Moral Managers Critique Paper

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Moral Person and Moral Manager: how executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership

Trevino, L.K., Hartman, L.P. and Brown, M. (2000). California Management Review, 42(4), 128-142

Critique Paper

Part 1 – Summary of the Article

The article posits that ethical leadership is built on two essential pillars: the manager as an individual person possessing the moral traits of honesty and integrity; and as a moral manager able to influence behavior and thoughts relative to the practice and pursuit of moral and ethical standards within the organization. These two qualities are prerequisites to achieve ethical leadership. The absence of either of the two qualities is viewed as suspect and inconsistent. In effect, any leader who is thought of basically as a moral person but not considered as a moral manager suffers a major setback in terms of credibility or ethical neutral. In the same line of thinking, a manager who has no ethical anchor in his personal life and yet purports to be a moral leader is a hypocrite. And a manager who is neither a moral person nor a moral manager can only be unethical.

The article argued that the reputation for ethical leadership provides an overarching set of desired behavior and good conduct among employees, most favorably in large organizations where employees have limited interaction with the senior managers, most especially with the CEO – who is expected to act as Chief Ethics Officer. As well, it spares the company from unnecessary legal fees due to complaints and litigations which can be avoided to begin with. But more importantly, ethical leadership ensures that the company can enjoy a good reputation and image that is likely to attract the best and talented people who in most probability will stay longer in and become loyal to the company.

Being a moral person is the substantive basis of ethical leadership, the article points out. And this substantive core must be authentic pertaining to such traits as trustworthiness,...