360    Leadership Theory and Practice

 

 

Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire (Short Form)

 

Instructions: Please read the following 10 hypothetical situations in which a leader is confronted with an ethical dilemma. Place yourself in the role of the leader or manager in the situation and indicate with an “X” your most pre-ferred response. Your most preferred response is the response that best describes why you would do what you would do in that particular situation. Choose only one response. There are no right or wrong answers.

 

Response alternatives explained:

 

  • I would do what is right: This option includes following the rules, meet-ing my responsibilities, fulfilling my obligations, and adhering to organi-zation policy. Rules in this context may be explicit or implicit.

 

  • I would do what benefits the most people: This option includes doing what helps the most people overall and what creates the greatest total happi-ness. It also includes doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

 

  • I would do what a good person would do: This option includes exhibit-ing excellence of character, acting with integrity, and being faithful to one’s principles. This option includes employing virtues such as courage, honesty, and loyalty.

 

  • I would do what shows that I care about my close relationships: This option includes building and maintaining caring relationships, nurtur-ing relationships, and being responsive to the needs of others. It gives special consideration to those with whom I share a personal bond or commitment.

 

  • I would do what benefits me the most: This option includes achieving my goals, being successful in my assigned task, and advancing my career. It also includes doing things that are in my self-interest.

 

  • I would do what is fair: This option includes acting with justice, being equitable to others, and treating others fairly. It also includes distributing benefits and burdens to everyone equally.

 

Situations

 

  • 1. You are the leader of a manufacturing team and learn that youremployees are falsifying product quality results to sell more products. If you report the matter, most of them will lose their jobs, you may lose yours, and your company will take a significant hit to its reputation. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 2.  You have an employee who has been having performance problems, which is making it hard for your group to meet its work quota. This person was recommended to you as a solid performer. You now believe

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the person’s former manager had problems with the employee and just wanted to get rid of the person. If you give the underperforming employee a good recommendation, leaving out the performance prob-lems, you will have an opportunity to pass the employee off to another group. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 3. Your team is hard-pressed to complete a critical project. You hear about a job opening that would be much better for one of your key employees’ career. If this individual leaves the team, it would put the project in danger. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 4. An employee of yours has a child with a serious illness and is having trouble fulfilling obligations at work. You learn from your administra-tive assistant that this employee claimed 40 hours on a time sheet for a week when the employee actually only worked 30 hours. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 5. You are a manager, and some of your employees can finish their quo-tas in much less than the allotted time to do so. If upper management becomes aware of this, they will want you to increase the quotas. Some of your employees are unable to meet their current quotas. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

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  • 6. You are an organization’s chief financial officer, and you are aware that the chief executive officer and other members of the senior leadership team want to provide exaggerated financial information to keep the company’s stock price high. The entire senior management team holds significant stock positions. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 7.  Two new employees have joined your accounting team right out of school. They are regularly found surfing the Internet or texting on their phones. Your accounting work regularly requires overtime at the end of the month to get the financial reports completed. These employees refuse to do any overtime, which shifts work to other team members. The other team mem-bers are getting resentful and upset. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 8. You are the director of a neighborhood food cooperative. A member— a single parent with four children—is caught shoplifting $30 in grocer-ies from the co-op. You suspect this person has been stealing for years. You consider pressing charges. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  • 9. You have been accused of discriminating against a particular genderin your hiring practices. A new position opens up, and you could hire a candidate of the gender you’ve been accused of discriminating against over a candidate of another gender, even though the latter candidate has slightly better qualifications. Hiring the former candidate would let you address this accusation and improve your reputation in the com-pany. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

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  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

  1. You are a professor. One of your best students buys an essay online and turns it in for a grade. Later in the term, the student begins to feel guilty and confesses to you that the paper was purchased. It is the norm at the university to fail a student guilty of plagiarism. You must decide if you will flunk the student. What would you do in this situation?

 

  • A. I would do what is right.

 

  • B. I would do what benefits the most people.

 

  • C. I would do what a good person would do.

 

  • D. I would do what shows that I care about my relationships.

 

  • E. I would do what benefits me the most.

 

  • F. I would do what is fair.

 

Scoring

 

To score the questionnaire, sum the number of times you selected item A, B, C, D, E, or F. The sum of A responses represents your preference for Duty Ethics, the sum of B responses represents your preference for Utilitarian Ethics, the sum of C responses represents your preference for Virtue Ethics, the sum of D responses represents your preference for Caring Ethics, the sum of E responses represents your preference for Egoism Ethics, and the sum of F responses represents your preference for Justice Ethics. Place these sums in the Total Scores section that follows.

 

  1. Duty Ethics: __________

 

  1. Utilitarian Ethics: __________

 

  1. Virtue Ethics: __________

 

  1. Caring Ethics: __________

 

  1. Egoism Ethics: __________

 

  1. Justice Ethics: __________

 

Scoring Interpretation

 

The scores you received on this questionnaire provide information about your ethical leadership style; they represent your preferred way of addressing eth-ical dilemmas. Given a situation with an ethical dilemma, this questionnaire points to what ethical perspective is behind the choices you would make to resolve the dilemma. As you look at your total scores, your highest score rep-resents your primary or dominant ethical leadership style, your second-highest score is the next most important, and so on. If you scored 0 for a category, it means that you put lower priority on that particular ethical approach to guide your decision making when facing ethical dilemmas.

 

  • If you scored higher on Duty Ethics, it means you follow the rules and do what you think you are supposed to do when facing ethical dilemmas.

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You focus on fulfilling your responsibilities and doing what you think is the right thing to do.

 

  • If you scored higher on Utilitarian Ethics, it means you try to do what is best for the most people overall when facing ethical dilemmas. You focus on what will create happiness for the largest number of individuals.

 

  • If you scored higher on Virtue Ethics, it means that you pull from who you are (your character) when facing ethical dilemmas. You act out of integ-rity, and you are faithful to your own principles of goodness.

 

  • If you scored higher on Caring Ethics, it means that you give attention to your relationships when facing ethical dilemmas. You may give special con-sideration to those with whom you share a personal bond or commitment.

 

  • If you scored higher on Egoism Ethics, it means that you do what is best for yourself when facing ethical dilemmas. You are not afraid to assert your own interests and goals when resolving problems.

 

  • If you scored higher on Justice Ethics, it means that you focus on treating others fairly when facing ethical dilemmas. You try to make sure the benefits and burdens of decisions are shared equitably between everyone concerned.

 

Comparing your scores regarding each of these ethical perspectives can give you a sense of what is important to you when addressing an ethical concern. A low score in any of the categories suggests that you give less priority to that ethical perspective. All of the ethical perspectives have merit, so there is no “best” perspective to maintain.

 

This questionnaire is intended as a self-assessment exercise. Although each ethical approach is presented as a discrete category, it is possible that one category may overlap with another category. It is also possible that you may have an ethical leadership style that is not fully captured in this question-naire. Since this questionnaire is an abridged version of an expanded ques-tionnaire, you may wish to take the full questionnaire to gain a more accurate reflection of your ethical approach. 

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