How Executive Leadership Shapes Ethical Culture and Conduct in an Organization
How Executive Leadership Shapes Ethical Culture and Conduct in an Organization

How Executive Leadership Shapes Ethical Culture and Conduct in an Organization

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  • Pages: 4 (1887 words)
  • Published: November 9, 2021
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An executive leader is an individual with the authority and responsibility to manage an organization as a whole so as to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. Ethical culture is an organizational system that supports ethical judgments and actions within the organization. Executive leadership is very essential in shaping the ethical culture in an organization from both formal and informal stand points. Formally, the executive level leaders will provide the necessary resources required in the implementation of the programs and structures that support ethics. Informally, executive leaders shape the ethical culture and conduct of an organization through their behaviors. This is because leaders are considered to be role models and their actions therefore, speak louder than their own words. Therefore, it is the executive level management that will shape the ethical culture and conduct in an organization.

Executive level leaders are key people in organizational decision making. They are charged with the responsibilities of formulation and implementation of the corporate strategy. Their beliefs and values always play a big and crucial role in the promotion of the image of the organization through corporate social responsibilities (Wu et.al, 2015). The corporate social responsibilities of a firm always reflect the extent to which an executive level leader is involved in the promotion of ethics in the organization. The executives therefore, need to adopt corporate social responsibilities practices as their action always shape the general ethical culture in the organization.

Organization culture is always a reflection of the top leadership. Establishment of the organization culture and conduct is always the responsibility of

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the executive level leaders. For leaders to instill an ethical culture in an organization, they themselves need to set ethical examples. According to the social learning theory, people learn behaviors by observation, attention to and the imitation of their role models. The executives always have the highest status and power in an organization. Therefore, they become the role models to all the other members of the organization. If the executives show, accountability, honesty, consideration of others, fair treatment and proper behavior and manner, they become credible and attractive in the organization (Wu et. al, 2015).

By rewarding of the employees’ good behaviors and punishing unethical behaviors, an executive level leader is able to shape the ethical culture and conduct in an organization (Randal, 2012). The executive level leaders helps the organization to maintain the desired ethical culture by assisting in attracting and retaining the members that share the desired and similar ethical values of the firm. The executive level leader’s ethical leadership will therefore facilitate the congruence of ethical values among the members in an organization thereby shaping the organizational culture and conduct (Wu et. al, 2015).

The executive level leaders models the kind of behavior needed in an organization and leads in a caring, just and principled manner. Ethical leadership includes paying attention, measuring and consequently controlling the other members’ behavior so as to avoid unethical behavior but instead exhibit ethical behavior. How the leaders will approach handling the critical incidences promotion, resource allocation and firing of workers will also shape the way people employees behave in an organization (Fehr et. al,

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2015). How the executive responds to a member’s ethical behavior influence the other employees’ perceptions about the executive as a moral role model. If the manager fails to punish unethical behaviors, this undermines the ethical conduct and culture. This is because this is likely to undermine the manager’s authority. The other employees will feel that the ethical standards are unenforceable in the organization and therefore, not important at all. On the other hand, if the manager dismisses the employee due to unethical violations, it sends a message that ethical behavior is important and in return increase the ethical standards in an organization (Schaubroeck et al., 2012).

The challenge of using reward to instill certain ethics is that the employees may perceive the reward to have a limited value to them (Randal, 2012). If the employee does not perceive a reward to have any significant value to him or her, then the reward will have little success in promoting the desired values. Therefore the kind of reward that the leader uses will shape the kind of ethics the employees will have. Good knowledge on the results of each reward to employees will therefore help the leader shape the kind of ethical culture he or she deems to be the best the best for the organization.

If employees in an organization view their leaders as having exemplar and prominent ethical standards, they automatically become more receptive to ethical conduct (Schaubroeck et al., 2012). The followers are more likely to engage in ethical behaviors and less likely to engage in unethical behaviors. Therefore, by acting ethically, the executive is able to instill ethical behaviors among the employee. This indicates that there is a positive and indirect relationship between how the leaders behave and how all the other members in an organization behave. This further proves that, it is the executive level management that shapes the ethical culture and conduct of the organization.

Leaders are able to influence the followers in an organization if they are liked and admired by those employees. It is much easier if the employees feel that they identify with a given leader. The leaders need to make sure that their own ethics values are consistent with organizational culture. The leaders should engage in informally conversations with the organizational members, listen to their ethical dilemmas and try as much to address the members concerns. In the process the leader is able to persuade the followers to engage in ethical behaviors. The social learning theory proposes that individuals are able to learn from others through interactions (Fehr et. al, 2015). Therefore, through informal interaction with the members, the leader is able to transmit values, behaviors and attitudes to the employees thereby shaping the ethical culture and conduct of the organization.

Leaders have both personal and positional power. The leader can employ all these sources in enhancing ethics in an organization. But then, leaders who are more successful rely more on personal power rather than the positional power to shape the ethical culture and conduct in an organization (Fehr et. al, 2015). This is ethics deals more with the personal traits of an individual. The leader

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