Ethics play a key role in organizational leadership. Therefore, ethical leadership values ethics. As well, it fosters a culture and an environment that supports moral behaviors within organizations. It is applicable in healthcare management, organizational management, public administration, bioethics, and business ethics just to mention but a few (Carter, Urich & Goldsmith 2012). On the contrary, unethical leadership disregards ethics and instead indulges in unacceptable moral practices that are contrary to the organization culture.
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Examples of Ethical and Unethical Leadership that are related to Health Care
In health care, examples of ethical leadership are many. The first example is the availability of an environment that encourages open communication. This enables employees to freely comment on anything without fearing that their comments might be used against them. The second example is ethical decision-making.
Decision-making sometimes raises special ethical concerns in health care. Ethical leadership identifies these decisions, addresses them in a systematic manner, and provides an in-depth explanation to stakeholders why they arrived at such decisions (Carter, Urich & Goldsmith 2012). Additionally, an executive ethical leadership involves integrity, openness, personal morality and concern for people.
Another example of ethical leadership occurs when leaders uphold ethics, talk about them, and proves that ethics matter in healthcare. This leadership encourages employees to discuss ethical concerns in relation to organization culture. In summary, ethical leadership revolves around moral behaviors that are acceptable in the society.
On the other hand, unethical leadership involves immoral behaviors that leaders practice in an organization. Those behaviors include, lack of compassion and humanity, neglecting the duty of care, dishonesty, and many more others. In healthcare, there are three major unethical practices.
The first one is refusing to provide healthcare services to patients who do not have medical insurance. Some hospitals do not attend to or admit patients who lack medical insurance covers even if they need emergency treatment. Although this act is not illegal, it is unethical and portrays lack of human compassion.
Another unethical behavior is over treating patients to get more income. Thirdly, harassment and discrimination at workplace is an example of unethical leadership. It involves providing opportunities in employment basing on some other factors such as race, sex, national origin, age, and religion instead of merit. Unethical leadership reduces the effectiveness of an organization because it breaks the morale of employees (Carter, Urich & Goldsmith 2012).
Actions to increase Ethical Behavior and decrease Unethical Behavior
Organizations should design compliance programs that are aimed at preventing unethical conducts while promoting conformity with ethical standards or behaviors. Compliance and ethical programs will ensure that principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice, which are prone to violation by patients, the general public, and healthcare practitioners, are protected.
Moreover, ethical programs will help in upholding the values of an organization. Leaders should promote ethical consciousness in their originations by supporting and caring for ethical practices.
Top managers and their supervisors should have philosophies that focus on institutionalization of moral behaviors and practices that are linked with the organization culture (Carter, Urich & Goldsmith 2012). Organizing ethical trainings will help the employees to strengthen their ethical behavior awareness.
This will also reinforce their clarity of ethical framework and self-discipline especially when they are confronted with difficult circumstances that require them to make ethical decisions. Healthcare centers should define goals and performance appraisal mechanisms as well as conduct social audits for its employees. This will boost ethical behaviors and decrease unethical behaviors among organizations.
Carter, L., Urich, D., & Goldsmith, M. (2012). Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organizational Change: How the Best Companies ensure Meaningful Change and Sustainable Leadership. New York: John Willey & Sons.