Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 90, Supplement 3, pp 393–406 | Cite as

Identity, Self-Awareness, and Self-Deception: Ethical Implications for Leaders and Organizations

  • Cam CaldwellEmail author
Article

Abstract

The ability of leaders to be perceived as trustworthy and to develop authentic and effective relationships is largely a function of their personal identities and their self-awareness in understanding and making accommodations for their weaknesses. The research about self-deception confirms that we often practice denial regarding our identities without being fully aware of the ethical duties that we owe to ourselves and to others. This article offers insights about the nature of identity and self-awareness, specifically examining how self-deception can create barriers to self-awareness within both a personal and a business context.

Keywords

identity self-deception self-awareness ethical leadership mediating lens emotional intelligence 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ackerman, L., (2005). The Identity Code: The 8 Essential Questions for Finding Your Purpose and Place in the World. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  2. Albert, S., and D. A. Whetten, (1985) ‘Organizational Identity’, in L. L. Cummings and M. M. Staw (eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol 7 (JAI Press, Greenwich, CT) pp. 263-295.Google Scholar
  3. Albrecht, K. (2006). Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Aquino, K. and A. Reed II: 2002, ‘The Self-Importance of Moral Identity,’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83(6), 1423-1440.Google Scholar
  5. Arbinger Institute: 2000, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA).Google Scholar
  6. Arbinger Institute (2002). Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box. Berkeley, CA: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  7. Ashford, S. J., (1989). “Self-Assessments in Organizations, A Literature Review and Integrative Model.” Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 11, pp. 133-174.Google Scholar
  8. Ashforth, B. E., and Johnson, S. A., (2001). “Which Hat to Wear? The Relative Salience of Multiple Identities in Organizational Contexts.” In M. A. Hogg & D. J. Terry (Eds.) Social Identity Processes in Organizational Contexts. Philadelphia: Psychology Press, pp. 31-48.Google Scholar
  9. Baumeister, R. F., (1998). “The Self” in Gilbert, D. T., Fiske, S. T., and Lindzey, G. (Eds.) The Handbook of Social Psychology, 4th Ed., New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 680-740.Google Scholar
  10. Berger, I. E., Cunningham, P. H., and Drumwright, M. E., (2006). “Identity, Identification, and Relationship Through Social Alliances.” Academy of Marketing Science Journal, Vol. 34, Iss. 2, pp 128-137.Google Scholar
  11. Boyatzis, R. E., and Akrivou, K. (2006). The Ideal Self as the Driver of Intentional Change. Journal of Management Development, 25(7), 624–642Google Scholar
  12. Boyatzis, R, E, and McKee, A. (2005) Resonant Leadership. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  13. Brewer. M. B., and Gardner, W., (1996). “Who is this “We”?: Levels of Collective Identity and Self-Representations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 71, pp. 83-93.Google Scholar
  14. Brower, P. J., (1964). “The Power to See Ourselves.” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 42, pp. 156-165.Google Scholar
  15. Brown, A. D., and Starkey, K., (2000). “Organizational Identity and Learning: A Psychodynamic Perspective.” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 102-120.Google Scholar
  16. Buber, M., (1971). I and Thou. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  17. Buber, M. (1980). Good and Evil. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  18. Burke, P. J.: 1991, ‘Identity Processes and Social Stress’, American Sociological Review 62(1), 134-150Google Scholar
  19. Burke, P. J., and Reitzes, D. C., (1981). “The Link between Identity and Role Performance.” Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 83-92.Google Scholar
  20. Burke, P. J., and Tully, J. (1977). “The Measurement of Role/Identity.” Social Forces, Vol. 55, pp. 880-897.Google Scholar
  21. Caldwell, C., Bischoff, S. J., and Karri, R. March, 2002. “The Four Umpires: A Paradigm for Ethical Leadership,” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 36, Iss. 1/2, pp. 153-163.Google Scholar
  22. Caldwell, C. and S. Clapham: 2003, ‘Organizational Trustworthiness: An International Perspective’, Journal of Business Ethics 47(4), 349-364.Google Scholar
  23. Caldwell, C., and Hayes, L., (2007) “Leadership, Trustworthiness, and the Mediating Lens.” Journal of Management Development. Vol. 26, Iss. 3, pp. 261-278.Google Scholar
  24. Caldwell, C., Hayes, L., Bernal, P., and Karri, R., 2008. “Ethical Stewardship: The Role of Leadership Behavior and Perceived Trustworthiness.” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 78, Iss. 1/2, pp. 153-164.Google Scholar
  25. Carver, C. S., and Scheier, M. F. (1981). Attention and Self-Regulation: A Control-Theory Approach to Human Behavior. New York:Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  26. Carver, C. S., and Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the Self-Regulation of Behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Cole, D. W., (1980). Professional Suicide. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  28. Collins, J., 2001. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leapand Others Don’t. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  29. Collins, J., and Porras, J. I. (2004) Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. New York: HarperCollins Publishing.Google Scholar
  30. Cooper, R. K., & Sawaf, A., (1997.) Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  31. Covey, S. R. (2004) The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  32. Creed, W. E. D., and Miles, R. E., 1996. “Trust in Organizations: A Conceptual Framework Linking Organizational Forms, Managerial Philosophies, and the Opportunity Costs of Controls,” in R. M. Kramer and T. R. Tyler, Trust in Organizations: Frontiers of Theory and Research,. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 16-38.Google Scholar
  33. Depree, M. (2004). Leadership is an Art. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  34. Dickerson, S. S., and Kemeny, M., (2004). “Acute Stressors and Cortisol Responses: A Theoretical Integration and Synthesis of Laboratory Research.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 3, pp. 355-391.Google Scholar
  35. Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Finagrette, H., (2000). Self-Deception. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  37. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. 1975. Belief, Attitude, Intention, and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  38. Fletcher, C., and Bailey, C., (2003). “Assessing Self-Awareness: Some Issues and Methods.” Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 18, Iss. 5, pp 395-404.Google Scholar
  39. Flynn, F. J. (2005). “Identity Orientations and Forms of Social Exchange in Organizations.” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp 737-750.Google Scholar
  40. George, B., Sims, P, McLean, A. N., and Mayer, D. (2007). “Discovering Your Authentic Leadership.” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 85, Iss .2, pp. 129-138.Google Scholar
  41. Gilovich, T., (1991). How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  42. Goffee, R. and G. Jones: 2006, ‘The Route to Authentic Leadership’, Training Journal Nov., 31–34Google Scholar
  43. Goleman, D. (1985). Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  44. Goleman, D. (2006a), Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. New York: Bantam Publishing.Google Scholar
  45. Goleman, D. (2006b). Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York: Bantam Publishing.Google Scholar
  46. Goleman, D. Boyatzis, R., & McKie, A., 2002. Primal Leadership. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  47. Greenberg, J. S., (1985). Health and Wellness: A Conceptual Differentiation. Journal of School Health. Vol. 55, pp. 403-406.Google Scholar
  48. Hafner, M., (2004). “How Dissimilar Others May Still Resemble the Self: Assimilation and Contrast after Social Comparison.” Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 14, Iss. 1 & 2, pp. 187-196.Google Scholar
  49. Hart, D., (2005). “The Development of Moral Identity.” Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Vol. 51, pp. 165-196.Google Scholar
  50. Horowitz, M., (1983). “Psychological Response to Serious Life Events.” In Shlomo Breznitz, (Ed.) The Denial of Stress. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  51. Hosmer, L. T., (1995). “Trust: The Connecting Link between Organizational Theory and Philosophical Ethics.” Academy of Management Review, Vol 20, Iss. 2, pp 379-403.Google Scholar
  52. Hosmer, L. T., (1996). The Ethics of Management. Chicago, IL: Irwin.Google Scholar
  53. Hosmer, L. T.: 2007, The Ethics of Management 6th Edition (McGraw-Hill, New York).Google Scholar
  54. Joseph, E. E., and Winston, B. E., (2005). “A Correlation of Servant Leadership, Leader Trust, and Organizational Trust. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 26, Iss. 1/2, pp. 6-22.Google Scholar
  55. Josselson, R.: 1994, ‘The Theory of Identity Development and the Question of Intervention: An Introduction’, in S. L. Archer (ed.), Interventions for Adolescent Identity Development (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA), pp. 12-25.Google Scholar
  56. Jun, J.: 2005, ‘The Self in the Social Construction of Organizational Reality: Eastern and Western Views’, Administrative Theory & Praxis 27(1), 86-111.Google Scholar
  57. Kierkegaard, S.: 1959, Either/Or, Vol. II, W. Lowrie, Trans (Anchor Books, New York)Google Scholar
  58. Kouzes, J. M, & Posner, B. Z. (2003). Credibility: How Leaders Gain It and Lose It, Why People Demand It (2nd edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  59. Kouzes, J. and B. Posner: 2007, ‘Credibility’, Leadership Excellence 24(11), 7-8.Google Scholar
  60. Kunda, Z. (1990). “The Case for Motivated Reasoning.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 108, pp. 480-498.Google Scholar
  61. Kurpis, L., Beqiri, M., and Helgeson, J., (2008). “The Effects of Commitment to Moral Self-Improvement and Religiosity on Ethics of Business Students.” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 80, Iss. 3, pp. 447-463.Google Scholar
  62. Langer, E., (1999). “Self-Esteem vs. Self-Respect.” Psychology Today, Vol. 32, Iss. 6, p.. 32.Google Scholar
  63. Lennick, D., and Kiel, F., (2008). Moral Intelligence: Enhancing Business Performance & Leadership Success. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing.Google Scholar
  64. Litz, R. A., (2003). “Cheating at Solitaire: Self-Deception, Executive Mental Health, and Organizational Performance.” Business & Society Review, Vol. 108, Iss. 2, pp. 235-261.Google Scholar
  65. Lyubomirsky, S., Tkach, C., and DiMatteo, M. R., (2006). “What are the Differences between Happiness and Self-Esteem.” Social Indicators Research, Vol. 78, Iss. 3, pp. 363-382.Google Scholar
  66. Maslow, A. H., (1962). Toward a Psychology of Being, Princeton, NJ:D. Von Nostrand Company.Google Scholar
  67. Mayer, R.C., Davis, J. H., and Schoorman, F. D. (1995). “An Integration Model of Organizational Trust.” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 20, Iss. 3, pp. 709-729.Google Scholar
  68. Mele, A. R. (2001). Self-Deception Unmasked. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Morris, J. A., Brotheridge, C. M., and Urbanski, J. C., (2005). “Bringing Humility to Leadership: Antecedents and Consequences of Leader Humility.” Human Relations, Vol. 58, Iss. 10, pp. 1323-1350.Google Scholar
  70. Moshavl, D., Brown, F. W., and Dodd, N. G. (2003). “Leader Self-Awareness and its Relationship to Subordinate Attitudes and Performance.” Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 24, Iss. 7/8, pp. 407-418.Google Scholar
  71. Moss, S. E., and Sanchez, J. I. (2004). “Are Your Employees Avoiding You? Managerial Strategies for Closing the Feedback Gap.” Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 32-44.Google Scholar
  72. Neck, C. P., and Houghton, J. D., (2006). “Two Decades of Self-Leadership Theory and Research; Past Developments, Present Trends, and Future Possibilities.” Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 21, Iss. 4, pp. 270-295.Google Scholar
  73. Newman, L. S., (1999). “Motivated Cognition and Self-Deception. Psychological Inquiry. Vol. 10, Iss. 1, p. 59-63.Google Scholar
  74. Oettingen, G. (1996). “Positive Fantasies and Motivation,” in Gollwitzer, P. M. and Bargh, J. A., The Psychology of Action: Linking Cognition and Motivation to Behavior. New York:Guilford, pp 236-259.Google Scholar
  75. Peck, M. S., (1983). People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  76. Peck, M. S., (1998). The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  77. Pfeffer, J. (1998). The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Powers, W. T., (1973). Behavior: The Control of Perception. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  79. Reed, A., K. Aquino and E. Levy: 2007, ‘Moral Identity and Judgments of Charitable Behaviors’, Journal of Marketing 71(1), 178-193.Google Scholar
  80. Reid, A., and Deaux, K. (1996). “Relationship between Social and Personal Identities: Segregation or Integration?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 71, Iss. 6, pp. 1084-1091.Google Scholar
  81. Reynolds, S. J., (2008). “Moral Attentiveness: Who Pays Attention to the Moral Aspects of Life?” Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 93, Iss. 5, pp. 1027-1041.Google Scholar
  82. Reynolds, S. J., and Ceranic, T. L., (2007). “The Effects of Moral Judgment and Moral Identity on Moral Behavior: An Empirical Examination of the Moral Individual.” Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 92, Iss. 6, pp. 610-616.Google Scholar
  83. Rousseau, D.: 1995, Psychological Contracts in Organizations: Understanding Written and Unwritten Agreements (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks).Google Scholar
  84. Rowan, W., Ottncbrcit, A., Ncssclradc, Jr., K., and Cunningham, P. (2002). “On Being Holier than Thee: A Social-Psychological Perspective on Religiousness and Humility.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 41, pp. 227-237.Google Scholar
  85. Sanford, D. H., (1988). “Self-Deception as Rationalization” in Brian P. McLaughlin and Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (Eds.), Perspectives on Self-Deception. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 157-169.Google Scholar
  86. Sankar, Y. 2003. Character Not Charisma is the Critical Measure of Leadership Excellence. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Vol 9, Iss. 4, pp. 45-55.Google Scholar
  87. Sartre, J.-P.: 1956, Being and Nothingness, Hazel Barnes, Trans (Philosophical Library, New York)Google Scholar
  88. Schein, E. H. (2004). Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  89. Schiraldi, G. R., (2001). The Self-Esteem Workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.Google Scholar
  90. Schoorman, F. D., Mayer, R. C., and Davis, J. H., (2007). “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust: Past, Present, and Future.” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 32, Iss. 2, pp. 344-354.Google Scholar
  91. Shivers-Blackwell, S., (2006). “The Influence of Perceptions of Organizational Structure & Culture on Leadership Role Requirements: The Moderating Impact of Locus of Control and Self-Monitoring.” Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 27-49.Google Scholar
  92. Siegler, F. A., (1962), “Demos on Lying to Oneself.” Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 59, pp. 469-475.Google Scholar
  93. Sluss, D. M., and Ashforth, B. E., (2007). “Relational Identity and Identification: Defining Ourselves Through Work Relationships.” Academy of Management Review, Vol 32, No. 1, pp. 9-32.Google Scholar
  94. Smith, T., (2003). “The Metaphysical Case for Honesty.” Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 37, Iss. 4, pp. 517-532.Google Scholar
  95. Smith, D. L., (2004). Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  96. Sparrowe, R. T., 2005. “Authentic Leadership and the Narrative Self.” Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 16, Iss. 3, pp. 419-439.Google Scholar
  97. Stephenson, C.: 2004, ‘Rebuilding Trust: The Integral Role of Leadership in Fostering Values, Honesty, and Vision’, Ivey Business Journal Online Jan/Feb., 1Google Scholar
  98. Stets, J. E., and Burke, P. J., (2000). “Identity Theory and Social Identity Theory.” Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 224-237.Google Scholar
  99. Strauss, J. P., (2005). “Multi-Source Perspectives of Self-Esteem, Performance Ratings, and Source Agreement.” Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 20, Iss. 5/6, pp. 464-482.Google Scholar
  100. Taylor, S. N., (2006). “Why the Real Self is Fundamental to Intentional Change.” Journal of Management Development, Vol. 25, Iss. 7, pp. 643-656.Google Scholar
  101. Warner, C. T., (2001). Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves. Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain Publishing.Google Scholar
  102. Weick, K. E., (1979). The Social Psychology of Organizing (Second Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  103. Weick, K. E., (2001). “Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq.” Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 46, Iss. 1, pp. 147-151.Google Scholar
  104. Weick, K. E., Sutcliffe, K. M., and Obstfeld, D., (2005). “Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking.” Organization Science, Vol. 16, Iss. 4, pp. 409-424.Google Scholar
  105. Whetten, D. A. and K. S. Cameron: 2007, ‘Key Dimensions of Self-Awareness’, in Developing Management Skills, 7th Edition (Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ)Google Scholar
  106. White, S. L., (1988). “Self-Deception and Responsibility for the Self” in Brian P. McLaughlin and Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (Eds.) Perspectives on Self-Deception. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 450-484.Google Scholar
  107. Wood, A. W., (1988). “Self-Deception and Bad Faith” in Brian P. McLaughlin and Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (Eds.), Perspectives on Self-Deception. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 207-227.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business and Legal StudiesPaul Quinn CollegeDallasU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations