|Joanne Ciulla is Professor and Director of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School. She also had academic appointments at Harvard, Wharton, and the University of Richmond and was the UNESCO Chair in Leadership Studies. With a Ph.D. in philosophy, Ciulla studies ethics in leadership and business. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards for her scholarship from the International Leadership Association, the Society for Business Ethics, and the Network of Leadership Scholars. Ciulla was president of the International Society of Business, Ethics and Economics and the Society for Business Ethics and has worked internationally with universities, businesses, and governments.|
The real question about leadership is not “What is an ethical leader?” Instead, the question is, “Why is it difficult to be an ethical leader?” The answer to this question is inherent in the nature of a leader’s job, where there are often conflicts between ethical behaviour and effective behaviour. The moral problems of leadership also stem from the socially constructed ideas that people have about leaders and followers. We might all make a similar list of the ethical qualities we want in leaders, but why do leaders continue to have the same moral failures over time and across cultures and contexts? The talk takes a historical approach to identifying the ethical problems unique to people in leadership roles, such as power, success, ego, privilege, self-interest and knowledge, and caring.