Leadership and Learning Organization

Learning Organization

A learning organization is one that is capable of creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge, as well as modifying its behavior in response to new insights and knowledge. Organization with learning culture promote continuous learning and believe that each other will be influenced by the systems. Continuous learning provides opportunities for organizations to continuously improve as it provides the opportunities for the individual’s performance improvement.

Peter Senge (1990) defines learning organization in his book “The Fifth Discipline” as an organization where people continually to enhance their capability to make the results they truly desire, foster fresh and extensive thinking models, freeing collective aspiration, and encourage people continuously to learn to see the whole together. In 2006, Senge examined the five ‘disciplines’ (Figure 1) from his initial formulation of learning organizations: system thinking – exploration of whole instead of individual part, personal mastery – the form of personal learning and self-development, managing mental model – a cognitive model of learning and system change, building a shared vision – establishing a purpose with common sense, and team learning – creating a new form of shared knowledge and learning.

From the various definitions of learning organization from figure 2, the learning organization can be defined as a constantly transforming organization that employ learning to gain a competitive advantage.

Google excels at becoming a role model for organizational learning culture (Forbes, 2019). Their employees can flexibly set their own work schedules to maximize work efficiency and creativity. Employees are composed of talents in various technical fields; thus, everyone can learn from and work with each other. This mindset of growth, and collaboration opportunities will lead employees to continuously improve themselves and the company.

Transformational and Spiritual Leadership in Learning Organization

It is never easy to build a high performance, value-added learning organization with all the necessary foundations, infrastructure, and leadership support. Leadership is important in a learning organization because it is called upon to handle both internal and external changes (Cotae, 2010).

It is worth noting that the leadership and organizational learning has been quantitatively studied in variety of countries and industries, among the empirical articles reviewed, transformational leadership is still the most widely used style (Do and Mai, 2020), transformational leadership empowers people with collaborative learning and feedback loops, which is particularly applicable when transitioning from a resource-based company to a knowledge-based organization (Dimmock and Walker, 2005)

As the emphasis of learning organization is on the participation of members, it is more compatible with spiritual leadership compared to other organizational styles, like multidivisional styles that lean to more commanding and controlling leadership type. Spiritual leadership, accordingly to Louis Fry (2003), is necessary for learning organization to thrive. The spiritual leaders not only participate in organizational changes, they also continue to lead by example and seek self-improvement. In order to assess the performance of leaders and team members, the spiritual leaders make use tools like 360-degree feedback to staff.  

The Oaks Group at JP Morgan’s managing director, Barry Garapedian, is a role model for spiritual leaders in leading learning organizations. He is known for emphasizing the overall objectives and employees’ development, encouraging employees to spend some time building relationships, physical and mental health, and engaging in wealth management business. Barry Garapedian and his partner Seth Haye are among the world top financial managers and have established consistently high ratings in employee satisfaction, customer trust, employee commitment, wealth creation and community service. Spiritual leaders like Barry Garapedian, applying the elements of learning organization to achieve outstanding organizational performance and altruistic goals.

Taking another example, you might put a blue-and-yellow bottle of WD-40 in the garage or under the kitchen sink, but you don’t have to think about the company that produces it. The company’s CEO, Garry Ridge, is firmly committed to learning, and requires all employees to make a commitment:

Ridge sets an example of great leadership to facilitate learning organization as he requires employees to ask questions, to innovate, to cooperate with one another, to take risk and to be unafraid of failure.


In my reflection, learning is an intimate and stressful process, but when it is promoted and honored, learning is powerful. It can be applied into all aspects of the organizational systems, procedures and people. It may be experimenting with a new content management system, like my company did when Salesforce was implemented. From the real working environment, I recognize that the initiating and sustaining the significant change necessitates a variety of leadership styles, the leaders in learning organizations are designers, teachers and stewards. All in all, a learning organization requires leadership capable of empowering workers in the ever-changing era and fostering a learning culture that permeates the organization with a shared vision for the better performance (Garcia et al., 2012).


Bunea, A., Dinu, G. and Popescu, D. M. (2016) ‘Organizational Learning versus the Learning Organization – Emerging Concepts Enhancing the Leadership Role’, Valahian Journal of Economic Studies, 7(4), pp. 57–64. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=124330041&site=ehost-live (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

Cotae, F.-F. (2010) ‘Looking at the Link between Leadership, Organizational Learning and the Internationalization Sigmoid’, Global Management Journal, 2(1), pp. 5–18. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=51300689&site=ehost-live (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

Dimmock, C. and Walker, A. (2005), Educational Leadership: Culture and Diversity, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

Do, T.T. and Mai, N.K. (2020) “Review of empirical research on leadership and organizational learning”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 1201-1220. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-01-2020-0046. (Accessed: 28 April 2021).

Forbes. (2018). Council Post: 13 Reasons Google Deserves Its ‘Best Company Culture’ Award. [online] Forbes. Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/02/08/13-reasons-google-deserves-its-best-company-culture-award/?sh=70c606a43482&gt; (Accessed: 30 April 2021).

Fry, L. (2003). “Toward a Theory of Spiritual Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 693-727. (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

Garcia-Morales, V.J., Jimenez-Barrionuevo, M.M. and Gutierrez-Gutierrez, L. (2012), “Transformational leadership influence on organizational performance through organizational learning and innovation”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 65 No. 7, pp. 1040-1050.

Gordon R.S. & Michael V.H. (1997) ‘Hope is Not a Method’, Crown Business. (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

Senge, P. (1990). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning. New York, NY: Doubleday. (Accessed: 30 April 2021).

Senge P (2006) The fifth discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, 2nd edn. Century, London. (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

WD-40 Company. (2021). Tribal Culture – WD-40 Company. [online] Available at: <https://wd40company.com/our-tribe/tribal-culture/&gt; (Accessed: 29 April 2021).

Leadership and Change Management

Nowadays, change is everywhere, and the speed is becoming more and more complex, so leadership and change might have become a huge challenge facing modern organisations. The importance of leadership to the change management process is the fact that, by definition, change requires the creation of a new system and then the institutionalising of the new approach (Alqatawenh, 2018).

The Trait and Characteristic of Transactional and Transformational Leadership

When Burns (1978) drew the distinction between transformational and transactional leaders, he thought of leaders such Roosevelt, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. Transactional leaders concentrate on organization, supervision, and team performance, while transformational leaders revolve around change within the organization.

Figure 1 shows the trait comparison from transactional and transformational leadership.

Two characteristics distinguish the transactional leadership: contingent reward and management by exception (Bass, 1985).  Leaders use disciplinary powers and various incentives to motivate employees to achieve best performance. Transactional leadership focus on the exchange that between leaders and the followers, that is,“If you are willing to do this, I will provide you with rewards.” Such leadership centers on maintaining normal business processes. They appreciate the rules and regulations in an organised way to achieve goals timely or move people and assets.

Transformational leadership adopts and cooperate with followers’ motivations to achieve the goals of leaders and followers (Beerel, 2009). The engagement of transformational leader will go far beyond the routine scope of day-to-day operations, thereby elevating it to a new level together with individuals, teams and organizations. As biographer James MacGregor Burn stated, transformational leaders are able to inspire followers to shift expectations, beliefs, and motivations to work for common objectives. In practice, transformational leadership has the potential to inspire and motivate followers to produce exceptional performance (Deluga, 1990).

The figure 2 illustrates the main characteristic of four I’s of transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is deemed to support successful change through the development of trust and credibility generated by behavioural integrity (Simons, 2002).

Leadership and change in the organization

The organization has to develop a clear strategy to achieve vision in order to obtain a strong desire for future situation (Huyer, 2014). Change is the basis characteristic of transformational leadership, transformational change is based on changes in the behaviour and attitude of followers from current leadership literature (Bass 1985). It can be said that transformational leaders are the true champions of change. They are the visionaries who influence or inspire teams to achieve excellent business performance. Emphasis is placed more on team building, employee empowerment, individual-organisational goals alignment, and cultural construction to encourage individuals to embrace the change for the better (Tracy, 2014).

Transformational leaders are usually responsible for challenging the existing structure of the organization and motivating employees to work harder and move the company forward (Polić, 2019). These types of leaders bring transformative changes through their motivation and vison. The founder of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton, is a successful transformational leader. He often visited Wal-Mart stores across the country to meet with associates to express his gratitude for the work they have done for the company. In his autobiography, Walton outlined “rules for success”, one of which was to appreciate associates with praise.

Contingent rewards are the most active style of transactional leadership. In this way, leaders and followers exchange specific rewards for achievements or results (Benson, 2018).   Taking the former coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi as an example, he is hailed as one of the best football coaches of all time. He was the master of training teams through rigorous practice. Therefore, his team is almost unstoppable. Another example is GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, during the initial stage of the pandemic, she demonstrated the characteristic of a transactional leader and found an opportunity. She co-authored a playbook on safety and health protocols to reopen GM’s factories and send back work packages describing how people can return safely. She admitted their fears and showed sympathy during the execution. Despite this, Barra is still known for her transformational leadership (Ted, 2020).


Yet, although transformational leadership across time, culture, organization and individuals seems to be the most effective form of leadership, it is important to reemphasise that if there is no active form of transactional leadership such as setting objectives and expectations, as well as monitoring performance, the leaders and leaders’ ability to succeed will be limited. Indeed, the most interesting thing is to see how transformational leaders add transactionality to predicting performance. Herein I mean, in terms of broad performance results, transactional will move the meter positively in the right direction. However, if there is no transformational leadership, the transactional leader will not be able to achieve the same level of performance.


Alqatawenh, A. S. (2018) ‘Transformational Leadership Style and Its Relationship with Change Management’, Business: Theory & Practice, 19, pp. 17–24. doi: 10.3846/btp.2018.03. [23 April 2021].

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectation. New York: Free Press. [22 April 2021].

Beerel, A 2009, Leadership and Change Management, SAGE Publications, London. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [26 April 2021].

Benson, P. (2018) ‘CFO: What Type of Leader Are You?’, Pennsylvania CPA Journal, 88(4), pp. 13–14. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=126602447&site=ehost-live [26 April 2021].

Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. Oxford: Harper & Row. [25 April 2021].

Deluga, R. J. (1990) ‘The Effects of Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez Faire Leadership Characteristics on Subordinate Influencing Behavior’, Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 11(2), pp. 191–203. doi: 10.1207/s15324834basp1102_6. [23 April 2021].

Huyer, D. (2014) ‘Leading Change through Vision’, Leadership Excellence, 31(6), p. 19. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=96583824&site=ehost-live [25 April 2021].

Polić, I. (2019) ‘Leadership styles determine proactivity of employees – A vessel’s example’, Annals of Maritime Studies / Pomorski Zbornik, 56(1), pp. 39–58. doi: 10.18048/2019.56.03. [22 April 2021].

Simons, T.L. (2002), “Behavioral integrity: the perceived alignment between managers’ words and deeds as a research focus”, Organization Science, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 18-35. [23 April 2021].

Ted, B., 2020. The Kind Of Leader We Need Now. [online] ChiefExecutive.net. Available at: <https://chiefexecutive.net/the-kind-of-leader-we-need-now/&gt; [26 April 2021].

Tracy, B 2014, Leadership, AMACOM, Nashville. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [25 April 2021].

Transformational Leadership and Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic and Transformational Leadership - Is there a Difference?
Source: LinkedIn.com

Our personal and professional lives have been affected profoundly due to the continuous evolving global business environment. In such uncertain period, leadership is being more and more important. There are several different types leadership, each with its own set of attributes and characteristics, like transformational leadership and charismatic leadership are being hot topics nowadays.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a leadership that creates valuable and positive changes among followers (Tahir et al., 2014). It is described as being guided by four leadership components which include idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and personalized consideration (Bass et al., 2012).  Transformational leaders are committed to “transforming” others in order to help each other, respect each other, inspire, harmonize and look out for the organization as a whole.

Transformational leadership is positively correlated with the performance of creatives approaches and diverse ideas (Shin and Zhou, 2003). Ayub et al., (2019) also provided the evidence to support the role of transformation leadership in promoting divergent thinking in the team. The figure 1 shows how the transformations take place.

The transformation leadership role as a moderator of the relations between cognitive heterogeneity and functional diversity is based on the discovery that transformational leader takes strategy of intellectual stimulation to give directions to their subordinates (Mitchell and Boyle, 2009). Kirimi et al., (2010) also strongly argued that transformational leadership role as the moderator of the reconciled relationship. Diversity through the mediation of cognitive heterogeneity links to knowledge creation, and transformation leaders moderates this relationship by facilitating the environment in which cognitive heterogeneity occurs, and utilize it effectively in the diverse team to work on knowledge creation (Mitchell and Boyle, 2009). From the figure 2, the relationship is moderated by transformational leadership in the work of knowledge creating through overcoming the impact of affective conflict and mitigating the emergence of affective conflict.

DuBrin (2015) argued that transformational leaders are charismatic. The two key personality factors that enhance interpersonal relationships and charisma are agreeableness and extraversion. The charisma of transformational leaders includes their openness to the view of others and optimism. The president of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda who is an example of charismatic, transformational leader. Akio Toyoda’s charismatic behaviors include race car driving, acting as company’s TV pitchman, and having the role of a rock star. The transformations he is considered to be significant include helping Toyota in 2009 (Evans & Mackenzie, 2010).  to overcome the embarrassing recall and the severe damage to the company’s production facilities due to earthquake in 2011 (Team, 2011).  

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leaders can be divided into many types which include socialized charismatics, personalized charismatics and celebrities (DuBrin, 2015). Charismatic leaders energize their followers not just through their willingness to take risks and their loyalty to the vision of change, but also motivating them to strive for higher objectives and goals (Dvir et al., 2002). John Gardner finds that charisma applies to leaders, in the constituent relationships that leaders have special talents that can inspire and engage in irrational communication. Leaders who are considered charismatic may influence others and make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the organization (Yukl, 2012).

The charismatic leadership theories emphasize effects such as the emotional attachment of followers to the leader; followers’ emotional and motivational stimulation; followers’ self-esteem, trust and assurance from leader; followers’ morality and intrinsic motivation (Shamir and Eilam, 2005). Chin et al (2017) also argued that the perspective of group not only considers the leader’s influence on individual members, but also considers the leader’s influence on the organization’s work to utilize resources and personnel and the coordination level of group actives.

The COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, has this kind of relationship with many of her employees. Sandberg’s most ardent supporters believe that she is an inspired executive who can rely on. Charismatic leaders use impression management to cultivate deliberately a relationship with team members. One of the notable aspects of charismatic and transformational leaders is that their influence extends beyond the direct working group and reporting relationships.


Being working in the MNC more than 10 years, the topic of leadership is always there. When organization is at different stages of competitiveness, growth, and a team composed of employees with different experiences, age groups, skills, abilities, personalities, motivations, and cultural backgrounds, there is no single “best” leadership style. In order to enable an organization to carry out creative and innovative activities, it is important to manage different thoughts and ideas effectively within the organization. But no matter transformational leadership or charismatic leadership, in order to motivate and develop employees’ potential, leaders have to foster creativity by consistent striving to provide team members with clearly defined, foresighted, inspiring high goals, as well as high norms and encouragement for innovative endeavors, and strengthen team member’s commitment to excellent to stimulate innovation.


Ayub, U., Kanwal, F. and Kausar, A. R. (2019) ‘Developing Knowledge Creation Capability: The Role of Big-Five Personality Traits and Transformational Leadership’, Pakistan Journal of Commerce & Social Sciences, 13(1), pp. 30–61. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=138266279&site=ehost-live [16 April 2021].

Bass, B. M., Avolio, B. J., Jung, D. I., & Berson, Y. (2012). Predicting unit performance by assessing transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(2), 207-218. [20 April 2021].

Chin, JL, Trimble, JE, & Garcia, JE (eds) 2017, Global and Culturally Diverse Leaders and Leadership: New Dimensions and Challenges for Business, Education and Society, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [20 April 2021].

DuBrin 2015, Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills, Cengage Learning, Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [18 April 2021].

Dvir, T., Eden, D., Avolio, B. J., & Shamir, B. (2002). Impact of trans- formational leadership on follower development and performance: A field study. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 735–744. https://doi.org/10.5465/3069307. [16 April 2021].

Evans, S. and Mackenzie, A. (2010). The Toyota Recall Crisis – A chronology of the Toyota pedal, floormat recall – Motor Trend – Motor Trend. [online] Motor Trend. Available at: https://www.motortrend.com/news/toyota-recall-crisis/. [19 April 2021].

Kirimi, D, Barine, M, Minja, D, & Barine, KA 2010, Transformational Corporate Leadership, Andrews UK Ltd., Luton. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [19 April 2021].

Mitchell, R.J. and Boyle, B. (2009), “A theoretical model of transformational leadership’s role in diverse teams”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 455-474. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730910968714. [19 April 2021].

Shamir, B., & Eilam, G. (2005). What’s your story? A life-stories approach to authentic leadership development. The Leadership Quarterly, 16 (3), 395 À 417. [18 April 2021].

Shin, S.J. and Zhou, J. (2003), “Transformational leadership, conservation and creativity: evidence from Korea”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 46 No. 6, pp. 703-14. [16 April 2021].

Tahir, L., Abdullah, T., Ali, F., & Daud, K. (2014). Academics transformational leadership: an investigation of heads of department leadership behaviors in Malaysian Public Universities. Educational Studies, 40, 473-495. [16 April 2021].

Team, T. (2011). Japan Quake, Tsunami Take Heavy Toll On Toyota. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2011/04/08/japan-quake-tsunami-take-heavy-toll-on-toyota/?sh=33c1614461b4 [21 Apr. 2021].

Yukl, G 2012, EBook PDF for Leadership in Organizations: Global Edition, Pearson Education, Limited, Harlow. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [18 April 2021].

Leading Diverse Teams

Diversity and Leadership

Living in the globalized world means living with people who think and act differently from us, because each of us has different culture and background.

Schein et al., (2016) stated that the concept of culture refers to the stability, depth, breadth and pattern or integration of structure due to the fact that culture is an acquired phenomenon of group while personality and character are acquired of individual phenomena. Professor Geert Hofstede defines culture as the programming of the human mind by which one group of people distinguishes itself from another group (Hofstede Insights, 2020).

Diversity is stated as the differences in any attribute between individuals may lead people to realize that the self is different another person (Daan et al., 2013). Today, the diversity from the workplace includes race, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, generation, disability, thinking style and personality type (Makino and Oliver, 2019). Many studies have shown that, compared with a less diverse team, a more diverse team is likely to consider a wider range of views and to generate higher-quality and more innovative solutions (Austin, 1997).

Source: RocketSpace

The importance of Diversity

The importance of team diversity was recognized in the 19th century by John Stuart Mill, when he wrote: “it is almost impossible to overrate the value of bringing people into contact with dissidents, people with different thoughts and actions. This kind of communication is one of the main sources of progress, especially in the current era.”

Given its heterogeneous composition, diversified teams usually have more various perspective, ideas and information than homogenous teams (Homan et al., 2020). In Polson’s interviews (2020), one of the interviewees, a woman who earned four stars in the Army, she shared plainly: “If you sit around a table, all the people who are like you, and sound like you, you will have a narrow view of things.” At the same time, Polson (2020) also stated that the most successful team is a diverse team, but it is not enough with diversity alone, leaders must know how to effectively deploy the diverse team. It takes work and focused application to build a diverse team.

Listen up

Many studies are on how to build diverse teams, but less focus on how to make the team function best after assembled. From my opinion, the hard work is to make sure all the voices are heard and considered after gathering the team. Without listening, leaders will not be able to take advantage of the huge benefits that diversity brings.

Knowing how to listen will help to gather important information and build trust with colleagues and superiors. Nowadays, people expect leaders to be able to develop and employ each team member’s strength, so it’s more important than ever to truly understand the people working for you – especially in a diverse team, where perspectives and ideas may challenge the established leadership.

There is prayer “Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be understood as to understand” from prayer of St. Francis. This means that you care enough about other people, you are willing to suspend your own desire to make judgements and think that there may be other important points. This doesn’t necessarily mean that what you listen can guide directions or make decisions. In the process of determining the best way to move forward, the act of listening is important, and it is a requirement to make full use of the greatest influence of the diverse team.

Diversity from organisations

In the changing world, most of the leaders are taking diversity as a strategy to gain better performing of the companies. In LinkedIn 2020 workforce diversity report, they are making a commitment over the next five years to double the number of Latino and Black leaders, managers and senior individual contributors on their U.S team (news.LinkedIn.com, 2020).

Apple now is considered at the top list of diversity and inclusion within the technology industry (Apple, 2020), and it gives a constructive example of how a dedicated and committed leader can build a more diverse and inclusive organization (Michael, 2019). Tim Cook, a passionate believer in diversity. he recruited directors from underrepresented groups, appointed three women to join the executive team, transformed hiring practices and launch an annual diversity and inclusion report which has been shared with the public.


To sum up everything that has been stated so far that the significance of creating environments that encourages all kinds of voices is becoming more and more important. The positive impact of diversity can be illustrated by providing richer information. In order for leaders to match our leadership behaviours functionally with the diverse teams’ needs, we have to listen and be capable to predict the needs and / or react proactively to diagnose the needs, and accordingly adapt our behaviours flexibly.


Apple (2020). Inclusion & Diversity. [online] Apple. Available at: https://www.apple.com/diversity/ [Accessed 13 Apr. 2021].

Austin, J.R. (1997), “A cognitive framework for understanding demographic influences in groups”, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 342-59. [Accessed: 3 April 2021].

Daan van Knippenberg, Wendy P. van Ginkel, Astrid C. Homan, Diversity mindsets and the performance of diverse teams, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 121, Issue 2, 2013, Pages 183-193, ISSN 0749-5978, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2013.03.003. [Accessed: 3 April 2021].

Hofstede Insights (2020). What do we mean by “culture”? [online] Hofstede-insights.com. Available at: https://news.hofstede-insights.com/news/what-do-we-mean-by-culture [Accessed 9 Apr. 2021].

Homan, A. C. et al. (2020) ‘Leading diversity: Towards a theory of functional leadership in diverse teams’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 105(10), pp. 1101–1128. doi: 10.1037/apl0000482. [Accessed: 6 April 2021].

Makino, K. and Oliver, C. (2019) ‘Developing Diverse Leadership Pipelines: A Requirement for 21st Century Success’, Organization Development Review, 51(1), pp. 4–10. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=134060280&site=ehost-live [Accessed: 6 April 2021].

Michael J. O’Brien, 2019. Apple earns Most Admired for HR award | HRExecutive.com. [online] HRExecutive.com. Available at: <https://hrexecutive.com/apple-defends-its-most-admired-for-hr-crown/&gt; [Accessed 9 April 2021].

news.linkedin.com. (2020). Our 2020 Workforce Diversity Report. [online] Available at: https://news.linkedin.com/2020/october/2020-workforce-diversity-report.

POLSON, S. H. (2020) ‘THE CRITICAL SKILL: Needed to Make Diversity Work: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the pace of change presented challenges’, AMA Quarterly, 6, pp. 52–53. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=bth&AN=148510524&site=ehost-live [Accessed 13 April 2021].

Schein, E.H. and Peter A, S. (2016). Organizational Culture and Leadership. [online] ProQuest Ebook Central, Available at: http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/coventry/detail.action?docID=4766585 [Accessed 12 Apr. 2021].

Ethical Leadership


In the highly competitive global business environment, people are being more interested in the leaders’ ethical behaviour. Experimental verification shows that leadership has been recognised as more and more business sophistication. Ethical leadership has become fundamental part to develop businesses.

Characteristic of ethical leadership

Ethical leadership means fully respecting others’ right and treating others with dignity, and using power in a socially responsible manner (Gini, 1997). It is recognized that ethical leaders are individuals who behave with integrity, courage and trustworthiness; meanwhile, they are relationship-centered, with fairness and altruism as the decisive characteristic of their interactions with others (Crews, 2015). In terms of governance, ethical leadership shows compliance with formal accountability measures and practice keen insight in decision-making responsibilities. More significantly, leaders who are considered to have a senses of morality show strong consistency in the things and behaviors they advocate.

Integrity is being identified as an important part of effectiveness of leadership (Gardner et al., 2005). Palanski and Yammarino (2009) included “wholeness” of integrity that Brown & Trevino (2006) have identified the characteristics such as honesty, kindness and trustworthiness are positive traits of ethical leadership.

Mekhum (2020) argued that in moderate level ethical leadership employees show genuine emotions will improve work performance and reduce stress. He further stated that employees’ emotions management (deep behaviour and surface behaviour) can improve employees’ work performance and reduce the perceived pressure of followers when they have personality traits (Mekhum, 2020).

Three themes of ethical leadership

Crews (2015) argued that there are three themes that define the ethical leadership: value alignment, governance, and relationship- centeredness.

The theme of value alignment embodies the most salient characteristic of ethical leadership. To be regarded as ethical leader, the individual’s values and character must be closely integrated with behavior.

The theme of governance describes ethical leaders whose decision are determined by a fair and transparent process that follows the “letters” of law and the “spirit” of the law. In doing so, ethical leaders are responsible for their actions (Lee and Cheng, 2011). Decisions are made wisely and carried out in a fair and informed manner.

Lastly, ethical leasers are relationship-centered, that is, how they communicated and connect with others is the focus of their leadership style. The relationship between them is determined by fairness, which includes qualities such as empathy and respect which are characteristic of altruism (Bencsik et al., 2019).

Case Study

Taking 3M as an example, 3M has been a well-respected and profitable company in the world for more than a century, one of its key successes is its ethic commitment. More than a decade in the world, 3M has been rated as one of the most ethical companies, and it has won the most ethical company award for the three consecutive years (Ethisphere® Institute, 2021).

Long time ago, 3M has realized that if the company expects their leaders to be ethical, it needs a culture of personal responsibility and ethic. The company has developed leadership behaviors and code of conduct that all employees from the lowest-paid workers to the C-suite levels have to comply with and discuss in the performance evaluation annually (Investors.3m.com, 2020).

Comes to ethical behavior ingrained in the company’s culture, 3M demonstrates that ethical leadership is the easiest. Decision-makers have a deep understanding that ethical choices are better for the company’s long-term development; at the end they will be reluctant to make unethical choices.

Therefore, to adapt to contemporary era of business environment, ethical leadership is being more and more important and critical. On the other hand, the ethical leadership has to look into the activities not only benefit the company itself but to look beyond the benefit of the society and the environment.


Companies wishing to obtain ethical leadership have to make ethical commitments at all levels of the business and be responsible for the wrong choices they make. Sometimes, the short-term gains from unethical decisions seem to be good, but all these gains will disappear when the side effects occur, and the company has to pay severe penalties for the unethical decisions made.

Herein there is no mentioning of measuring the effectiveness of ethical leadership; therefore, how to measure the ethical leadership is a question as the impact of ethical leadership on the company’s performance might be changed due to many potential factors, such as the size, culture and structure of the company. It is interesting to have further and deeper discussion on the ethical leadership and its effective impact to the businesses.


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