What Does Ethical Followership Look Like?

JD Hancock (cc)

If your boss asked you to do something unethical, would you obey, or would you resist? According to a new article in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies,

Followers face ethical dilemmas when leaders approach them with inappropriate requests, such as asking them to engage in behaviors that are clearly unethical. In such situations, followers must make a decision: They can choose to stand up to the unethical request (e.g., by challenging the leader’s directive, refusing to engage in unethical behavior, or proposing alternative courses of action) or they can go along with the leader’s request, in essence becoming complicit with the unethical behavior. This choice will likely be associated with their beliefs about the follower role and how followers should interact with leaders.

Melissa K. Carsten of Winthrop University and Mary Uhl-Bien of the University of Nebraska published “Ethical Followership: An Examination of Followership Beliefs and Crimes of Obedience” on November 9, 2012 in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

JLOS seeks to advance the theory, research and practice of all aspects of leadership and organizations, covering topics such as organizational behavior, human resource management, strategy, international management, and entrepreneurship. You can get e-alerts about new research from the journal by clicking here.

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