Master of Liberal Studies Research Papers

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)


This paper seeks to look at three aspects of the ethical dimension of leadership, posed as research questions. RQ1: Exclusivity - should only ethical influence be classified as leadership? While researchers agree that leadership should be ethical, none to this point have chosen to give exclusivity of the leadership label to ethical influence. The position of this paper is that leadership is a high calling and process; therefore, unethical influence should have another designation. RQ2: Attributes - what specific attributes (traits and/or behaviors) should characterize ethical leadership? Most research designates common attributes of ethical leadership, but the taxonomy of characteristics varies from researcher to researcher. This paper seeks to give a succinct taxonomy of ethical leadership attributes. RQ3: Originations - from where do ethical standards originate? Again, researchers agree that leadership should be ethical and that there are specific attributes to that domain; however, there is wide divergence as to the origination of those ethical attributes or standards. This paper looks at that divergence and attempts to find the first cause or origination of an ethical standard. This paper will explicate the methodology utilized, review current literature on this subject matter, detail limitations and areas for future research, and demonstrate critical implications of this research for leaders and the leadership process.


Copyright 2009 Donald Dunn


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