Ethics and leadership
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Ethics and Leadership - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Ethics and Leadership. Outline. Moral Development Freudian Theory Kohlberg’s and Gilligan’s Levels Social Learning Theory. Psychodynamic Theory . Sigmund Freud: Three part construction of personality  Id

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  • Moral Development

    • Freudian Theory

    • Kohlberg’s and Gilligan’s Levels

    • Social Learning Theory

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Psychodynamic Theory 

  • Sigmund Freud: Three part construction of personality 

  • Id

    • Home of primitive animalistic energy and subconscious drives such as hunger and sex.   

  • Ego

    • The conscious, rational aspect of personality which mediates between the demands of the id and the behavioral expectations of the world.  The ego exercises reason and sanity, evaluates consequences, and determines a course of action.

  • Superego

    • Develops between ages 3-5 – one’s conscience.  An internalized sense of morality learned from one’s parents.  Yields guilt when disobeyed. 

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Critical Assessment of Freudian Theory

  • On what evidence is Freudian theory based?

    • Freud’s experience was largely limited to troubled, wealthy women.  He never worked with children.

    • There is no empirical evidence supporting many of his theoretical constructs

    • Lacking empirical verification, many of his theories are not clearly defined or explained. 

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Kohlberg’s Levels

  • Kohlberg’s theory has 3 levels (6 stages) of moral development

    • Focuses primarily on moral values such as fairness, justice, equity, and human dignity

  • Assessing development level

    • Heinz dilemma

    • It is the reasoning of their responses, not the answer itself.

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Heinz’s Dilemma

In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife. Should the husband have done that?   

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Kohlberg’s Levels

Morality of abstract

principles: to affirm

agreed-upon rights and

personal ethical principles





Morality of law and

social rules: to gain

approval or avoid




Morality of self-interest:

to avoid punishment

or gain concrete rewards

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Kohlbergs Theory

  • Level I: Preconventional

    • Morality externally controlled-

      punishment = bad reward=good

    • Stage I: Punishment and obedience orientation….

      • obey due to superior power and rules

      • Fear of authority and avoid punishment

      • Ignore peoples intentions –can not see two points of view

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Level I Kohlberg

  • Stage II: Individualism, Instrumental purpose, and exchange…

    • Immediate interest; what is good brings good results

    • Reciprocity beginning—equal exchange of favors

    • Start to understand that people can have different perspectives in a dilemma

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Kohlberg’s Theory

  • Level II-Conventional Morality

    • Preserving societal order---sustaining relationships

    • STAGE 3: Interpersonal Expectations and Conformity

      • “good boy/bad girl” maintain affection and approval of significant individuals

      • Promotion of social harmony

      • Begin to understand idea behind the golden rule—ideal reciprocity

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Level II Kohlberg

  • STAGE 4: Social-order Maintenance

    • Moral actions are defined by larger social groups—fulfill self-defined duties and uphold laws

    • Societal laws taken into consideration and can not be broken for any reason

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Kohlberg’s Theory

  • Level III: Post Conventional Morality

    • More abstract principles rather than rules that apply to many situations

    • STAGE 5: Social Contract

      • Imagine alternatives to social order, rules are a contract that can be changed—free and willing participation

      • Laws need to be consistent with human rights

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Level III Kohlberg

  • STAGE 6: Universal Ethical Principles

    • Self-chosen ethics –system of values and principles—respect for the worth of individuals

    • Respect for worth and dignity of each individual

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Evaluating Kohlberg’s Theory

  • Cross-cultural validity

    • Non-western cultures rarely above stage 4

    • Socialist people and the Heinz dilemma

    • Buddhist monks

  • Family influences

    • Family plays an important role (ignored in Kohlberg’s model)

    • Study of parents talking to children about dilemmas

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Gender and Kohlberg’s scale

  • When Kohlberg’s instrument was administered on a large scale, it was discovered that females often scored a full stage below their male counterparts.

  • The moral reasoning of women and girls was more likely to value looking for a solution that preserved connections. This often looked like the “good girl” orientation, Level 2.

  • Gilligan’s argument

    • Men: justice and fairness

    • Women: responsibility to show care and avoid harm

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Treating everyone fairly and the same

Apply rules impartially to everyone

Responsibility toward abstract codes of conduct




Caring about everyone’s suffering

Preserve emotional connectedness

Responsibility toward real individuals

Differences between Men’s Moral Voices and Women’s Moral Voices

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Rules guide interactions

Roles establish places in the hierarchy




Emotional connectedness

Responsiveness to needs of others

Web of relationships

Empathy & connectedness guide interactions

Roles are secondary to connections

Differences between Men’s and Women’s View of the Self

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Social Learning Theory Perspective

  • Modeling and Positive Discipline

  • Reinforcement (positive discipline):

    • Our parents teach us that it is good to be helpful-- we are rewarded for helping and punished for not helping

  • Model characteristics that promote imitation

    • warmth and responsiveness

    • competence and power

    • consistency between assertions and behavior

  • Positive discipline helps children acquire positive behavior

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  • Promotes only momentary compliance

  • Undesirable side effects:

    • Adult models of aggression

    • Learn to avoid the punishing adult

    • Offers immediate relief to parents (reinforced for using coercive discipline), so that parent is more likely to punish with greater frequency over time (can spiral into serious abuse)

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Social Learning Theory: Example

The Salvation Army Santa Claus study:

When a confederate walked out of a store in front of a SS and gave a dollar to Santa Claus, the SS was more likely to give a dollar himself than when there was no confederate

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Social Learning Theory: Example

Rushton & Campbell, 1977:

SS and confederate interacted in the lab

Left the study together and passed a blood donation booth

2 conditions: Confederate volunteered to give blood or not


Model = 67% agreed to donate--33% followed through

No model = 25% agreed to donate-- 0% followed through

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  • How do these theories of moral development relate to the study of leadership?

    • Be sure to address both the leader and the follower in your discussion