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Edited by Jonathan P. Doh and Stephen A. Stumpf
Chapter 8: Foundations of Responsible Leadership: From Self-Insight to Integrity and Altruism
John Alexander and Meena Wilson Introduction Ethical scandals in major corporations and other important institutions in the United States in the early 2000s dominated media headlines and triggered rounds of ﬁnger pointing, mixed with soul searching. Much of the debate surrounding these high-proﬁle misdeeds concentrated on macro solutions such as greater regulation and increased oversight from government, courts and corporate boards. Signiﬁcantly less emphasis has been placed on the roles and the responsibilities of individual leaders in today’s ethically challenging corporate environment. But when the last courtroom verdict from these episodes has been handed down and the last regulatory reform enacted, leaders will still face, on a daily basis, difﬁcult and complex ethical dilemmas. The same opportunities to make decisions for good or ill will exist. New laws and regulations, while necessary, will not eliminate the problem. The cure for this disease, we believe, begins within the individual and stems from personal integrity. Integrity, at its core, is the kind of honesty that leads to trustworthiness. A person of integrity tells what he or she believes to be the truth and bases his or her actions on a well-deﬁned sense of right and wrong, always seeking to do the right thing. It is behaving in a manner that, in dictionary terms, exhibits ‘moral excellence’ (The Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 1998, p. 460). Integrity is one of those basic qualities whose presence or absence helps us deﬁne a person’s character. For responsible leadership, we believe...
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