How unethical leaders get away with it | The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

How unethical leaders get away with it

Research Briefing

Keywords: unethical behaviour, unethical leadership, leadership, leadership behaviours, implicit followership theories, moral disengagement

Usually when unethical behaviour is outed in organisations, the blame is laid at the door of the leader, with the cause being put down to bad leadership or a leader’s failure to enforce ethical and moral standards. Whilst such explanations are both common, useful and popular unethical behaviour actually goes beyond the leader’s own behaviour.

In many cases, the leaders actually realise their unethical goals through the acts of their followers. Simply focusing on the acts of the leaders to explain unethical practices in organisations misses half of the equation. It is, therefore, important to understand the role of the followers in the implementation of unethical behaviours, in order to successfully deal with immoral and unethical developments.

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