Posted: May 25th, 2022

Leadership Ethics: Case Study Questions

Leadership Ethics: Case Study Questions

Of the three options available to Joe, which the most ethical?

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Of all the options available to Joe in his current situation, the second option of a possible solution to the problem is the most ethical and for the following reasons. First of all, option two outlines a plan of honesty and integrity but also allows Joes to save his own ego. In business, it can be tough to effectively lead and carry out two objectives of meeting the needs of the employees and the company while on the other side, taking care of the self. This creates an atmosphere of conflict that results in compromise. Option two is the best possible balance for achieving both in the sense that Joe remains in the leadership position and also gets to see the company through this rough spot while keeping the line of communication open with key members of the staff. This allows him to lead with integrity, which in turn creates a culture based on the value of honesty and communication. Over the short-term such a situation can be difficult to face but the fact he is facing it with raw passion and openness will lead to positive outcomes over the long-term. By remaining open and honest with his staff about the situation and an uncertain future builds a new level of trust and even inspires employees to stay and work harder as part of the mission. Surviving the situation would set the employees apart and clearly allow Joe to know who is worth having on board, which will ensure the health of the company in the long run. By remaining honest in difficult times, puts the company in a time of great transformation and this demands a leader who can also transform to fit the situation.

This is a difficult situation for Joe. This is where one must figure out their value system and try to figure out what is most important. One has to begin to wonder what is leading to the company’s trouble in the first place and try to remove this element. By being truthful starts the process of changing the situation. By picking option two, Joe has kept in mind not only his interests but the company’s as well. I believe a strong future cannot happen if it is based on dishonesty. He will be able to live with himself knowing he made the best possible decision with regard to the company, its staff and his own ego.

Question 2: How does egoism come into play in this case? Which of the three options is altruism apparent?

Egoism becomes an issue for the leader in Joe as he struggles to figure out the best possible solution. With anything decision in business comes compromise for the ego and Joe must figure out which solution fits best for himself as the leader and the company. If he were to follow elements of ethical egoism, he would take the option that fits best for his own needs to save face. This leads to transactional leadership in which someone bases their decisions on their own interests alone. As a leader, this is not effective as one can also see how they will benefit. It does not allow for the big picture of how such decisions can impact others. Sometimes however, one must look out for number one. This avenue should only be explored when one is in a situation built on distrust and leadership; the lines of communication start failing. At this point in the situation the only person one can trust is one’s self. A lack of trust and bad feelings can make it easier for one to walk away, once again to save the interests of the ego. At this point, the ego feels it must preserve itself in order to move forward.

Still the option that exhibits altruism the most in this case study is option one. I chose this option because Joe decides that instead of saving his ego and quite possibly his investment, he is saving the company’s best interests as well as the staff’s. By bowing down to the bankers, he is admitting defeat but he is also using the ideals of utilitarianism to benefit the company. Utilitarianism states that a leader should behave to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people. By choosing option one, Joe is sacrificing his own interests for the benefit of others. This, unfortunately main diminish his future role in the company and its profits. This is not the best solution, however, when it comes to leadership because it displays his weakness to face the difficulty alone. Still he does this with the best of intentions for the company and its staff. Still one must wonder, at what price? Can the bankers be trusted? It can be difficult for one to enter into option one without thinking the bankers have their own best interests at heart and not the company’s. Still option one is the least self-serving but does not display Joe’s strongest leadership. In this respect, it is difficult to see if the involvement of the bankers guarantees the success of the firm. Still what makes this option altruistic is the fact that Joe is acting with good in mind of his actions and the consequences. In this respect, he displays virtue- based ethics by being a good and worthy human being. By displaying this virtue he shows to the staff that he values them and their futures and not just his. He is being sensitive to their needs and source of livelihood. While in some ways as discussed early, option one seems like the cop out or weaker choice in leadership in other ways, it displays how Joe has considered his impact upon the staff. In this way, he has confronted the conflict and its effect on the situation. He has faced the possibilities of the change and the new conflicts created out of change. This displays Heifetz’s perspective on ethical leadership. In this situation, Joe has the authority to mobilize change and make people face the situation as he has also faced it.

Question 3: Which option would provide the greatest good for the greatest number? From an ethical perspective, what is Joe’s duty in this situation?

Of the three options, option number three has not be been chosen as an answer because it reflects a great amount of dishonesty and misrepresentation of the facts. This option would be completely unethical to choose because it asks for leadership to not be an example and this will only create more problems for the company. It may be a quick, safe solution for the moment but it does not create an environment for strong leadership based on integrity but instead creates a place where such behavior is allowed and encouraged. What kind of image does this reflect?

In this current situation, it is easier to take the unethical path to win in the end but lying creates misrepresentation and in turn causes distrust. Option two allows Joe to not only be honest with the employees but also with himself. For the moment it may not be best for business but as trust is built, inspiration will result and hard work will change the situation. Still even with honesty, there is no guarantee that success will follow as even as Joe is being truthful, it possible that others in the organization are not. Establishing a value for leading by example can aid in stopping this influence. Still it is possible that even the level of discomfort of knowing the situation can create distrust due to uncertainty. Does option two represent the greatest good for the most people involved in the situation? I believe it does not because it creates an uncertain long-term outcome. There is too much risk involved for employees to buy in unless Joe is able to exhibit great levels of charisma. When the situation is put in terms of saving jobs and saving the company from going under, it is option one that is most appealing for the greater good. This option even allows Joe to continue on as an active force within the company although at a diminished capacity. This option limits the amount of fallout or “growing pains” the company may experience during this tough time because it does offer some kind of stability. The risk involved is less for everyone involved because the bank is taking the brunt of that. It is on the bankers if failure should result. If Joe is smart and feels that his ego is less important, this option is the best strategy for saving the company for everyone. There is also the possibility, with any company in the evolutionary process that his role can change in the future. This may change his mind about how to go about limiting his risk. Still equally, he is taking a large risk by handing control over to the bankers. Does he know what their leadership style is and will they remain honest with him and the staff? These are aspects of strategy to think about when exploring reorganization. It is like a double-edged sword, one must understand the pros and cons to every option. Yes with option one, it appears that by having the bank take over that this offers the best case scenario for everyone but Joe must weigh the possible repercussions and how they will affect business. In other words, this may be saving everyone’s job and the company but at what cost to quality of the job and the company? This bank intervention may not be worth the hassle if the culture of the company changes for the negative. This can have a direct influence on productivity and morale. Joe needs to keep all the details in mind before deciding.

Question 4: What pressures does Joe face regarding honesty and telling the truth about his situation?

In this situation, Joe faces many pressures as most business owners would when faced with such challenges. He has to decide whether or not to take the safe way out or take a chance and see if he can save this venture for not only himself but also the staff. It is really a matter of knowing what kind of risks one is willing to take but also having the integrity and honesty to face the consequences of the situation’s outcome. He knew the chances when he took on this venture but this does not change the fact that right now, his leadership skills are crucial to so many futures with no guarantee of success. Still he will be able to better face these challenges if he acts from a place of honesty and grace. The worst thing he can do at this point is to be dishonest with himself about the situation. Still each option must be weighed for attributes of risk and challenge separately in order to make the best decision for himself and the others. Each option creates different pressures not including just the pressure of analyzing the options. Actually one would think any businessperson would be constantly weighing risk along side with the details of each choice. It depends on the person if one is more conservative or liberal, how much one is willing to commit but also one must factor in the weight of how much is at stake. The pressures of each option are examined in the paragraph below for Joe’s point-of-view. In general each option presents different challenges and therefore the pressure of making the best possible solution.

For option one, Joe faces the pressure of knowing if allowing the bank to intervene is the best solution. He faces the pressure of how this solution will not only change his role in the company but how others will perceive this action. He faces the pressure of not knowing if the bank can be trusted to carry on his leadership and allow for open communication. There is the concern that the staff will not buy in to the idea and this could lead to people leaving. Option three was not chosen a solution because it represents dishonest business practices. Still if Joe were to choose this option, he would be living a dishonest life and creating a path of lies which he has to be accountable for eventually. He will have to live with the pressure of knowing he acted this way for the sake of himself and profit. It is my belief that this option creates the most problems for Joe because of lies. It creates a place where people are constantly questioning leadership. Option two also puts Joe under a large amount of pressure and in many ways the most out of the two viable options because it requires him to be the most ethical. This option requires the greatest amount of discomfort for Joe as he opens the lines of communication and honesty. Still this is the chance he takes knowing that being putting all the facts on the table, he is creating a culture that values honesty, integrity and hard work. By disclosing these facts, he also commits himself to seeing the company through this difficult time. This definitely displays his strong leadership skills and the trueness of his character.

Work Cited:

Leadership Ethics? I did not have the information about the chapter. Citation style below.

Last name, first name. Book title. City of Publisher: Publisher name, year of publication.

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