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Transformational Leadership and Ethical Values. A Philosophical Approach

Bachelor Thesis 2016 74 Pages

Philosophy - Practical (Ethics, Aesthetics, Culture, Nature, Right, ...)

Excerpt

Content

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction

2. Leadership & Ethics
2.1 Definition: Leadership
2.2 The Process of Leadership
2.3 Ethics in Leadership
2.3.1 Leadership Philosophies
2.3.2 Comparison: Leadership Philosophies
2.3.3 The Metaphysics of Power as a Foundation of Leadership

3. Transactional Leadership
3.1 Definition: Transactional Leadership
3.2 Transactional Leadership Components
3.3 Overview: Transactional Leadership Components

4. Transformational Leadership
4.1 Definition: Transformational Leadership
4.2 Transformational Leadership Components
4.3 Overview: Transformational Leadership Components
4.4. Effectiveness of Transformational Leadership
4.5. The FRL- Model by Bass
4.6 The Augmentation Effect
4.7 FRL – Model by Bass: Discussion
4.8 A Dynamic Definition of Augmented Transformational Leadership
4.9 The “Black Box” of Functionality

5. Transformational Leadership & Performance
5.1 Leadership Performance & Ethical Context
5.2 Logical Analysis of Ethical Leadership Dilemmas
5.3 Transformational Leadership & Effects on Performance

6. Issues of Transformational Leadership
6.1 The Problem of Pseudo-transformational Leadership
6.2 Socialized-transformational and Pseudo-transformational Leadership
6.3 Effects of Pseudo-transformational Leadership
6.4 Exploitative Institutions
6.5 Comparison: Transformational / Pseudo-transformational Leadership Component Utilization
6.6 The “Black Box” of Ethical Values

7.Ethical Values & Leadership
7.1 The Ethics of Leadership
7.2 Moral Principles as a Solution to Ethical Leadership Dilemmas
7.3 The Hypothetical Generalization Principle
7.4 Solving the “Black Box” of Ethical Values
7.5 Ethical Leadership & Social Learning

8. Conclusion

References

List of Figures

Figure 1: Leadership Process: Relationship Leader & Follower

Figure 2:Leadership Process: Classical Concept of Leadership by Neuberger

Figure 3: Leadership Process: Leadership Style, Situation and Sources of Power

Figure 4: Elements of a Leadership Approach

Figure 5: Process of transactional leadership

Figure 6: Overview Transactional Leadership Concept

Figure 7: Concept of Transformational Leadership

Figure 8: Overview Transformational Leadership Concept

Figure 9: Example Profile: FRL – Model by Bass

Figure 10: Optimal Profile: FRL – Model by Bass

Figure 11: The “Black Box” of Functionality

Figure 12: Components of Leadership Success

Figure 13: “Black Box” of Ethical Values of Leadership

Figure 14: Pillars of the Ethics of Leadership

Figure 15: Modified “Black Box” of Ethical Values of Leadership

Figure 16: Increased Ethical Follower Behavior

List of Tables

Table 1: Sources of Power of Leadership based on Research by French/Raven

Table 2: Factors determining Utilization of Leadership Power Sources

Table 3: Comparison definition of desirable leadership attributes: Plato / Machiavelli / Burns

Table 4: Role of the Leader in Transactional Leadership Concept & Leadership Power Sources

Table 5: Components Transactional Leadership

Table 6: Role of the Leader in Transformational Leadership Concept & Leadership Power Sources

Table 7: Transformational Leadership Components

Table 8: Comparison: Measurement of Leadership Success

Table 9: Transformational Leadership: Effects on Performance

Table 10: Overview Personalized / Socialized Leadership

Table 11: Effects of Pseudo-transformational Leadership on Leader/Follower Relationship

Table 12: Comparison: Transformational / Pseudo-transformational Leadership

Table 13: Ethics of Leadership: Three Pillars

List of Abbreviations

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1. Introduction

Leadership is often seen as an important factor for successful human organization and interaction. Therefore, leadership has a crucial influence on the outcome of organized human actions in economic, social or military categories.[1]

As the global society faces important challenges that relate to the megatrends of climate change, global population growth and urbanization, social, environmental and economical shifts are influencing, changing and transforming society and the importance of leadership increases as a result.[2] Transformation and change is inevitable and must be considered as an important boundary condition for the development of human organization and therefore as a vital aspect of leadership. The questions leaders face today relate to the way how to define, design and to create transformation and change and how to achieve both in their individual organization and to motivate people to follow and embrace the transformations.[3] In times where change and transformation appears frequently the capable leader has to understand leadership as a transformation process and has to develop a transformational leadership style. But even though transformational leadership can be described as a crucial factor for future success, transformational leadership simultaneously contains the possibility to develop to a major threat for society.

Business leaders with a transformational approach like Enron CEO Jeoffrey Skilling or Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski have proven, that certain leadership styles can significantly harm individuals, groups or organizations, while transformational leaders like Bill Gates revolutionized society and increased the overall standard of life quality. Political leaders with a transformational approach like Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler or Mao Zedong caused millions to suffer and nations to fall under their leadership, whilst other transformational political leaders reform nations and are leaders of progress, success and prosperity. The mentioned examples underline the evaluative nature of leadership. Most of the time the individual leader´s behavior and the resulting success or failure is evaluated. Contrary to this, this thesis focuses on the appreciation of leadership itself, following philosophers Betrand Russell´s statement that

“It is not the appreciation of the artist that is necessary so much as appreciation of the art.”[4]

This study is based on the assumption that leadership itself is to be appreciated and not the individual leader´s behavior and behavioral results. This study focuses on analyzing leadership on a meta level that allows to deduce a general theory of leadership, that is independent from the individual leader. Consequently, in this context the most important task of leadership is not only to provide a definition of leadership but to primarily find an answer to the question what good leadership in general and good transformational leadership in particular, means.[5] The term good leadership can be described as two-dimensional:[6]

1. morally good leadership (doing the morally right things according to a certain pattern of ethical values)
2. technically good leadership (“getting the job done”)

This thesis has the goal to describe and analyze the relationship between the two dimensions of what good leadership means by providing detailed information about the modern leadership theory and the intersection of leadership and ethics. The discussion of the importance of ethical values for leadership in general and for the transformational leadership concept in particular represents a central part of this thesis in order to find an answer to the question of how good transformational leadership can be separated from failed transformational leadership.

2. Leadership & Ethics

To give an introduction into the field of transformational leadership and leadership in general, it is necessary to properly provide a definition of leadership and ethics. To achieve this, the chapter discusses the definition of leadership in 2.1 and 2.2 and the definition of ethics in 2.3.

2.1 Definition: Leadership

The definition of leadership depends on various factors, for example historical origin or socio-cultural influences.[7] Therefore it is possible to define the term leadership in various ways. The ancient Greek philosophers already discussed the meaning of leadership. Aristotle wrote that,

“Since the every political society is composed of rulers and subjects let us consider whether the relations of one to the other should interchange or be permanent.”[8]

Based on such essential thoughts on the nature of leadership, it is important for this thesis to define leadership in a context of modern political or economic institutions.

According to leadership scientist James MacGregor Burns leadership can be defined as the process:

“(…) when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological, and other resources so as to arouse, engage, satisfy the motives of followers.”[9]

Leadership strives to enable individuals or groups to achieve specific goals and is expressed through human interactions. Human interactions and the resulting interpersonal relationship in the leadership process can be described as interactions which express superiority through the leader and subordination through the follower.

Leadership expert Peter Drucker underlines the importance of the differentiation between leader and follower in the leadership process.

The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers (...).[10]

Under these premises, leadership can be seen as the relationship of a leading subject to one or more following objects. A leader can be defined as a subject of leadership. The leader is enabled through organizational hierarchy and/or personal characteristics to influence human work processes, individuals and groups.[11] A follower can be defined as an object of leadership. The follower represents a person or a group, that is influenced by the leaders actions.[12] Figure 1 displays the relationship of the leadership subject l eader to the leadership objects f ollowers.

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Figure 1: Leadership Process: Relationship Leader & Follower

Figure 1 shows, that the leader, the follower and the targeted objectives are connected by interaction. In Figure 1 the leader claims a superior position on top of the hierarchy to the position of the follower. The leader, follower and objectives are in constant interaction with each other. Figure 1 makes clear, that successful leadership has to aim to achieve a functioning hierarchy, in which the leader is able to motivate, enable and control the followers to deliver the performance needed to achieve the defined objectives and to generate the desired results.[13] Therefore a successful leadership approach aims to create a structure of effective and successful interaction between the hierarchy´s levels.

Therefore, the leader has to be equipped with the power to influence follower behavior.

2.2 The Process of Leadership

A leader can use different sources of power to influence follower behavior. These sources are based on the categories of power defined in the research of the social psychologists John R.P French and Bertram Raven and are displayed in the following table.

Table 1: Sources of Power of Leadership based on Research by French/Raven[14]

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Table 1 shows, that a leader can utilize four sources of power in the leadership process to influence follower behavior. To deepen the understanding of the leadership process, the following figure displays the concept of leadership by psychologist Oswald Neuberger.[15]

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Figure 2:Leadership Process: Classical Concept of Leadership by Neuberger

The concept of leadership by Neuberger is based on the assumption, that a specific style of leadership guarantees success. As a result, the concept of Neuberger assumes that the leadership style is the crucial component to achieve the targeted objectives.

These assumptions are supported by the theory of psychologist Lutz von Rosenstiel, that describes leadership as a process, in which many people get influenced by one person on purpose, defining leadership as an expression of asymmetrical social influencing. Von Rosenstiel states that “Leadership can be described as a process of influencing, in which every leader / follower relationship is different. A leader´s behavior to follower A differs to the leader´s behavior to follower B.” [16]

Figure 2 shows, that the specific leadership style is influencing and stimulating the followers in a way that their behavior leads to success. Therefore the concept of leadership represents a theoretical construct to describe leadership, while the specific style of leadership can be defined as the practical component of leadership.[17] Based on the mentioned sources of power which a leader can select to achieve success, it appears reasonable to assume, that the respective leadership style is dependent from these sources and gets shaped by the sources selected by the leader. Furthermore, it can be assumed that the selection of the power sources is influenced by the situation the leader has to act in.[18]

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Figure 3: Leadership Process: Leadership Style, Situation and Sources of Power

Therefore, it is necessary to enhance the classical leadership concept by components that indicate these influences. Based on psychologists Kurt Lewin´s universal behavioral equation, defined as B = f(P,E) or Behavior = function(Person, Environment) [19], it can now be concluded that the leadership process in general can be defined through von Rosenstiel´s modified universal behavioral equation

Leadership Behavior= function(Person,Situation); LB= f(P,S)[20]

The displayed equation underlines the dynamic nature of the leadership process, as it indicates that leadership power source utilization is dependent from the varying nature of the situation the leader is positioned in. In the process of leadership, the utilized sources of power do not only shape the leadership style in an external way by influencing followers, they also personally influence the leader and the resulting leadership style. For example, a leadership style based mainly on referent power is functioning in a charismatic way. The leader leads through character and emotions. A leadership style based on reward power stimulates the followers by rewarding certain patterns of behavior. It can now be concluded, that the process of leadership depends on the displayed sources of power and how they are utilized. Now the question arises, on which basis the individual leader decides to exploit a specific source of power.

It is possible to identify several factors which are displayed in the following table.

Table 2: Factors determining Utilization of Leadership Power Sources[21]

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Table 2 suggests, that leadership systems, leadership behavior and leadership instruments originate from the underlying individual leadership philosophy. As a result the leadership philosophy is decisive for the choice of the leader which sources of power are used to ensure follower performance. Therefore, it can be stated, that the leadership philosophy is functioning as an orientation for all other dimensions and factors in Table 2.

Figure 4 underlines this statement and gives an overview about the relationship of the different leadership approach elements.

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Figure 4: Elements of a Leadership Approach

Figure 4 displays, that the underlying Leadership Philosophy is crucial for the development of all other elements Leadership System, Leadership Behavior and Leadership Instruments of a leadership approach. Due to the importance of the leadership philosophies, that are defined as a framework of moral guidelines and rules for the complete leadership approach, the next section will more closely describe the definition of ethics to enable a further discussion of the role of leadership philosophies in the concept of leadership in 2.4.

2.3 Ethics in Leadership

According to philosopher Joanne B. Ciulla ethics can be defined as the study of human relationships and

“(...) is about what we should do and what we should be like as human beings, as members of a group or society, and in the different roles that we play in life. It is about right and wrong and good and evil.”[22]

Ethics therefore define what values an individual, group or society regards as good or evil, and represents the philosophic theory of morality.[23] Ethics operate on a meta level of morality and serve as an orientation frame for human actions by connecting intrinsic values to certain behaviors and the resulting behavioral outcome.[24] Through the connection of intrinsic values to an individual´s or a group´s behavior it gets accessible to the moral judgement of other individuals and / or groups on the basis of what behavior and behavioral outcome is defined as good or evil by the underlying theory of morality.

Consequently, ethics can be regarded as a vital component of leadership and especially of leadership philosophies, since

“The fundamental issues of leadership – the complications involved in becoming, being, confronting, and evaluating leaders – are not unique to leadership. They are echoes of critical issues of life more generally.”[25]

As a result, ethics and leadership cannot be separated and the definition of ethical values can be defined as a foundational part of the individual leadership philosophy.

2.3.1 Leadership Philosophies

Different leadership philosophies create different patterns of leadership structures, as the leadership systems, leadership behavior and the utilized leadership instruments vary with changing underlying leadership philosophies.

But how can be differentiated between leadership philosophies and on which criteria should the selection of a leadership philosophy be based on? The answer to this question is given in the following sections.

2.3.2 Comparison: Leadership Philosophies

It is important to understand, that the selection of a leadership philosophy is a selection of what is regarded as right / wrong, good / bad, should / ought or good / evil.[26] Therefore it is possible to identify a discourse of ethical values in the core of every leadership philosophy. The Greek philosopher Plato was already developing approaches to define what good leadership means.

Plato´s differentiation between good and bad leadership described in the dialogue “Politeia”, already sets focus on the moral discourse that is contained in the nature of leadership, that results in the central philosophical question of leadership:

Which behavior of the leader is blameworthy and which behavior is praiseworthy?[27]

As already mentioned in 2.1 it is possible to assume that leadership values are subject to factors like culture or social background. To support this assumption, it is necessary to compare three definitions of good leadership. The portrayed three definitions originate from three different socio-cultural and historical backgrounds:

1. antiquity (Plato)
2. renaissance (Machiavelli)
3. late 20th century (Burns)

The attributes of a good leader according to Plato are displayed in the following table and are compared to the attributes of a good leader according to the book “Il principe / the prince” written by the Italian renaissance statesmen Machiavelli and to the modern leadership approach developed by the 20th century leadership scientist James MacGregor Burns.

Table 3: Comparison definition of desirable leadership attributes: Plato / Machiavelli / Burns[28] [29]

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The comparison in Table 3 shows, that the perception of good leadership cannot be separated from its cultural and historical background. For example, Plato´s description of leadership does not contain any religious factors, Machiavelli regards a strong faith as an important factor. What both have in common, is that their leadership approaches mainly focus on desirable character traits the leader should obtain. Therefore, Plato and Machiavelli understood leadership as a combination of certain character traits the leader is supposed to base her / his style of leadership on. They created a leader based leadership philosophy, similar to the “Great Man” leadership philosophy of the early 20th century that is described by the philosopher Betrand Russel as the idea of “(...)Some men's characters lead them always to command, others always to obey.”[30]

The leadership philosophy of Plato is summed up in the dialogue “Politeia”:

“(...)His whole soul is perfected and ennobled by the acquirement of justice and temperance and wisdom (…). To this nobler purpose the man of understanding will devote the energies of his life.”[31]

Concluding in the sentence

“Every ruler must always strive to provide the greatest good to the ones who are ruled.”[32]

In contrast to Plato, Machiavelli describes the ideal leader in his book “The Prince” as a person, who recklessly seeks triumph and glory in every action to maximize personal influence and power.[33] Machiavelli states that the optimal leader strives to “(…) always maintaining the majesty of his rank, for this he must never consent to abate in anything.“[34]

Machiavelli regards leadership as a crucial factor to ensure the prince´s power and status, and describes leadership as a tool, designed to maximize the leader´s personal gains.

2.3.3 The Metaphysics of Power as a Foundation of Leadership

The leadership concept of Machiavelli and to a certain extent Plato´s, can be identified as a concept focused on maximizing the extent of the leader´s personal power and influence. In this context leadership is a synonym of self-aggrandizing and self-serving power. Therefore, the described leader based leadership style is operating on the fundamental aspect of power, that is described by the philosopher Byung-Chul Han in his metaphysical theory of power, as the fact that “The will to obtain power can be regarded as the will to return to one´s self.”[35]

Han´s statement has to be furthermore put into the context of the idea, that “Life is not the conservation of one´s self, but the self-assertion of one´s self.”[36]

[...]


[1] Malik, Management: Band 1, 2006, p.12

[2] Dobbs, No ordinary disruption, 2015, p. 7

[3] Beck – Tauber, Transformational Leadership: Exploring it´s Functionality, 2012, p. 1

[4] Russell, Roads to Freedom, p.136

[5] Ciulla, Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness, 2003, p. 309

[6] Ciulla, Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness, 2003, p. 310

[7] Grunau, Führungstile in der Diskussion – Transaktionale und transformationale Ansätze im Vergleich, 2014, p. 6

[8] Aristotle, Politics, 1947, Book 7 Chapter 14

[9] Burns, Leadership,1978, p. 18

[10] Drucker, Peter F. , Your Leadership is Unique, 1996, p. 1

[11] Grunau, Führungstile in der Diskussion – Transaktionale und transformationale Ansätze im Vergleich, 2014, p. 6

[12] Grunau, Führungstile in der Diskussion – Transaktionale und transformationale Ansätze im Vergleich, 2014, p. 8

[13] Grunau, Jörn Claus.: „Führungstile in der Diskussion – Transaktionale und transformationale Ansätze im Vergleich“, Bachelor + Master Publishing, 2014, p. 8

[14] French, Raven, The Bases of Social Power, 1959, p. 263- 267

[15] As displayed in: Grunau, Führungstile in der Diskussion – Transaktionale und transformationale Ansätze im Vergleich, 2014, p. 6

[16] Translated from: Von Rosenstiel, Kaschube, Lehrbuch der Personalpsychologie, 2014, Kapitel 17 p.698

[17] Grunau, Jörn Claus.: „Führungstile in der Diskussion – Transaktionale und transformationale Ansätze im Vergleich“, Bachelor + Master Publishing, 2014, p. 9

[18] Von Rosenstiel, Kaschube, Lehrbuch der Personalpsychologie, 2014, Kapitel 17 p.690-691

[19] Wheeler, Kurt Lewin, 2008, p.1640

[20] Von Rosenstiel, Kaschube, Lehrbuch der Personalpsychologie, 2014, Kapitel 17 p.691

[21] Reinhardt et. al, Studienbrief Personalforschung, 2014, p.17

[22] Ciulla, Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness, 2003, p. 302

[23] Birnbacher, Analytische Einführung in die Ethik, 2006, p.1

[24] Birnbacher, Analytische Einführung in die Ethik, 2006, p.2

[25] March, Weil, On Leadership, 2005, p. 1

[26] Bass, Stedlmeier, Ethics, Character, and Authentic Transformational Leadership Behavior, 1999, p. 182

[27] Plato, Politeia, Book I 345 d-e

[28] Plato, Politeia, Book I -X

[29] Bass, Riggio, Transformational Leadership, 2006, p.3

[30] Russell, Power: A new social analysis, 1946, p. 16

[31] Plato, Politeia, Book IX 591 c

[32] Plato, Politeia, Book I 345 e

[33] Machiavelli, Der Fürst, 2009, p. 125

[34] Machiavelli, The Prince, 2011, p. 111

[35] Translated from: Han, Was ist Macht?, 2005, p.77

[36] Translated from: Han, Was ist Macht?, 2005, p.66

Details

Pages
74
Year
2016
ISBN (eBook)
9783668451940
ISBN (Book)
9783668451957
File size
1 MB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v366437
Institution / College
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Grade
1,3
Tags
Leadership Ethics Philosophy Business Ethics Business Transformational Leadership Transactional Leadership Kant Meta Ethics

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Title: Transformational Leadership and Ethical Values. A Philosophical Approach