Leadership Decision-Making Styles
Which Leadership Decision-Making Style would allow for more Ethical Decisions?
Ethical decision-making is very closely related to leadership characteristics. The type of leadership that is used reflects certain kinds of values and principles, which affect the quality of ethical decision-making. Leadership can either be centralized or decentralized. Centralized leadership represents a structure where power is unequally distributed such that most people are led by one entity. On the other hand, decentralized leadership is shared leadership, where power is distributed among more than one person. This style is an egalitarian leadership structure where all people have equal access to decision-making power (Weiss, 2014). The decision-making style that allows for more ethical decisions among the two above is the decentralized leadership style.
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Why Decentralized Leadership is a Better Option
Decentralized leadership is a better option for making ethical decisions because it allows for accountability. When the decision-making power is shared, it is unlikely that a decision that favors personal interests rather than those of the team will be made (Andersson & Ostrom, 2008). People in such a leadership setting can question a person’s choices. This forces all people to be responsible for their decisions, or else they can be held accountable by the rest of the people with the power to do so. For example, in an organization where a manager shares capabilities with other leaders, they will unlikely embezzle funds because the other leaders will hold them accountable.
This leadership style is also more favorable for ethical decision-making because it allows for negotiations and consideration of other people’s opinions before making the final decision (Hempel, Zhang, & Han, 2012). In centralized leadership, one person has to use whatever ethical model they prefer to make a decision that can affect many people. Conversely, decentralized administration gives many people a chance to share their input on the moral issue then the leaders reach a consensus. This creates a higher chance of making ethical decisions.
Decentralized leadership allows for flexibility in decision-making. Even though some decision-making styles may be favorable for some situations, they may not be good enough for others. When having one leader who uses one decision-making style in all cases, there may be instances when they make mistakes. Additionally, no single person is entirely perfect and free from error. Giving the decision-making responsibility to one person means that, at one point, they will make a mistake. However, when more than one person shares the responsibility, they can discuss the issues related to a decision and determine the possibility of error before making the final decision (Andersson & Ostrom, 2008). More ideas from different people will make the final decisions more flexible and more likely to be ethical.
Lastly, a decentralized decision-making style favors shared objectives rather than individual goals. The decisions that are made communally reflect the interests of all people who make the decision. Therefore, they are more likely to remember positive values that favor everyone involved. Consequently, it is essential to ensure that the power of decision-making is distributed among different people for an organization to enjoy the benefits mentioned above.
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Andersson, K. P., & Ostrom, E. (2008). Analyzing decentralized resource regimes from a polycentric perspective. Policy sciences, 41(1), 71-93.
Hempel, P. S., Zhang, Z. X., & Han, Y. (2012). Team empowerment and the organizational context: Decentralization and the contrasting effects of formalization. Journal of Management, 38(2), 475-501.
Weiss, J. W. (2014). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
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Leadership Decision-Making Styles
Chapter 8 of the course text, pages 520-533, discuss leadership decision-making styles at length. Based on the information presented, which leadership decision-making style do you believe would allow for more ethical decisions:
- (a) centralized (single leader) or
- (b) decentralized (shared leadership)?
Explain your choice and why.