Political Dilemma in America’s Leadership – Nu Leadership Series

“In the past a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people… they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.”
Ken Blanchard

As Congress scrambles, another ethical question looms. How does organization culture impact group behavior and ethical conduct? Organization culture plays a critical part in the current political fallout.

Let’s examine this thought closer. In September of this year, it was discovered that Rep. Mark Foley (FL) sent sexually explicit emails to male pages. It created a political A Bomb. Americans addressed another ethical issue among government leaders. In January, it was lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s scandal. With this new scandal, politicians were pointing fingers: “Who should have known?” It’s clear that people knew about Foley’s dark behavior, yet no one spoke up. What happened to moral standards?

Organization culture can often sway people’s opinions. Draft, an organization management expert, adds that organizational culture influences behaviors by creating acceptable responses. Many assume that Foley’s peers would have turned him in. On the contrary, this wasn’t the case. Ciulla, author of Ethics: The Heart of Leadership, maintains the more society sees leadership character flaws, the greater desire for more ethical leaders.

During campaigning, many people used this unethical crisis as political leverage. It turned Congress upside down. Some won. Others lost. However, until this organizational culture changes, America will continue to see a low expectation of ethical conduct from its political leaders.


Birnbaum, J. (October 11, 2006). Foley Dredges Up Scandal Problem for GOP. Received on October 13, 2006, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/11/AR2006101100779.html.

Ciulla, J.B. (1998). Ethics: The Heart of Leadership. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Draft (1995). Organization Theory and Design. New York: West Publishing Company.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green