Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow

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9781412941297: Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow
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Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership, Second Edition identifies the unique ethical demands of leadership and equips students to meet those challenges. Written in an informal, accessible style, this book takes an interdisciplinary approach to leadership ethics that will appeal to students from a variety of academic backgrounds. The first of its kind, this text provides students with a variety of ethical perspectives and strategies to apply to moral dilemmas and describes tools and techniques for creating positive ethical climates in small group, organizational, and culturally diverse settings.   

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About the Author:

Craig E. Johnson (PhD, University of Denver) is emeritus professor of leadership studies at George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, ethics, management and communication. During his time at the university he served as director of the George Fox Doctor of Business Administration program and chair of the Department of Communication Arts. Though retired from full-time teaching, Johnson continues to serve as an adjunct professor. He is the author of Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach (also published by Sage) and co-author, with Michael Z. Hackman, of Leadership: A Communication Perspective. His research findings, instructional ideas, and book reviews have been published in the Journal of Leadership Studies, the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, the Journal of Leadership Education, Academy of Management Learning and Education, the International Leadership Journal, Communication Quarterly, Communication Reports, and other journals. In 2016 he received the George Fox University outstanding graduate faculty researcher award.  Johnson has led and participated in service and educational trips to Honduras, Kenya, Rwanda, New Zealand, China, and Brazil and has held volunteer leadership positions in a variety of religious and nonprofit organizations. In addition to  teaching and writing, he enjoys working out, reading, fly-fishing, watching sports, and spending time with family.

 

Review:

"Johnson’s revised and expanded edition of this popular and user-friendly textbook continues with the central themes and cases of the first edition, but provides new and relevant examples, original cases studies rooted in recent historical events, and an innovative focus on assessment that should prove helpful to both students and instructors. For readers familiar with the First Edition, this Second Edition is worth the additional investment. Every chapter has at least one new case study and previously cited 126 Book reviews cases have been updated. The relevance and utility of these cases cannot be overstated for they bring a practicality to the text that will make for lively discussion in the classroom.
Case studies illuminate ethical principles and lapses in events surrounding Enron, WorldCom, the World Trade Organization (WTO), Arthur Andersen, sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy, the Air Force Academy, and NASA among others. The cinema also provides a fertile area to tap by way of example, and Johnson mines films such as ′The Insider, The Gathering Storm, Dead Man Walking, The Pianist′ and ′Erin Brockovich ′to dramatise salient points. The variety of such broadly chosen examples, derived from current events, should help to make ethics come alive for students in ways that demonstrate the every day importance of ethical leadership.
The text is organised into four parts. Part One, ‘The shadow side of leadership’, relies on the Jungian construct of the shadow side of the personality, following the maxim, ‘the brighter the light, the larger the shadow’. Johnson believes that an effective way for leaders to understand how the shadow side might influence their behaviour is to acknowledge existence of shadows forthrightly. Typical shadows cast by leaders include: the abuse of power and privilege; deception; misplaced and broken loyalties; inconsistency and irresponsibility. Any reader with leadership responsibility or even enmeshed in a complex organisation may not be able to resist the temptation to begin self-analysis and organisational scrutiny immediately.
Part Two, ‘Looking inward’, the most appealing section for this reviewer, examines why it is that leaders often do more harm than good. The author proffers a variety of views on evil, both personal and systemic, and appeals to a model of forgiveness as a way to break the cycle of institutionalised evil. In response to the many patterns of evil easily discernible in the world, Johnson counsels spirituality and reflection, affirming the value of spiritual disciplines that most readers will find have some resonance with several religious traditions. The interdisciplinary approach here is appealing. Students from a variety of academic backgrounds will find something here that invites further reflection.
Part Three, ‘Ethical standards and strategies’, summarises and reviews selections from the knowledge base in ethical theory. Kant, Rawls and Mill are introduced. Discussion of James McGregor Burns, Rost and Greenleaf come in the chapter entitled ‘Normative leadership theories’. This section is unsatisfying in its quick treatment of major ethical treatises. Indeed, the introduction, analysis, comparison and critique of Kant’s categorical imperative are handled in less than two pages and several hundred words. Utilitarianism receives similar treatment. This material might suffice for an introductory course at an early, undergraduate level, but advanced undergraduates and graduate students will arguably require more detail, information and nuance.
Part Four, ‘Shaping ethical contexts’, concludes the text with a focus on group dynamics and building an ethical capacity in small groups. The ethical challenges inherent in cultural diversity round out the text, along with an admonition to be wary of ethnocentrism and prejudice.
As a classroom text for undergraduate courses in leadership and ethics, it is difficult to find a more comprehensive book that provides both the theoretical background and practical application of ethical theory in one place. Even with the caveat that some Book reviews 127 students will need a stronger intellectual framework, this is a valuable book. Instructors will find the text versatile in this regard, as its organisation allows for either a linear approach from beginning to end or a more creative, theme-based approach. A highly structured table of contents and a detailed subject/author index serve such an end well. A significant contribution to the pedagogy of ethics, this book should continue to enjoy wide usage and popularity."
(Dr Ronald J. Nuzzi Journal of Moral Education 2006-01-09)

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9781412964814: Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership: Casting Light or Shadow

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ISBN 10:  1412964814 ISBN 13:  9781412964814
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