Theme 4


Theme 4 – Ethical leadership

Ethical leadership: argument for and against the relevance of the topic to the study of leadership in organisations

Ethical leadership has been defined as doing what is right for the organization, while organizing the self-interests by the organizational leadership for the benefit of all the organizational stakeholders (Ridley, 2007). Ethical leadership is relevant because it leads the organization in fulfilment its objectives, while also caring for the interest of the broader society (Bai and Morris, 2014). However, the definition of what is good or bad can be complicated and contradictory, and the definition of what is good or bad is depend on the conditions and the situations, as well as the social-cultural context (Evans, 1970). Nevertheless, the power that comes with become a leader has the potential of utilized well the organization and its stakeholders, or not good for the others who are not in the position of power (Yueru, 2013).

According to Rubin et al. (2010), ethical behaviour on the part of a leader can improve the effectiveness of both leader and the organization. However, there is an opposing point to ethical leadership as a source of effectiveness for the leader and organization. The argument holds that the leadership should be based on cognition, where the leader should be more focused on the application of his or her own mind for reason, problem solving and decision making, not the ethical standards, which requires the leader to focus on the surface to gain leadership strategies (Vinkhuyzen and Karlsson, 2014).

The argument opposing ethical leadership as a source of leadership and organizational effectiveness holds that the inner cognitive abilities should define effective leaders, not the rules of ethics, which requires the leaders to be informed of the surrounding environment, and attempt to do right according to the environment surrounding them (House, 1996).

I will discuss the statement that ethical behaviour for a leader can be a source of effectiveness for the leader and the organization through Microsoft example. Microsoft is a good example of a corporate organization that has demonstrated ethical leadership, and the effect has been the enormous success of the organization in the technology sector (Shields, 2013). The values of ethical leadership are demonstrated through the fair treatment of the employees and customers (Bergen, 2011). Microsoft has been able to improve the status of its employees to the highest level within the American society, through good salaries and benefits that keep the employees motivated and able to continue highly productive (Bergen, 2011).


Microsoft treats its diverse workforce consistently; regardless of the differences in gender, race, and origin of disability through give its complete workforce an equal opportunity to exceed. In addition, considering customers, Microsoft has remained among the highly rated companies in the provision of quality products and high quality customer service to its customers (Shields, 2013). Furthermore, Microsoft has remained amongst the top rated organization in issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR), where the organization has been engaged in numerous charitable activities ever year (Bergen, 2011). In addition, financial ethics serves as a major aspect of corporate ethics, which enables the organization to avoid major financial scandal (Ridley, 2007). Microsoft has proven to be an organization with a high level of financial ethics and prudence throughout its history, and no wonder it has usually rated highly in financial performance and profitability (Bergen, 2011).

The path–goal theory of leader effectiveness model is a leadership model theory that applied by Microsoft, to make the organization successful both in leadership and organizational performance (Evans, 1970). The path–goal model requirements that the leader’s behaviour is a necessary condition for the motivation, satisfaction and effective performance of his or her subordinates (House, 1971). For example, Bill Gates has been an ethical leader, whose ethical behaviour has influenced the success of the Microsoft workforce. Since he has always handled all the employees with dignity, respect and equality, while ensure to improve their working environment and make it friendly (Shields, 2013). In this way, he has inspired a generation of capable leaders who have taken over Microsoft leadership after his retirement, and the level of motivation, performance and satisfaction has remained high amongst the workforce throughout Microsoft’s history (Bergen, 2011).

To sum up, ethical leadership is an essential concept for the achievement of the organizational objectives, since it helps to avoid scandals and immoral acts by the leaders that may lead to organizational failure. Furthermore, ethical leadership is an essential management concept, which enhances the performance, satisfaction and motivation of the workforce.


References List

Bai, X. and Morris, N. (2014). Leadership and Virtue Ethics. Public Integrity, 16(2),

173-186. Cathcart, E. (2014). Relational work: At the core of leadership. Nursing

Management, 45(3), 44-46.


Evans, M. G. (1970). The effects of supervisory behavior on the path-goal

relationship. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance. 5: 277–298.

House, R. J. (1971). A Path-Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness. Administrative

Science Quarterly. 16, 321-328.


House, R. J., Mitchell, T. R. (1974). Path-goal theory of leadership. Journal of

Contemporary Business. 3: l–97.


House, R. J. (1996). Path-goal theory of leadership: Lessons, legacy, and a

reformulated theory. Leadership Quarterly. 7 (3): 323–352.


Bergen, J. (Mar. 18, 2011) ‘Microsoft makes World’s Most Ethical Companies list,

Apple, Google, Facebook don’t’ [Online] avaluable from: [ 27th March 2014]


Ridley, M. (2007). A Practitioner Model for Ethical Leadership. (2007). Academic

Leader, 23(6), 2-8.


Rubin,R., Dierdoff, E., Brown, M. (2010) ‘Do Ethical Leaders Get Ahead? Exploring

Ethical Leadership and promotability’ Business Ethics Quaterly 20(2) pp 215-236



Shields, A. (Feb 16, 2013). ‘Good Business: 10 Companies With Ethical Corporate

Policies’ [Online] available from [27th March 2014]


Vinkhuyzen, O. M., and Karlsson, S. I. (2014). The role of moral leadership for

sustainable production and consumption. Journal Of Cleaner Production, 2-13.


Yueru, M. (2013). Linking ethical leadership to employee creativity: knowledge

sharing and self-efficacy as mediators. Social Behavior and Personality: An

International Journal, 41(9), 9-20.


Theme 3



Theme 3 – Managing change

How change models help to define the steps managers use to manage change effectively

Change is the only constant in life, and there is little that people can do to avoid change, both in personal life and within organizations where they work (Shere, 2006). Nevertheless, the difference appears in the manner in which people respond to change, with some being open to the new challenges that change brings although others react to changing through resisting it (Cervone, 2011). However, at the same time that Mullins (2010) shows that there is little the management can do about resistance to change, the fact is that management is the core driver of the changing process within an organization, and thus there is a lot that the management can do to enhance the success of the changing process (Martincic, 2010).

According to Mullins (2010) shows that the management has little it can do about resistance to change, it is apparent that the management cannot force change on the organizational stakeholders such as the employees, considering that change has to begin from within (Shao-His, Ying-Fang and Shao-Wen, 2012). Whenever a change is externally driven, it will result to resistance and where resistance is not obvious, those will destroy the change process opposed to it. The organization may lose its valuable assets in the quitting employees (Phillips, 1983).




Nevertheless, to demonstrate against the statement by Mullins (2010), it is clear that the management can do a lot about resistance to change within an organization. This principle can be demonstrated well by the case “Remaking JC Penney’s Organizational Culture,” where Ullman, who was appointed to the position of the chairman and CEO of JC Penney Corporation in 2004, had an elaborate plan on how he could introduce change to the organization, through making the organization a great work place for the employees (ICMR, 2007). However, he was faced with much resistance, considering that the organization had a culture of rigidity and formal employee relationship cross over the past 100 years (ICMR, 2007). The rigid rules of addressing the managers formally and dressing rigorously in accordance with the organizational dress code had made the environment in the organization tense.

This happened to the inability of the organization to attract new talent or maintain new people, while the employee turnover increased (ICMR, 2007). After Ullman and the newly hired human resource manager, Michael Theilmann started a culture of flexibility that was established through the campaign to have the employees relax the strict rules. The new strategy entailed the employees start addressing the managers informally with their first name. Eventually, the situation in the organization changed, and the organization became a familiar working environment, resulting to high employee productivity and low turnover, while the organization was able to attract new talents (ICMR, 2007).



The managers have an important role to play in directing resistance to change. The Lewin’s Three-Stage Process of Change model is illustrated what managers should do to work out change resistance. According to this model, change introduction has to go though the three process of unfreeze, involving first dismantling the existing organizational cultures that resistance to change (Burnes, 2004). This is followed by introducing a new culture that make the organization to higher performance, a process known as change, and finally solidify the new tradition and culture, which eventually becomes the new identity of the organization, a process known as refreeze (Burnes, 2004). This management role in managing and overcoming resistance to change was illustrated well by the management style of Ullman who became the new chairman and CEO of JC Penney in 2004 (ICMR, 2007).

Ullman applied The Lewin’s Three-Stage Process of Change model, starting with unfreeze phase, where he destroyed the rigid culture of the JC Penney Corporation, through introducing the informal culture of relationship between the employees and the managers.  He followed this with the change phase of the Lewin’s model, where he moulded a new organization culture the way he wants, through making the informal association culture emerge as the ultimate source of strength for the employees and managers. Finally, he took the change process to the third and final stage of refreeze, where a new culture was solidified and became the new identity of JC Penney Corporation. This made it possible to attract for the organization to become a friendly workplace, and eventually it attracted enough talent (ICMR, 2007).

Resistance is an essential strength in the change process, considering that it assists to delay change and gives the introducers of change time to reflect on the benefits and the limitation associated with the change (Dervitsiotis, 1998). In this way, the change process is made continuous, allowing it to put into consideration the diverse interests of all the stakeholders (French, 2013). In conclusion, even though change is disruptive and, therefore, may bring more resistance, the change process can be successful if the managers apply the right way.


Reference List

Burnes (2004). ‘Kurt Lewin and the Planned Approach to Change: A Re-appraisal’, Journal of Management Studies 41(6), 18-35.

Center for Management Research (ICMR). (2007) ‘Remaking JC Penney’s Organizational Culture’, 1-20.

Cervone (2011). Overcoming resistance to change in digital library projects. OCLC Systems & Services, 27(2), 95-98.

Dervitsiotis  (1998). The challenge of managing organizational change: Exploring the relationship of re-engineering. Total Quality Management, 9(1), 109-122.

French (2013). Training for Change: Saving Lives on the Front End. Fire Engineering, 166(4), 135-138.

Martinčič (2010). Change Management in Adult Educational Organizations: A Slovenian Case Study. Managing Global Transitions: International Research Journal, 8(1), 79-96.

Mullins (2010) Management & Organisational Behaviour (9th ed). London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Phillips (1983). “Enhancing the effectiveness of organizational change management”. Human Resource Management 22 (1–2): 183–99.

Shao, Ying and Shao (2012). The impact of cognitive flexibility on resistance to organizational change. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 40(5), 735-745.

Shere (2006). Managing Cultural Changes in Your Organization. Crosstalk: The Journal Of Defense Software Engineering, 19(4), 9-13.


Theme 2



Theme 2 – Most effective leadership style to managing the work of subordinates

Management and Leadership

Leadership is the way of affecting people to recognize and accept about what necessitates the need to achieve and how to prepare it (Yukl, 2012). In addition, leadership is also the way of developing individual and organization efforts to achieve assigned objectives (Yukl, 2012). Management is making work achieved through the efforts of various people (Mullins, 2013). The similarities and differences between management and leadership according to Buckingham (2005) illustrate that great leaders realize that which is common and use to it. Their task is getting the members going to a good prospect. The managers are to change members’ unique expertise into performance.

Let’s go back to the questions “Which personal style should managers adopt to ensure success? “and “What is the most effective approach to managing the work of subordinates?” This blog will discuss these two questions through two models, The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid and McGregor’s XY Theory.

The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid model emphasizes the greatest leadership style to performance, according to the attention of people and tasks (Hersey and Blanchard, 1982).

People-oriented leadership style. Managers, focus on creating, sustaining, and promoting the team members. This participatory style fosters effective group work and innovative collaboration (Mind Tools, nd).

Task/Production-oriented leadership style. Managers, focus on fishing the business. Manager presents the tasks and the roles needed, set arrangements in position, and plan, coordinate, and control performance (Mind Tools, nd).

Base on the plan, the greatest leadership style to adopt is paying attention to both sides, rather than attempting to offset one against another.


In the case that written by Marcus Buckingham (2005), illustrating that a great manager understands and appreciate the unparalleled strengths and also the peculiarities of their subordinates, and they determine how beneficial to combine them into a coordinated program of intervention. For instance, Michelle is a smartly great manager when she works out the situation with her employee Jeffrey. She knows that how to use the unique strength of the employees, focusing on it and developing the personal advantages. The result is notable; Michelle noticed both increases in sales, profit and achieves the most demanding fulfillment metric, customer satisfaction. In the following several months, her store made excellent records in Walgreens’ mystery shopper program. Michelle not only focuses on the task- oriented but also the people- oriented.


The other academic theory is McGregor’s XY Theory. McGregor’s XY Theory shows in what way a manager’s perceptions of what drives the team members influences the direction he or she performs (Kopelman, Prottas and Davis, 2008). Through recognizing how the opinions about subordinates’ motivation can affect the management style, manager can modify the method properly in order to manage people more efficiently (Kopelman,Prottas and Davis, 2008).

The management style is completely affected by the views and assumptions from the factors that drive members of the group. For example, if the team members avoid their work and responsibilities, the managers are going to choose an authoritarian style of management. However, if the members done a good job, managers will assume a more participative style.

Theory X shows that employees are typically unmotivated and dislikes work (Mind Tools, nd), and this boosts the authoritarian style of management. This lead to the management need actively occur to make work finished, and managers need at each step to managing workers. However, Theory Y presents a participative style of management that is dispersible. It indicates that members are taking responsibility and are motivated to accomplish the purposes of the industry, self-motivated and productive, and enjoy the work with comprehensive responsibility (Mind Tools, nd). This participative management style is broadly accepted. For instance, GOOGLE illustrates the theory Y very well; the innovation and creativity of the company can flourish (Jensen, 2011). This allows their employees deal with issues efficiently and the reason is stimulated ideas for the management of the organization. When employees undergo the freedom for innovation and creativity that because of participative management, it assists to build a motivating atmosphere.

To sum up, the most effective approach to managing the work of subordinates is by using relative management style depends on different members and situations. Like Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid emphasis the way of management style, people-oriented and the task-oriented. McGregor’s XY Theory also illustrate that the management style base on the personalities of employees, participative style or authoritarian style.

Reference List

Buckingham (2005). What Great Managers Do [Online] available at[20th March 2014]


Hersey and Blanchard (1982). Leadership style: Attitudes and Behaviors. Training and Development Journal. 36 (5), 50-52.


Jensen (2011). Motivating Employees With Participative Management [Online] available at [20th March 2014]


Mind Tools (nd). Theory X and Theory Y, Understanding Team Member Motivation [Online] available at [19th Mar 2014]


Mullins (2013). Management and Organisational Behaviour. 10th ed. United Kingdom: FT Publishing International


Yukl (2012). Leadership in Organizations. 8th ed. United Kingdom: Prentice Hall