Ethical leadership is about being “right”?

Ethical leadership is a topic that is growing in importance in the strategic management literature. According to the literature, ethical leadership contributes positively to business and society.

Last week some interesting studies were published on the internet about ethical leadership and the positive contribution to CSR and Innovation. Two examples are:  ‘The Effects of Ethical Leadership on the Corporate Social Responsibility and Organizational Citizenship Behavior‘ and ‘Empirical Study on the Relationship between Ethical Leadership and Organizational Climate of Innovation‘.

However ethical leadership is a complex topic that also has its difficulties. The study ‘Is Ethical Leadership Always Beneficial?‘, shows that ethical leadership does not always have to be beneficial for the organization. Especially if required ethical behaviour leads to stress and lower job performance. The study restates that ethical leadership is not a specific leadership style, but there are more leadership styles that can be ethical. Ethical leadership should therefore be carefully evaluated and implemented.

A final remark. Strategic management leadership is most of all needed when “the right thing to do” is new and not in line with current (justifyable) behaviour.
#Innovation, #CSR, #Leadership.

Norbert Bol

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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