The Importance of Leadership in Shaping Business Values

  • Joanne B. Ciulla


Few doubt that leaders play a role, either as founders or promoters of values in organizations. So the more important question is not “Whose values?” but “What values?” Just because a leader has values doesn’t mean that they are good ones. Furthermore, the question is not so much about what a leader values, but what a leader actually does to demonstrate his or her values. This paper is about how leaders translate values into action and actions into enduring organizational values. I first examine how we have come to think about the values of business leaders and success. I also reflect on what theories of leadership say about how leaders influence followers. Then I argue that the language of having values is often inadequate for understanding individual and organizational ethics. Lastly, I look at the leadership of P. Roy Vagelos of Merck & Company to illustrate the how the values of founders and current leaders shape the values of their own organizations, and can shape the values of the industries in which they operate.


Leadership Ethic Transformational Leadership Church Attendance Business Leader Servant Leadership 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne B. Ciulla
    • 1
  1. 1.Jepson School of Leadership StudiesUniversity of RichmondCanada

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