Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 133–139 | Cite as

Leading by Example: Values-Based Strategy to Instill Ethical Conduct

  • Arne NygaardEmail author
  • Harald Biong
  • Ragnhild Silkoset
  • Roland E. Kidwell


Years of research clearly shows that relying on traditional organizational power bases is not effective when companies want to promote business ethics and performance. It is not only that the use of legitimate power to establish ethics codes and coercive power to punish employees who do not comply does not work; this study—based on a multi-method research approach in the retail industry—indicates that the classic iron fist leads to unethical business values and lower service performance. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for forward-looking managers. The ethical attitudes and behaviors of employees within international organizations is a dynamic variable that is possible to change by the use of values-based leadership. Our extensive study of a large grocery store chain owned by a multinational corporation indicates that managers who lead by example will boost team values and commitment.


Role model Value-based leadership Multi-method approach Franchise-systems Power theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Nygaard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harald Biong
    • 2
  • Ragnhild Silkoset
    • 2
  • Roland E. Kidwell
    • 3
  1. 1.Oslo School of ManagementOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of MarketingBI Norwegian Business SchoolOsloNorway
  3. 3.Florida Atlantic University, College of BusinessBoca RatonUSA

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