We are now moving from the Industrial Age to the Information Age in an increasingly integrated global economy (Clawson, 2010). In management, administrators now in the midst of a major managerial paradigm shift that is changing the way they think about management, the way they organize to manage, and the problems and dilemmas that management presents. Understanding and becoming effective in this emerging new context requires a fundamental shift in management thinking and modes of leadership. Principles of organization and leadership are being replaced with new principles based on new assumptions about people, economies, and how to organize. Understanding this new paradigm is essential to becoming a leader in the world of today leading to tomorrow (Clawson, 2010). Due to this paradigm shift, leaders with their knowledge are expected to post a change within their work setting that reflects social responsibility. It focused on the role and responsibilities of a leader as an ethical role model, decision-maker, and teacher. The new paradigm also demands of its leader that they develop some new core values and skills (Clawson, 2010). Administrators should be able to add new concepts, new principles, and new ideas to their present skill sets to enhance their effort to lead and be more effective leaders.
Administrators are regularly call upon to make ethical judgments, and expected to demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty and fortitude in all of the public activities in order to inspire public confidence and trust in the university. In order to do that, administrators must oblige to develop civic virtues because of the public responsibilities that they have sought and obtained. Respect for the truth, for fairly dealing with others, for sensitivity to rights and responsibilities of citizens and for the public goods must be generated and carefully nurtured and matured. Administrators are responsible for the performance of others, share with them the reasons for the importance of integrity, hold them to high ethical standards and teach them the moral as well as the financial responsibility for public funds under their care.
Administrators must accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up to date on emerging issues and to administer the organization with professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, and effectiveness. According to Brown and Trevino (2006), the practice of ethical leadership is a two-part process involving personal moral behavior and moral influence. Ethical leaders earn that label when they act morally as they carry out their duties and shape the ethical contexts of their groups, organizations, and societies (Johnson, 2009). Both components are essential. Leaders must demonstrate such character traits as justice, humility, optimism, courage, and compassion; make wise choices; master the ethical challenges of their roles; and also responsible for the ethical behavior of others (Johnson, 2009). Leaders act as role models for the rest of the organization. How followers behave depends in large part on the example set by the leaders. According to Johnson (2009), ethical climates promote the moral development of leaders as well as followers, fostering their character and improving their ability to make and follow through ethical choices; while ethical environments have safeguards that keep both leaders and followers from engaging in destructive behaviors.
Administrators must know how to use the strengths of opposing views to improve the process of finding the best decision. They must also know how differences should be taken not as threats or competitive factors in finding answers but as opportunities to increase one’s knowledge and broaden one’s understanding. Administrators have to be aware of the methods for handling decision-making situations in which people share similar values but have different assumptions and situations in which people share assumptions but have different values. They must always remember that empowering employees through trust, guidance, and ethical standards goes a long way to making the organization a good place to work for all concerned.
They must also remember that ethical reflection can empower people and increase their responsiveness to important organizational and social issues. Last but not least, they should know that engaging in ethical reflection as a learning process and can create learning and changing organization. Each and everyone need to learn to be responsible, have a role to play in the organization, and know that they are accountable for their actions. Each organization should be run ethically and treat their employees with dignity and respect. According to Brown (1990), the best ethical guides do not tell people what they should do; rather, they show people how to discover the best course of action for themselves; the purpose of ethics is not to make people ethical; it is to help people make better decisions. All these changes would benefit the organization and the university as a whole.
Brown, M. E., & Trevino, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 595-616.
Brown, M. T. (2000). Working ethics: Strategies for decision making and organizational responsibility. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Clawson, J. G. (2002). Level three leadership: Getting below the surface (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Johnson, C. E. (2009). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow (Edition 3). Los Angeles: SAGE.