Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 125–137 | Cite as

Leadership, Ethics and Responsibility to the Other

  • David KnightsEmail author
  • Majella O’Leary


Of recent time, there has been a proliferation of concerns with ethical leadership within corporate business not least because of the numerous scandals at Enron, Worldcom, Parmalat, and two major Irish banks – Allied Irish Bank (AIB) and National Irish Bank (NIB). These have not only threatened the position of many senior corporate managers but also the financial survival of some of the companies over which they preside. Some authors have attributed these scandals to the pre-eminence of a focus on increasing shareholder value in Western business schools and/or to their failure to inculcate ethical standards. In this paper, we challenge these accounts and the aetiological view of knowledge from which they derive but are grateful for the consensus that they convey regarding the importance of business ethics. The paper focuses on different approaches to ethical leadership concluding with a view that some hybrid of MacIntyre’s virtue ethics and Levinas’s ethics of responsibility may serve as an inspiration for both educators and practitioners.


corporate scandals ethical leadership ethics of responsibility. 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economic and Management StudiesUniversity of KeeleNewcastle-under-LymeU.K.

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