Ethical Leadership Crisis

In each leadership position, ethics and morals are paramount.

The current South Korean president, Park Geun-Hye, is dealing with an ethical dilemma primarily based on her involvement with an aide who did not hold any governmental position, however went ahead and sought financial donation from commercial enterprise conglomerates. On December 9th, 2016, the South Korean parliament passed a bill to impeach the president and the speaker authorised a 180 days long suspension from her authentic duties (Park and Kim).

Thesis Statement

This paper is an argument that ethical worries raised against political leaders can be misrepresented, false, and inaccurate; and can therefore be solved by using maintaining an honest stand.

Literature review

Unethical offers have cost many prominent leaders from many parts of the world. In fact, two female presidents, the (South Korean and the Brazilian presidents), who have recently been associated with ethical issues in the past have been forced to step aside for investigations. The South Korean president’s close aide, the 60-year old Choi was accused of soliciting approximately 70 million dollars from huge corporations and businesses. Before she could defend herself the public engaged in demonstrations in which they demanded her resignation from office.

Crisis of ethical leadership

From the utilitarian perspective, ethical leadership refers the indulgence in activities which cause happiness and satisfaction to the majority. An ethical crisis in accordance to this definition is the absolute contrary, which are actions which are contrary to the will of the majority. From the Park Geun-Hye example, the majority are the citizens of South Korea. Despite the fact that they expect all public offices to be held by persons of integrity, her aide does not demonstrate this. The fact that she was associated to her and did not hold a public office despite being powerful to make critical economic decisions such as raising money from Korean businesses made the public doubt the president’s involvement. Since Choi had a personal relationship with the president, the people viewed the prior decision of the president to involve her in political and economic issues despite being of questionable character as corrupt and incompetent.

Leadership crisis consequence in an organization

Many ethical related circumstances can be encountered in the workplace. In most organizations and states, the involved individuals are required to step aside for investigations. After they are it is decided from evidence whether they are guilty or not, appropriate measures are taken for deterrence, especially if the person involved is guilty. Regardless of the nature of the ethical crisis, it is necessary for everyone to assume the individual as innocent before being proved guilty. However, in most scenarios, this is not the case. The organizational impacts of ethical crises are in most times very harsh. The previous occupation of the individual is in jeopardy after being associated with an ethical malpractice even after they proof their critics wrong. This costs the organization resourceful employees.


When addressing ethical issues on a corporate level, most organizations make group decisions led by top executives (Mitchell and Mitchell 66). Ethical leadership requires that the organization and its environment affiliates as together in accomplishing organizational objectives. This aspect is however lost when the leader incorporates consideration in a particular class of employee and disregard the other class. A leader only considers a particular region to be effective in accomplishing a particular task, this is however very dangerous as it can lead to a decay of an organization (Mendonca and Kanungo 67). Research into leadership from the 1950s until the 1980s was mostly concerned with middle managers. Theorists turned their attention to top managers from the 1980s, but there is controversy in leadership literature regarding whether executives have much impact on the effectiveness of an organization. The book also looks at strategic leadership and top management and considerations of external and internal constraints, ( The degree of discretion a leader has the bias of attributions and the effectiveness of executive teams. Research shows that chief executives have the most impact in a crisis, and the monitoring of the environment by executives is considered essential in the formulation of organizational strategy.

Leadership capabilities

No matter what crisis an organization is facing, it is clear that the managers and top leaders need to show several competencies in leadership skills (Modern Survey - Employee Engagement Software & Talent Analytics). A leader could come up with an almost endless list of skills and personality strengths that a leader needs when managing a crisis. Any political arena needs to address come common leadership qualities to its public so that the entire organization can learn and admire the work of their strategic plan. Not all leaders utilize this ability to ensure that all sectors of a state receive equal distribution of concerns (Neider and Schriesheim 100). Organizations ought to adopt a team oriented approach in making crucial decisions any aspect regarding the organization to prevent the making of wrong decisions. In this regard, the South Korean president evidently failed to observe the need for comprehensive team leadership by allowing her aide to oversee activities of such gravity. In addition, to this, she should have observed teamwork in deciding on the most appropriate person to oversee the task.

Composure and Political Perception

All leaders, whether they are dealing with the media, managing a crisis team, reassuring employees or making tough decisions or need to have personalities that keep them cool under pressure and yet engaged in the many moving pieces involved with any crisis. Everyone is watching, from employees to investors, (Modern Survey - Employee Engagement Software & Talent Analytics). Being courageous and positive goes a long way. It sends a message to everyone that you are in front. Crisis management is about being in front of the crisis as opposed to being behind or reactive. As leaders in crisis situations make decisions on how to move forward, they need to be comfortable with what they are doing. Leaders need to realize that ‘no decision’ is a decision. Even having an imperfect decision is better than no decision; it can always be fine-tuned, (Modern Survey - Employee Engagement Software & Talent Analytics).


Communication implies the word used for communication which literally means to persuade. It is the idea of creating confidence. Communication is an essential aspect of leadership and more so in the advent of ethical crises. The lack of proper communication channels can lead to misunderstandings, misconceptions, and unnecessary wrangles. Therefore, leaders ought to learn the skillful use of words. Communication is more profound art that involves getting across to one's colleagues and opponents as well (Starratt 78). There are usually more silver tongues operators that are distinguished but a few who are communicated with has got more skills. Communicating an effective idea to a group of people requires a lot of competence. Any single data passed across a particular is usually very sensitive and should utilize common objective in the mindset of the target party. Becoming so obsessed with details that you lose the big picture. There are always details that need legitimate attention. But great leaders know that to get bogged down in all the details and minutia is a waste of time, energy and productivity. Getting stuck in the details will cost you big-picture success ( regarding Parks case, she should use the appropriate communication channels to convince both the public and other interested of her actions and stand, as this is the only way she can clear her name.


Courage is not the complete absence of fear, but ability to tame fear. Leaders should exhibit courage during crises by taking the much dreaded, but necessary action regardless of the impacts. All managers have courage but courage is seldom inexhaustible. There is a danger in labeling people and putting them into a box when you haven’t had a chance to take in their complexity. How can you truly get to know people if your mindset has already told you who they are? Give people a chance to reveal, and sometimes surprise you with, whom they are really are, ( In the case described above, the relevant stakeholders to report the malpractices of Choi exhibited high levels of courage. Also, the president ought to be courageous enough to speak her stand without fear of the consequences.


As argued above, it is hard to determine whether the president was aware of Choi’s actions, and whether she directly advised her to engage in the same. Although this may sound as a sound justification, it is not satisfactory. The president as a competent leader should have followed the available protocol, procedures and constitutional requirements of exempting those who do not hold certain positions, or those who are not satisfactorily ethical from crucial functions. This paper is a summarization of empirical data derived from various works accomplished in the past and the opinions of ethical experts. Further research can be done on the missing mediating variables necessary to explain leadership influence on individuals, group processes and organizational effectiveness.

Works Cited

Ashman, Ian. Ethical Leadership. Henry Stewart Talks, 2011. Print.

"Ethical Leadership - Solomon Star." Solomon Islands Leading Daily Newspaper - Solomon Star News - Solomon Star, Print.

Grace, Bill. Ethical Leadership. Centre for Ethical Leadership, 1999. Print.

Lashway, Larry. Ethical Leadership. U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Educational Resources Information Center, 1996. Print.

Mendonca, Manuel, and Rabindra N. Kanungo. Ethical Leadership. McGraw-Hill/Open UP, 2007. Print.

Mitchell, James A, and Linda R. Mitchell. Perspectives on Ethical Leadership. The American College, 2009. Print.

Modern Survey - Employee Engagement Software & Talent Analytics,,

Neider, Linda L, and Chester Schriesheim. Advances in Authentic and Ethical Leadership. 2014. Print.

Park, Ju-min and Kim, Jack. South Korean parliament votes overwhelmingly to impeach President Park. 9 Dec, 2016. Web.

Starratt, Robert J. Ethical Leadership. Jossey-Bass, 2004. Print.

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