Ethical Leadership

Leadership is often defined as the ability to influence people to do what they normally would not do. An effective leader guides the organization and its employees to accomplish organizational goals. An unethical leader, in the same vein, can guide the organization and its employees to act unethically, harming both the organization and the stakeholders. Leadership is an exploration, a reflection, and a test of what the leader values. Seeking understanding of how you resolve ethical dilemmas, taking inventory of where an ethical weakness may lie, and examining the traits of an ethical leader helps you define, shape, and apply an ethical decision-making framework that takes in consideration all stakeholders that may be impacted by your decisions.

This task focuses on you, as a leader, by helping you to define, refine, and test your ethical boundaries through self-reflection and analysis.


You are a sales representative for a medical device company that manufactures artificial joints. Your company has developed an artificial knee joint that is less expensive than the competition and will dramatically reduce healing time for patients. However, it is also known to produce a serious, and potentially lethal, infection in a small percentage of patients. Your company refuses to disclose this potential side effect to patients. You feel you have a duty to disclose, but signed a non-disclosure agreement (a contract stating that you would keep all information about the company confidential) when you were hired by the company.


Prepare a report (suggested length of 6–8 pages) in which you do the following:
A.  Select a leader who you feel has exhibited exemplary ethical conduct to do the following:

1.  Discuss two ethical traits that your chosen leader has demonstrated.

2.  Explain how your chosen leader has exhibited ethical conduct.
B.  Analyze the dilemma found in the scenario from both the consequentialist and deontological perspectives.

Note: Consider how consequentialists and deontologists would approach the dilemma: What questions would they ask and what decision might they reach?

1.  Discuss which level of cognitive moral development (i.e., preconventional, conventional, or postconventional) is represented in the scenario for each of the following questions:

•   What action would be best for society in the long term?

•   If I reveal this information, will my company find out and fire me?

•   Which course of action would best serve justice?

•   Are there any laws that indicate whether I should disclose this information?

•   If I keep quiet, will my company reward me for that?
C.  Submit a copy of the PDF file with your results from the Ethical Lens Inventory (ELI), which was completed in the course of study, as a separate document.
D.  Reflect on the ELI by doing the following:

1.  Explain your preferred ethical lens or what it means to have none if you have a center perspective.

a.  Analyze whether you have the same preferred lens in different settings (i.e., work, personal, social).

2.  Describe one of the following: your blind spot, risk, double standard, or vice.

a.  Discuss three steps you can take to mitigate your chosen blind spot, risk, double standard, or vice in order to make better ethical decisions in the future.

3.  Explain your primary values and classical virtue(s) from the ELI.

a.  Discuss how these primary values and classical virtue(s) compare to the top five values from the Clarifying Your Values exercise, found in the course of study.

4.  Discuss how you plan to use the ethical lenses to approach ethical situations throughout your professional life.
E.  Acknowledge sources, using in-text citations and references, for content that is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
F.  Demonstrate professional communication in the content and presentation of your submission.

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