Topic: Ethics, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Business Ethics (2010)
Article: Ethical leadership and global citizenship: Considerations for a just and sustainable future
Authors: Deborah C. Poff
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock
In a scathing critique of global capitalism and its effects on social, economic, and environmental justice, Poff (2010) lays out the argument for a realignment of values. The problems associated with global capitalism, Poff argues, are numerous. It threatens the environment in order to support the massive production of material goods, its problems are being used by charismatic extremists to win over the populations of developing nations, and the tenets of consumerism are distorting values towards possession of material goods over quality relationships and meaningful pursuits. How, then, is the world to shift away from such a destructive course? Through a massive realignment of values; championed by ethical leaders in business, education, and government.
According to Poff, we are at war with our current value system. This system tells us: “that we are what we wear, what we drive, where we live and that what we own reflects what we are worth” (Poff, 2010, p. 10). She warns that these values have been reflected in business, where recently leaders of organizations like Enron and Worldcom have chased the drive for profits to an excess that breaks with ethical norms. Given that leadership to a large extent influences organizational culture and normative behavior, it is important that global leaders have a strong moral and ethical compass.