Ethical Leadership: Cultural Intelligence and Ethical Competence as the Third Dimension of Moral Leadership

Ethical leadership is a modern vision and way of governing companies and countries.

This form of government is not exactly classical management, although it is performed by ordinary managers and politicians. Ethical leadership is management that preserves morals and ethics in human relations.

Ethical leadership in international projects and teams

International projects and teams are increasingly based on the successful transfer of experience from already established effective cross-cultural partnerships.

For the manager and the leader in such projects, a new quality stands out as an imperative, which is most accurately expressed by the term cultural intelligence.

The concept proposed at Harvard Business School has been transformed in ten years into various models and advisory boards that shape the standard of behavior of a moral leader (Ang, Dyn, 2008). One of the advantages of the construct of cultural intelligence is the ability to avoid the reduction of “culture” to “nationality” in business communication.

When communicating, people from different cultures often inadvertently replace interculturality with interethnic, forgetting each individual’s multiple cultural affiliations.

Cross-cultural and ethical competencies largely coincide today – they are needed in conflict zones of intercultural interaction in dialogue, negotiation and bargaining, networking and virtual partnerships, overcoming prejudices, balancing group interests, and achieving acceptable ethical standards in competition and cooperation.

Ethical and cross-cultural competence is seen as an aspect and manifestation of emotional and social intelligence – a perspective imposed after the 90s in the theory and practice of business communication (Berghofer, 2016).

Different measures have been proposed for cultural intelligence, already measured by a cultural coefficient (CQ).

Based on the research (Livermore, 2009) and for applicability in European contexts, the following structure of cultural competence can be adopted, suitable for concretization in education, company training, and individual self-development:

1. CD (cultural drive) – enthusiasm, interest in the ability to be effective in an environment with different cultures; ability to derive pleasure from communication with different cultures, to gain useful experience from diversity, developing one’s efficiency and expanding the radius of trust in others;

2. CK (cultural knowledge) – knowledge of similarities and differences between cultures, including – the new in the economic and legal systems of the respective countries, which is a condition for the so-called. compliance ethics (observance of rules and regulations), as well as knowledge of religious beliefs, sociolinguistic rules of expression and non-verbalism, up-to-date information on the demographic regional picture;

3. CS (cultural strategy) – personal ability to derive meaning from cross-cultural experience through assessments and reassessment of their thought patterns and those of others, suggesting: a level of awareness – about their own and team members’ cultural knowledge; planning – of behavioral strategies for the respective culturally heterogeneous communicative situation; verification – comprehension of the coincidence and discrepancy between prejudices and what happened to correct the experience.

4. CA (cultural action) – ability to adapt “on the go” to verbal and nonverbal behavior to adapt to the situational context, the inclusion of an active repertoire of flexible reactions, habits to modify behavior (gestures, facial expressions, accent, tone), speed, pauses, etc.)

(In this modified version of Livermore (2009), terms and abbreviations are deliberately left out in English – the language commonly used in cross-cultural business teams).

Leadership – culturally intelligent and ethically competent adheres to specific ethical norms of teamwork in a cross-cultural environment:

Openness (or sincerity, unconditional perception of the other);

Invaluable response (when communicating in a particular cross-cultural organizational environment);

The initiative, (proactive reactions are group appropriate here);

Goodwill (more than usual, expressed in reliance on the strengths of each of the participants);

Support: personal, instrumental (operational), as well as prospective (affirmative and deployable).

Cultural intelligence could be thought of as the “third dimension of moral leadership”, along with the moral character and moral management proposed in theories of social learning.

Further refinement and empirical confirmation of this idea are forthcoming. Intensive cross-cultural communication also provides an opportunity for this intellectual challenge, which can be “trained” first in the field of educational practice.


“Ethical Leadership: The Concept of the Moral Foundations of Cultures”

Ethical leadership is a theory of a modern approach to managing business organizations and countries…

“What is Ethical Leadership: How to be an Ethical Leader”

What is Ethical Leadership? We are constantly witnessing unethical behavior on…

“Cross-cultural differences in the perception of ethical and unethical leadership”

In cross-cultural research, the differences between ethical and unethical leadership are understood by consensus based on the “three…

“What is ethical leadership in cross-cultural business ethics?”

Effective and ethical leadership are inseparable. The widespread layman’s notion that effective leadership is not about the moral qualities and ethical…

“Ethical Leadership: Models for Culturally Approved Leadership”

Ethical leadership is a broad concept that covers the topics of leadership, management and human resources. In the literature…

Ethics Workshop: On Academic Teaching of Ethics and Ethical Leadership

Leadership is learned, and so is ethical leadership. In discussions of seminars on the topic of ethical leadership in courses on business ethics, cross-cultural business ethics, administrative ethics, cultures, and organizations, corporate culture, case studies, tasks, role-playing games, etc. are offered. Here are some newer examples.

The first is to provide participants with a text with a real case study of current business practices for debating cultural differences in work ethic and communication styles: work only 3 hours a day and must be stupid to invest in this country.

Maurice Taylor was criticized in a letter to the French Minister for Industrial Reconstruction. The letter is in response to a request from Titan to invest in a loss-making factory in the northern French city of Amiens.

The unions described the letter as offensive. “I have visited this factory twice. “The French workforce receives high wages, but works only 3 hours,” Taylor wrote. “Workers get an hour’s lunch break, talk for 3 hours, and work three more.

I said these impressions directly to the faces of the French trade unionists. I was told that this was the French way! ”He added. French government spokesman N. Valo-Belkasem commented that the American’s letter did not express the general US investor attitude towards France and recalled that the country has the largest US investment in Europe.

France established a 35-hour workweek by law in 2000. However, critics say it is currently hampering its economic growth. (US investor creates turmoil with criticism against French work ethic 2013).

The second example is to activate self-reflection as a way to understand and develop leadership potential and individual skills. Students are offered a text for discussion in a group discussion:

What is your credo as a leader in the organization?

Read carefully the following long-suffering definitions of leadership. Make a comparative analysis of the moral side of these definitions. Finally, add your idea, knowledge, proposal, and ethical leadership project to the organization.

1. “You can talk to the blue that you have values. But when what you say does not overlap with what you do, you have to look in the mirror for a long time.

Leaders need to pay more attention than usual to their values. The character of the leader is formed following the truth in your heart, and not only following the words that come out of your mouth. ” (K. Blanchard)

2. “Leaders are those who understand that part of their job is, to tell the truth, to be strong.” (T. Moore)

3. If you want to lead, ask to serve first. ” (R. Greenleaf)

4. “I fought a good battle, I did my job; I kept the faith. ” (Apostle Paul)

5. “Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If there’s one thing you have to do without, it’s the strategy. ” (N. Schwarzkopf)

In addition to the need for an ethical leadership workshop with current topics included in applied ethics training, there is one factor for learning ethical leadership that is neglected and unnamed.

Such is the great role of the ethical culture of rectors, deans, heads of departments, leading teachers, and examples of ethical leadership of the teaching “body” as individuals and the academic community.

For 4-5 years of study the student, (no matter how absent and alienated), absorbs their behavioral model of a significant other. Special studies in other universities around the world (Phillips, 2004) on the ethical culture of leading accredited academic institutions – universities and business faculties, show the importance of specific leadership qualities and behaviors of teachers for the student and his future career.

It is interesting, for example, that the greatest weight has the ability of the teacher (leader) to oppose the so-called. hidden agenda at work.

Here, too, as usual, the first rule for change is “make yourself ethical” – a condition you can’t do without in education, training, and “training” of moral leadership.