The influence of ethical values on transformational leadership and ethical climate in organisations : an exploratory study

Scheps, Anja (2003-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South African organisations are facing fierce international competition, and to survive in the long-term it is necessary that they be led by leaders that will move them towards their vision in an ethical manner. While society condemns and the media extensively report fraud involving millions of rands by top executives, the truth of the matter is that more money is probably lost through low productivity, idleness and the wasting of resources through mismanagement (Mal an & Smit, 2001 ). In this study it is believed the cause of this problem is ultimately one of leadership. Leaders fail to direct and influence their subordinates to work with efficiency and integrity in order to achieve the organisation's objectives (Malan & Smit, 2001). Solutions for these problems must be found in order to build organisations that will prosper in the future. This study hopes to offer part of the solution. The main objective of this study was to establish whether there is a relationship between transformational leadership and the development of an ethical climate in organisations. One of the objectives of this study was to establish whether there was a direct relationship between altruism and transformational leadership. Another goal of this research was to establish whether integrity had a moderating effect on the relationship between transformational leadership and ethical climate. A model was developed to illustrate these relationships, which was tested in the South African context. A literature study of the role of transformational leadership, ethical values of altruism and integrity, and ethical climate in organisational performance was conducted. The relationship between these constructs has also been analysed in the literature study. A questionnaire consisting of five sections was compiled to test the hypotheses resulting from the structural models. These questionnaires were distributed to various organizations in the Cape Town area. The sample comprised 200 persons, each of whom had to complete the questionnaire. Section A was designed to give an indication of the demographics of the participants. Section B measured transformational leadership, based on Bass and Avolio's Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Section C was compiled in accordance with Victor & Cullen's Ethical Climate Questionnaire (ECQ), which measured respondents' perceptions of their work climate. Section D measured altruism, based on Langley's Value Scale. Section E measured integrity and was based on Butler's Conditions of Trust Inventory. The statistical analysis was conducted through correlation and regression analyses. The results revealed that altruism positively correlates with transformational leadership, and that transformational leadership in turn has a positive relationship with ethical climate. No convincing empirical support could be found for the proposition that integrity moderated the effect of leadership on ethical climate. However, many new and interesting insights were gained through the results. Conclusions were drawn from the results obtained and recommendations are made for future research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrikaanse organisasies staar strawwe internasionale kompetisie in die gesig. Om in die langtermyn te oorleef, is dit nodig dat hulle gelei word deur organisatoriese leiers wat hulle op 'n etiese wyse na hul strategiese doelwitte sal lei. Alhoewel die gemeenskap miljoene rande se bedrog deur topbestuurders veroordeel en die media ekstensief daaroor verslag lewer, is dit 'n feit dat meer geld waarskynlik verloor word deur lae produktiwiteit, sloerdery en die vermorsing van hulpbronne as gevolg van wanbestuur (Malan & Smit, 2001 ). Met hierdie studie word aangevoer dat die oorsaak van hierdie probleem uiteindelik een van leierskap is. Leiers misluk om hul ondergeskiktes te bestuur en te be'invloed om sodoende effektief en met integriteit op te tree, ten einde die organisasie se doelwitte te bereik (Malan & Smit, 2001 ). Oplossings moet vir hierdie probleme gevind word ten einde organisasies te bou wat in die toekoms sal floreer. Hierdie studie poog om voorstelle te maak om hierdie probleme te help oplos. Die hoofdoelwit vir hierdie studie was om vas te stel of daar 'n verband tussen transformasionele leierskap en die ontwikkeling van 'n etiese klimaat in organisasies is. Een van die doelwitte van hierdie studie was om te bepaal of daar 'n direkte verband tussen altru'isme en transformasionele leierskap is. 'n Verdere doelwit was om te bepaal of integriteit 'n modererende effek op die verband tussen transformasionele leierskap en 'n etiese klimaat het. 'n Model is ontwikkel om hierdie verwantskappe te illustreer, en is in die SuidAfrikaanse konteks getoets. 'n Literatuurstudie oor die rol van etiese waardes, veral die kernwaardes van altru'isme en integriteit, transformasionele leierskap en 'n etiese organisasieklimaat in organisatoriese prestasie is onderneem. Die verband tussen hierdie konsepte is ook in die literatuurstudie ontleed. 'n Vraelys, bestaande uit vyf afdelings, is opgestel om die hipoteses voortvloeiend uit die strukturele modelle te toets. Hierdie vraelyste is uitgedeel aan verskillende organisasies in die Kaapstad-omgewing. Die steekproef het uit 200 mense bestaan. Afdeling A van die vraelys was ontwerp om 'n aanduiding van die demografie van die respondente te gee. Afdeling B het transformasionele leierskap gemeet, gebaseer op Bass en Avolio se 'Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire' (MLQ). Afdeling C was opgestel in terme van Victor en Cullen se 'Ethical Climate Questionnaire' (ECQ), wat respondente se indrukke van hulle werksklimaat gemeet het. Afdeling D het altru'isme gemeet, gebaseer op Langley se 'Value Scale.' Afdeling E het integriteit gemeet en het Butler se 'Conditions of Trust Inventory' as basis gebruik. Die statistiese analise was uitgevoer deur middel van korrelasie- en regressieontledings. Die resultate het getoon dat altru·isme positief met transformasionele leierskap korreleer en dat transformasionele leierskap op sy beurt 'n positiewe verband met etiese klimaat toon. Geen oortuigende empiriese gronde kon gevind word vir die stelling dat integriteit die effek van leierskap op etiese klimaat modereer nie. Die resultate het nietemin heelwat nuwe en interessante insigte aan die lig gebring.

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