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Assignment 2: Leadership and Values

This exercise will help you to evaluate how values may impact leadership.

Read the situations outlined in Chapter 6 “What would you do? HIGHLIGHT 6.2” in your textbook.  Choose one and write a 4-6 page paper considering the following points:

  1. How did you determine what was ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ about the situation?  What moral principles did you use to make that determination?
  2. What do you consider to be the ethical stand and the unethical stand in response to the situation you chose?  What values did you use to make that determination?
  3. If you were directed by your leader to take the opposite stance to the one you are most comfortable with, how do you think you would you react?  Would you be willing to take a stand?  What stressors would there be on your decision?  For example, if you were at risk of losing your job, would you do as you are told rather than what you feel you should do

What Would You Do?: HIGHLIGHT 6.2

Here are several situations in which values play a large part in determining your response. How would you act in each one, and by what principles or reasoning process do you reach each decision?

  • Would you vote for a political candidate who was honest, competent, and agreed with you on most issues if you also knew that person was alcoholic, sexually promiscuous, and twice divorced?
  • Assume that as a teenager you smoked marijuana once or twice, but that was years ago. Would you answer truthfully on an employment questionnaire if it asked whether you had ever used marijuana?
  • Your military unit has been ambushed by enemy soldiers and suffered heavy casualties. Several of your soldiers have been captured, but you also captured one of the enemy soldiers. Would you torture the captured enemy soldier if that were the only way of saving the lives of your own soldiers?
  • Terrorists have captured a planeload of tourists and threatened to kill them unless ransom demands are met. You believe that meeting the ransom demands is likely to lead to the safe release of those passengers, but also likely to inspire future terrorist acts. Would you meet the terrorists’ demands (and probably save the hostages) or refuse to meet the terrorists’ demands (and reduce the likelihood of future incidents)?
  • If you were an elementary school principal, would you feel it was part of your school’s responsibility to teach moral values, or only academic subject matter?
  • Assume that you have been elected to your state’s legislature, and that you are about to cast the deciding vote in determining whether abortions will be legally available to women in your state. What would you do if your own strong personal convictions on this issue were contrary to the views of the majority of the people you represent?

Source: Adapted from G. Stock, The Book of Questions: Business, Politics, and Ethics. New York: Workman Publishing, 1991.

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