Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business
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Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business

Edited by Jonathan P. Doh and Stephen A. Stumpf

Ethics, social responsibility, leadership, governance. These terms are heard in the classroom, in the boardroom, and viewed on the front page of newspapers and magazines. Yet serious attention to the relationships among these concepts is lacking. Although commitments to leadership, ethics, and social responsibility are evident, individuals and companies are falling short in combining these duties into policies and cultures that guide behavior and decisions. The missing element is a broad-based and integrated approach to responsible leadership and governance. This volume provides the leading thinking on these issues and includes a discussion of emerging areas that require future attention.
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Chapter 9: Integrating Leadership with Ethics: Is Good Leadership Contrary to Human Nature?

Joanne B. Ciulla


Joanne B. Ciulla Introduction Leadership is a human activity. People engage in leadership all over the world. All leaders do similar things as leaders. They initiate activities, they motivate people, and they move people towards various goals. Some use persuasion, others force. Some are democratic and aim to promote the greatest good, while others are autocrats who aim to maximize their own good and the good of their friends and cronies. Individual leaders vary across cultures and within cultures. They may have different leadership styles, attitudes, values, beliefs and practices, depending on the culture, institution or organization. This is not a chapter about traits, cultural differences, universal values or particular ethical problems facing business leaders, nor is it about leadership in one area or another. This chapter looks at a fundamental question about leadership. What is it about human nature that makes ethical leadership in any context or culture difficult? The chapter examines leadership in terms of the basic philosophic question concerning human nature. To what extent does free will shape our lives and to what extent are our lives determined by our genes and by fate (Dennett, 1995; 2003)? This question is particularly salient to the study of both ethics and leadership. We begin by exploring the relationship between moral values and practical knowledge or ethics and effectiveness. We then go on to discuss risk and moral accountability or moral luck. Then we examine the problems of self-control, self-interest and altruism. Later in the chapter, we look at...

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