Leadership, which establishes the corporate identity, is difficult to delineate in terms of moral leadership, mainly because leadership is about the “influence of individual character and the impact of personal mentoring” (Gini, Structural Restraints, par. 11), while moral leadership is considered a reflection of acceptable organizational values. According to Paul Hoffman, core values are what define individuals while ethics are demonstrated through behavior. Values are constant but ethics are different in different settings, and things are right, wrong, true or false, according to observed behavior. Therefore, in terms of leadership, organizational values should be reflected in leadership behavior and if not, the leader’s commitment to these values is questionable. Organizational failure can be attributed to personal greed over expressed organizational values.
When an executive has low ethical standards of behavior, workers feel justified in responding in kind. Therefore, they consider bending the rules to be acceptable and are apt to be late for work, often absent, and three quarters of workers in a survey admitted they did not give the job their “best effort.” In other words, “American workers are as ethical/dutiful in doing their jobs as their bosses and companies are perceived to be ethical/dutiful in leading and directing them” (Gini, par. 2).
A decade ago, business ethics were viewed in terms of administrative compliance with rules and regulations to maintain a market share. The situation has changed in a global business community, and companies are beginning to realize they must earn the respect and confidence of their customers (Business Ethics). Ethical behavior in business is under more scrutiny than ever before, mainly because of recent events—9/11, Enron, terrorism and the war in Iraq, along with a devastating economy and an unexpected number