The Relationship of Accountability, Stewardship, and Responsibility with Ethical Businesses

Scholars have recently considered ethical leadership from a new angle by examining servant leadership. Servant leaders go beyond their own self-interest and focus on the opportunities to help followers grow and develop. They do not use power to achieve rf ends; they emphasize persuasion. Characteristic behaviors include listening, empathizing, persuading, accepting stewardship, and actively developing followers’ potential. Because servant leadership focuses on serving the needs of others, research has focused on its outcomes for the well-being of followers. What are the effects of servant leadership? One study of 123 supervisors found it resulted in higher levels of commitment to the supervisor, self-efficacy, and perceptions of justice, which all were related to organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). This relationship between servant leadership and follower appears to be stronger when followers are focused on being dutiful and responsible. Second, servant leadership increases team potency (a belief that one’s team has above-average skills and abilities), which in turn leads to higher levels of group performance. Third, a study with a nationally representative sample of 250 workers found higher levels of citizenship associated with a focus on growth and advancement, which in turn was associated with higher levels of creative performance (Robbins and Judge, 2013). 

Responsibility for one’s education and work experience has also been found to be related to ethical behavior in organizations. Some studies reported positive influences between education or employment or work experience and ethical behavior. For example, some of those studies found that individuals in the latter years of their career displayed higher ethical judgment. The major argument is that, as one gains further experience and education, higher levels of moral reasoning are expected. This higher level of moral reasoning, in turn, leads to more ethical behavior.