Ethical Leadership

What is it about power and success that creates ethical challenges for leaders? Why should a leader be ethical? What virtues do governmental leaders portray? What is the relationship between feelings and morality? Are there standards of right and wrong that apply everywhere, regardless of cultural practice? How do we make ethical judgments in and about foreign cultures? What are our ethical obligations to people from other cultures? Should moral characteristics apply to leaders and leadership everywhere? What is charisma and why are some people so obsessed with it as a quality of leadership? What is the difference between a leader and a celebrity? What are the dangers of charismatic leaders? Can followers be held accountable for their leader’s actions?

In this course, students learn the interconnectedness of leadership and ethics. We examine the ethical background of what leaders are, what they do, and how they do it. Students assess the public and private morality of leaders, the moral obligations of leaders and followers, the ways in which leaders shape the moral environment of their environments, and the temptations of power. This course looks at how leaders convey values through their actions (and inactions), language, and their power and influence as role models. The course aims to expand students’ moral point of view by first considering personal ethics, then moving on to look at leadership and the common good, and finishing with an examination of ethics in a global community


  • Brightest and Best play
  • Visit Occupy Finsbury Square protest
  • Viewing Food, Inc., documentary and Battle for Seattle movie
  • Rachel Carson Memorial Lecture: “Ending the era of ecocide”


Ethical Leadership