The Nature of Federal Organizations – Nu Leadership Series

Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. The sin is limitations. As soon as you once come up to a man’s limitations, it is all over with him.

Emerson

Some students may ponder the application the application of organizational theory in the public environment. However, government organizations follow similar characteristics as other individuals in group dynamics and organizational behavior. Each party expects each congressperson to follow the party line. Sometimes this blind obedience leads to going against one’s principles. Obviously, this is done with transactional relationships with peers. However, author Cuilla maintains that coercion is not true leadership. She also argues that ethics is at the heart of good leadership. If one takes these thoughts, the question becomes, how can any good leader blindly follow any group or party?

Good leaders never leave home without their integrity. Character does count and is at the heart of ethics. Ethics is defined as the code of moral principles that governs the behavior of a person or group to what is right. Each individual brings his or her own personal beliefs into the workplace. Leaders are not an exception. An individual’s family background, traditions, spiritual values, and experiences impact how the make moral
decisions. People will not respect a leader who is low in character. In the long run, character does count in an effective organization. Draft, an organization management expert, explains that leaders at the highest management levels develop internal moral standards that can often allow them to break laws if necessary.

What is the price of surrendering one’s core values? According to Kurtz, a highly integrated organizational culture can have significant implications for making decisions in a crisis. Effective leaders must model proper value conduct. Conflicts arise when individuals have differing values in organizations. In many organizations, senior leaders battle for organizational power at any cost. Obviously, the casualties are the followers, and the damage is to the organizational culture.

References:

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

Draft, R. (1995). Organization Theory & Design. Congress gets low ratings on ethics, honesty.

King, S. (2006). The Moral Manager. Public Integrity. 8(2), pp.113-133.
© 2007 by Daryl D. Green