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Fostering ethical competence in managerial leadership : a eudaimonistic perspective


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Flynn, Robert Frederick 2003 , 'Fostering ethical competence in managerial leadership : a eudaimonistic perspective', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Since the late 1980s the need for improved ethical sensibility, on the part of
those in managerial leadership roles, has been widely recognised throughout
Australian society. Unfortunately, while the hortatory nature of the discourse
has been both loud and consistent, what has been lacking is any firm set of
guidelines on how to bring about the necessary improvement. The argument
presented in this essay represents one attempt to address that shortcoming.
In particular, I will show that a discipline I call critical eudaimonistic -
reflection can play a pivotal role in cultivating the sort of deliberate
character needed to underwrite ethically competent leadership practice.
I begin by establishing firm ground on which to postulate a robust
conceptualisation of managerial leadership. In doing this, I identify the
notions of trust and community as pivotal themes. Specifically, I show that
an ability to build and maintain a high-trust community lies at the core of
what effective managerial leadership is all about. Moreover, as trust and
community are concepts rich in ethical implication, I show how a meaningful
conceptualisation of ethical competence can be built around them.
By way of addressing the challenge posed by the mythical figure of the
hard-nosed decision-maker (the budget-conscious senior corporate
executive holding the authority to commission leadership development
programmes), I argue for learning to work within the prevailing corporate
idiom. This includes ensuring adherence to the correct vernacular, and also
the selection and adoption of suitable conceptual models. I show how one
particular model of strategic change planning can be successfully employed
to re-cast the development challenge in a manner that not only guarantees
idiomatic compliance, but that also ensures that consideration is given to
the relevant variables.
One such variable consists in the need for a robust syllabus structure. I
argue that when human character is the developmental focal point, the
syllabus can be appropriately built on a virtue ethics platform. More
specifically, I argue for adoption of one particular neo-Aristotelian
expression of the ancient doctrine of eudaimonism. I go further to show
how the syllabus content can be shaped so as to expedite the acquisition of
competence in critical eudaimonistic reflection.
I finish with the claim that neither recognition of the need for a development
programme aimed at character cultivation, nor availability of a robust
syllabus, will of themselves guarantee enthusiastic participation in such a
project. To achieve that, in the Australian corporate context, I argue that
one must be capable of overcoming the perception that the subject matter is
too vague and esoteric. I address this by describing a strategy, currently
being employed, with some success, a number of test sites. I close off by
suggesting some ways in which it can be improved in light of lessons
learned to date.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Flynn, Robert Frederick
Keywords: Aristotle, Leadership, Management, Executive ability
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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