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Ethics and Organizational LeadershipDeveloping a Normative Model$
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Mick Fryer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590186.001.0001

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Principle-based Ethics and Leadership

Principle-based Ethics and Leadership

2 Principle-based Ethics and Leadership
Ethics and Organizational Leadership

Mick Fryer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Some prominent principle-based ethics theories are outlined and their implications for leadership are considered. These theories include utilitarianism, rights theory, Kantian ethics, contract theory, and Rawls' justice theory. It is suggested that monological application of moral principle by leaders imposes unreasonable expectations on them. Attention is drawn to the expedient flexibility that the breadth of principle-based theory lends to moral justification, which underlines the importance of consistency in both the choice and the application of principle. However, some difficulties associated with consistency are also identified. Whatever conceptual and practical challenges might be associated with principle-based theories, it is suggested that they nevertheless serve two useful purposes in relation to leadership: firstly, they help to structure the content of our moral understanding; and secondly, they offer a range of frameworks for reflecting upon the ethicality of leadership interventions.

Keywords:   consistency, Kant, leadership, moral realism, principle-based ethics, Rawls, rights, contract theory, utilitarianism

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