Great leaders are ethical stewards who generate high levels of commitment from followers. In this paper, we propose that perceptions about the trustworthiness of leader behaviors enable those leaders to be perceived as ethical stewards. We define ethical stewardship as the honoring of duties owed to employees, stakeholders, and society in the pursuit of long-term wealth creation. Our model of relationship between leadership behaviors, perceptions of trustworthiness, and the nature of ethical stewardship reinforces the importance of ethical governance in dealing (...) with employees and in creating organizational systems that are congruent with espoused organizational values. (shrink)
. American businesses and corporate executives are faced with a serious problem the loss of public confidence. Public criticism, increased government controls, and growing expectations for improved financial performance and accountability have accompanied this decline in trust. Traditional approaches to corporate governance, typified by agency theory and stakeholder theory, have been expensive to direct and have focused on short-term profits and organizational systems that fail to achieve desired results. We explain why the organizational governance theories are fundamentally, inadequate to build (...) trust. We advance a conceptual framework based on stewardship theory characterized by “covenantal relationships” and argue that design of governance mechanisms using a covenantal approach is more effective in building trust in organizations. A covenantal relationship is a specialized form of a relational contract between an employee and his or her organization. We argue that regardless of incentives and control mechanisms carefully designed through contractual mechanisms, in the absence of covenantal relationships it is extremely difficult to build trust within organizations. We propose that organizations are more likely to build trust – both at the organizational level and at the interpersonal level – when they create reinforcing and integrated systems that honor implied duties of “covenantal relationships.”. (shrink)
Unethical conduct has reached crisis proportions in business :A1–A10, 2011) and on today’s college campuses :58–65, 2007). Despite the evidence that suggests that more than half of business students admit to dishonest practices, only about 5 % of business school deans surveyed believe that dishonesty is a problem at their schools :299–308, 2010). In addition, the AACSB which establishes standards for accredited business schools has resisted the urging of deans and business experts to require business schools to teach an ethics (...) class, and fewer than one-third of businesses schools now teach a business ethics course at the graduate or undergraduate levels. In this paper we briefly introduce the status of business ethics education and report the results of a survey of business students, deans of the top business schools, and business ethics subject matter experts about ten ethical outcomes. We then offer five specific recommendations to encourage business ethics faculty and decision makers to improve the teaching of business ethics. (shrink)
Although trust has been widely recognized as a vital component ofrelationships and a critical element to the success of organizations,the literature describing trust and trustworthiness is known for itsvarying perspectives and its inconsistencies. Trustworthiness has beenidentified as a condition precedent to the development of trust.Building upon the established constructs of interpersonaltrustworthiness, we propose a related model containing the sevenconstructs of Competence, Legal Compliance, Responsibility to Inform,Quality Assurance, Procedural Fairness, Interactional Cour-tesy, andFinancial Balance. Citing evidence from trust-related literature, weidentify the utility (...) of these seven constructs in encompassingorganizational trustworthiness as a subjectively perceived aspect oforganizational effectiveness. We analyzed questionnaire data andconducted comparative world-region analyses. (shrink)
Theories of leadership have traditionally focused on leadership traits, styles, and situational factors that influence leader behaviors. We propose that The Four Umpires Model described herein, which examines how four leadership types view reality and perception, provides a useful example of an effective steward leader. We use the Five Beliefs Model identified by Edgar Schein and Peter Senge to frame the implicit assumptions underlying the core beliefs and mental models of each of the four umpires. We suggest that the stewardship (...) model of Umpire Number Four, the Facilitating Idealist, is the best model for leadership of the four umpires described. In our review of the Four Umpires Model we also explain why it is importance for every leader to thoughtfully assess the assumptions that form the ethical basis for leadership decisions and actions. (shrink)
In a world that has become increasingly dependent upon employee ownership, commitment, and initiative, organizations need leaders who can inspire their␣employees and motivate them individually. Love, forgiveness, and trust are critical values of today’s organization leaders who are committed to maximizing value for organizations while helping organization members to become their best. We explain the importance of love, forgiveness, and trust in the modern organization and identify 10 commonalities of these virtues.
Leaders in today's world face the challenge of earning the trust and commitment of organizational members if they expect to guide their companies to success in a highly competitive global context. In this article, we present empirical results indicating that when leadership behaviors are perceived as trustworthy through the observer's mediating lens, trust increases and leaders are more likely to be viewed as ethical stewards who honor a higher level of duties. This article contributes to the growing body of literature (...) about the importance of ethical stewardship in the trust relationship. (shrink)
Although the foundation of financial accounting and auditing has traditionally been based upon a rule-based framework, the concept of a principle-based approach has been periodically advocated since being incorporated into the AICPA Code of Conduct in 1989. Recent high profile events indicate that the accountants and auditors involved have followed rule-based ethical perspectives and have failed to protect investors and stakeholders – resulting in a wave of scandals and charges of unethical conduct. In this paper we describe how the rule-based (...) traditions of auditing became a convenient vehicle that perpetuated the unethical conduct of firms such as Enron and Arthur Andersen. We present a model of ten ethical perspectives and briefly describe how these ten ethical perspectives impact rule-based and principle-based ethical conduct for accountants and auditors. We conclude by identifying six specific suggestions that the accounting and auditing profession should consider to restore public trust and to improve the ethical conduct of accountants and auditors. (shrink)
Although trustworthiness has been described as a source of competitive advantage, its value extends to organizational governance and wealth creation. We identify the importance of the commitment—compliance continuum in the decision to trust and note that trustworthiness is a subjective perception viewed through each person's mediating lens. That lens and each person's interpretation of the social contract impact one's commitment to cooperate. We suggest five propositions that integrate trustworthiness, governance, and wealth creation.
The problem of academic dishonesty in Business Schools has risen to the level of a crisis according to some authors, with the incidence of reports on student cheating rising to more than half of all the business students. In this article we introduce the problem of academic integrity as a holistic issue that requires creating a␣cultural change involving students, faculty, and administrators in an integrated process. Integrating the extensive literature from other scholars, we offer a ten-step model which can create (...) a positive culture for academic integrity. The successful implementation of a well-crafted academic integrity program can have a positive impact on business schools and improve the reputation of tomorrow’s business leaders. (shrink)
The research about strategic human resource management (SHRM) has suggested that human resource professionals (HRPs) have the opportunity to play a greater role in contributing to organizational success if they are effective in developing systems and policies aligned with the organization's values, goals, and mission. We suggest that HRPs need to raise the standard of their performance and that the competitive demands of the modern economic environment create implicit ethical duties that HRPs owe to their organizations. We define ethical stewardship (...) as a model of governance that honors obligations due to the many stakeholders and that maximizes long-term organizational wealth creation. We propose that if HRPs adopt an ethical stewardship framework and the qualities of transformative leaders, they will be more aware of their ethical duties to their organizations and more effective in helping their organizations to create increased wealth, achieve desired organizational outcomes, and establish work environments that are more satisfying to employees. (shrink)
Distributive, procedural, and interactional justice are constructs that are increasingly being recognized as important factors that affect individual perceptions in the workplace environment. This paper presents a theoretical perspective that suggests that justice is perceived through a subjective lens that consists of individualized beliefs and proposes that cultural attributes and demographic characteristics play an integral part in determining the perception of justice. The distinctions between these three constructs are presented in context with the core beliefs of individual employees – affected (...) by a multitude of perceptual and demographic factors that we briefly identify herein. Based on the theoretical perspective, an instrument that measures the constructs of justice as perceived by individuals was developed. With a focus on justice within the business setting, hypotheses about attitudes related to justice were tested. Survey results confirm that the three constructs of justice are distinct but correlated. Significant differences were found in the perceptions of African-American respondents with regard to procedural justice. Although the empirical findings do not support all the hypotheses, this research highlights the need for further development of measures to assess the perception of justice in business settings and at an applied level, underscores the importance of recognizing cultural attributes and demographic characteristics in understanding how justice is perceived. (shrink)
The ability of leaders to be perceived as trustworthy and to develop authentic and effective relationships is largely a function of their personal identities and their self-awareness in understanding and making accommodations for their weaknesses. The research about self-deception confirms that we often practice denial regarding our identities without being fully aware of the ethical duties that we owe to ourselves and to others. This article offers insights about the nature of identity and selfawareness, specifically examining how self-deception can create (...) barriers to self-awareness within both a personal and a business context. (shrink)
Organizational governance has historically focused around the perspective of principals and managers and has traditionally pursued the goal of maximizing owner wealth. This paper suggests that organizational governance can profitably be viewed from the ethical perspective of organizational followers - employees of the organization to whom important ethical duties are also owed. We present two perspectives of organizational governance: Principal Theory that suggests that organizational owners and managers can often be ethically opportunistic and take advantage of employees who serve them (...) and Principle Theory that focuses on guiding principles that are sometimes taken too far in organizations. In introducing these two new organizational governance perspectives, we offer insights into the value of rethinking ethical duties owed to organizational followers. (shrink)
The ongoing cynicism about leaders and organizations calls for a new standard of ethical leadership that we have labeled “transformative leadership.” This new leadership model integrates ethically-based features of six other well-regarded leadership perspectives and combines key normative and instrumental elements of each of those six perspectives. Transformative leadership honors the governance obligations of leaders by demonstrating a commitment to the welfare of all stakeholders and by seeking to optimize long-term wealth creation. Citing the scholarly literature about leadership theory, we (...) identify key elements of the six leadership perspectives that make up transformative leadership, suggest leaders who exemplify each perspective, describe the ethical foundations and message of each perspective, and offer ten propositions that scholars and practitioners can use to test the dimensions of this new transformative leadership model. (shrink)
Trust within a secular or organizational context is much like the concept of faith within a religious framework. The purpose of this article is to identify parallels between trust and faith, particularly from the individual perspective of the person who perceives a duty owed to him or her. Betrayal is often a subjectively derived construct based upon each individual's subjective mediating lens. We analyze the nature of trust and betrayal and offer insights that a wise believer might use in understanding (...) his or her relationship with the divine. We suggest that the parallels between trust and faith involve a willingness to relinquish one's power or control in the expectant hope that our needs will be met. Betrayal, however, is often profoundly misunderstood. (shrink)
The raging cynicism felt toward businesses and business leaders is a by-product of perceived violations in the social contracts owed to the public. Business schools have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on present and future business leaders, but ‘practicing what we teach’ is a critical condition precedent. This paper presents frameworks for ethical practices for assessing the social contracts owed by business schools in their role as citizens in the larger community. We identify the ethical implications of (...) business school practices to guide the development of tools for self-assessment and to focus on delivering the implied duties owed to the stakeholders of business schools. (shrink)
This paper presents conceptual arguments to suggest that trust within organizations and trustworthiness of organizations are built through ethical governance mechanisms. We ground our analysis of trust, trustworthiness, and stewardship in the business literature and provide the context of business school governance as the focus of our paper. We present a framework that highlights the importance of knowledge, resources, performance focus, transparency, authentic caring, social capital and citizenship expectations in creating a basis for the ethical governance of organizations.
Although leadership of organizations rarely is discussed in terms of the religious construct of repentance, we propose that repentance and continuous improvement are closely related ideas that profoundly impact individuals and organizations. We identify six parallels between repentance and continuous improvement and then show how these parallels apply to the fundamental principles associated with highly regarded leadership perspectives. We conclude by identifying five contributions of the article to the management literature.
Individuals who demonstrate organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) contribute to their organization’s ability to create wealth, but they also owe their organizations a complex set of ethical duties. Although, the academic literature has begun to address the ethical duties owed by organizational leaders to organizational citizens, very little has been written about the duties owed by those who practice OCB to their organizations. In this article, we identify an array of ethical duties owed by those who engage in extra-role behavior and (...) describe those duties in context with personality theory. We suggest that employees who understand the complex nature of OCB and the associated duties they owe to others are more likely to reach their potential and make greater contributions within their organizations. (shrink)
Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) has been widely recognized as a contributor to improving organizational performance and wealth creation. The purpose of this article is to briefly summarize the motives of many employees who exercise OCB and to identify the ethical duties owed by organizational leaders to the highly committed employees with whom they work. After reviewing the nature of OCB and the psychological contracts made with highly committed employees, we then use Hosmer’s framework of ten ethical perspectives to identify how (...) OCB is viewed from each of those ethical viewpoints. We offer six propositions about OCB that relate to building employee commitment and trust. (shrink)
We introduce the concept of “organizational terrorism” to describe dysfunctional leaders who are abusive and who treat organizational members with contempt and disregard. After identifying the moral duties of leaders in organizations, we explain how organization members respond to their dissatisfaction with organizations through Exit, Voice, Loyalty, or Neglect. We explain why exercising voice is the most effective moral choice in dealing with dysfunctional leaders.
In a world increasingly described as turbulent and chaotic, management scholars have acknowledged the importance of a virtue-based set of criteria to serve as a moral rubric for the stakeholders that an organization serves. Business schools play a unique role in helping their students to understand the ethical issues facing business. Business schools can also model the way for creating a clear statement of values and principles, by creating a bill of rights for business schools that recognizes the importance of (...) rights and responsibilities and articulates the important ethical issues that apply not only to business but to the business school context. Four models for creating a bill of rights in schools of business are presented and a framework of a bill of rights is provided. The advantages of a virtue ethics model for a bill of rights are explained as the most practical approach for business faculty to consider. (shrink)
Although efforts have been made to increase the opportunities for American-born minorities to obtain doctoral degrees in business, the actual number of business students who are American-born minorities has been extremely low. At the same time more than half of all PhD candidates in business schools are foreign-born. We suggest that business schools owe an ethical duty to provide role models for minority business students, and that this duty can be achieved by initiating Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs that (...) can enable working professionals who are American-born minorities to obtain terminal degrees in business. We outline eight steps that can be taken to implement a viable and cost effective DBA program. (shrink)
In this paper we suggest that the ethical duties of business schools can be understood as representing stewardship in the Aristotelian tradition. In Introduction section we briefly explain the nature of ethical stewardship as a moral guideline for organizations in examining their duties to society. Ethical Stewardship section presents six ethical duties of business schools that are owed to four distinct stakeholders, and includes examples of each of those duties. Utilizing this Framework section identifies how this framework of duties can (...) be used in the process of self-examination and transformation within business schools. Why It Matters section concludes by explaining why the process of examining ethical duties at business schools is vitally important for both business schools and the larger communities that they serve. (shrink)
Decisions made by supply chain managers have a far-reaching impact on the economic, environmental, and social performance of entire supply chains, even though many activities in the supply chain occur beyond the direct control of those managers. Some firms establish a line of moral disengagement, beyond which they distance themselves from the impact of the activities of the supply chain. This research addresses the question of why some managers choose to take responsibility for the sustainability of their supply chain, while (...) others do not. We argue that the ethical predisposition and moral complexity of the individual employee moderates the interpretation of the drivers of sustainability, increasing or decreasing their ability to build a business case for supply chain responsibility. We also argue that ethical predisposition moderates the likelihood of a business case being enacted. We then discuss theoretical and managerial implications resulting from this finding. (shrink)