The paper “ Influence of Leadership Style on an Organization’ s Ethical Behaviour” is a thrilling variant of literature review on management. Leadership refers to the behaviour of an individual guiding a group of people to attain a common target. It is “ an art of persuading a follower to want to do the things, activities that the leader has set as goals” (Mihelic 2010, p. 32). Traditionally, leadership theories emphasized on rationalizing. However, the focus of transformational and charismatic leadership has its emphasis on values and emotions (Rukwami et al, 2010). Ethics involves right and wrong; what we ought to do and what we ought not to do in our human relations.
It describes and prescribes moral requirements and behaviours. This means that it outlines acceptable and unacceptable ways. In the context of an organization, ethics is a candid communication about the values and principles that are of importance to stakeholders and to the business (Mihelic, 2010). Ethical leadership means a leader exhibiting appropriate conduct through personal action, the way he relates interpersonally with his followers, and promoting such conduct through communication, decision making and reinforcing. Leadership carries within its power and influence; it also carries obligations, responsibility and vision.
Ciula (2003) observes that leadership involves a human relationship. She says that “ some of the central issues in ethics are also the central issues in leadership. They include personal challenges of authenticity, self-interest and self-discipline. They also include moral obligations related to justice, duty, competence and the greatest good” (p. 302). Theory and research have shown that the style of leadership influences the ethical behaviour of the members of an organization. This paper looks at two leadership styles, transactional and transformational leadership, to argue that the leadership style practised in an organization has a significant influence on the ethical behaviour of its members. Styles of leadershipThe concepts of transformational and transactional leadership styles were introduced by Burns (1978).
The way to differentiate the two kinds of leadership is in what leaders and followers offer each other (Raja & Palanichamy, n.d). Transactional leadership influences individuals through conditional rewards. The leader articulates his expectations from the members and how they will be rewarded for their commitments and efforts.
Its focus is in exchange for resources. In this kind of leadership, the leader gives his followers something they want in order to get what he wants. Followers in this kind of leadership meet expectations motivated by the reward they receive. Transformational leadership, on the other hand, transcends the members’ self- interest to meet the larger organizational goal (Raja & Palanichamy, n.d). Transformational leaders focus on higher-order intrinsic needs and therefore offer a purpose that supersedes short-term goals (The Transformation Leadership report, 2007). Transactional leadership is a style of leadership whereby the leader is viewed as a change agent and makes exchanges with the members of the organizations leading to productivity improvement.
On the other hand, transformational leadership is a style that involves the leader empowering the members of the organization to achieve a certain goal that the organization has set plus other achievements like professional growth, personal growth and employee morale. This discussion employs three arguments to contend with the fact that the leadership style in an organization influences the ethical behaviour of its members. They include Maslow’ s theory of human needs, the social learning/modelling theory and the social exchange theory.