitive leaders no matter what the institution is. Whether it is running a country like Benazir Bhutto (former Prime Minister of Pakistan) and Jacinda Ardern (the current Prime Minster of New Zealand) or being Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. Women have started to own businesses, schools, universities, fashion brands, property dealing, and so much more. Female leadership has been an intriguing source of pondering for many researchers, especially the contrast between male and female ways of leadership. Many studies have been conducted to compare and contrast male and female leadership; the way they think, act, and implement their values and beliefs while leading an organization.

As a result of different personality traits, cognitive abilities, and ways of thinking, there are a few differences that make female and male leaders to stand out from each other. Female leaders display “higher levels of effort, performance, and advancement across organizations” (Jenni, 2017). They possess skills that are required to manage an organization on a higher level. Women depict a more democratic style while administrating in an organization and have strong interpersonal relationships and objective achievements as compared to men (Gardiner & Tiggemann, 1999). Females tend to demonstrate a conjoint, vicarious, and a way of leadership style that is more contributing, whereas, on the other hand, males are more like rivalrous and power-based managerial style (Robinson & Lipman-Blumen, 2003). Males tend to depict an “aggressive and hierarchical” mode of leadership as opposed to more rewarding and relationship-building mode of female leaders (Sabharwal et al., 2017).

On the contrary, according to some studies, there are not many differences but similarities between the leadership style of males and females (Jenni, 2017). Similarly, there are no major dissimilarities between female and male managers’ transformational leadership styles as well as in their emotional intelligence (Mandell & Pherwani, 2003). This means that no matter the gender of the managers, how they lead and how they perceive the feelings of others is somehow the same. A study accomplished by (Silva & Mendis, 2017) suggests that females prefer a more transformational leadership style as compared to men because they are more objective in achieving their goals, whereas men are subjective when it comes to completion of a task and hence are more effective leaders as compared to Men (Sabharwal et al., 2017). Surprisingly, it has been noticed that female leaders working in a male-dominated workplace tend to alter their working style similar to men in fear of losing their job and positions (Gardiner & Tiggemann, 1999).

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