Authentic leaders are more prone to make ethical decisions according to research published in European Journal of Social Work (2020, 23/5, 809-825, Taylor & Francis Online). The results of this study indicate that authenticity should be supported in leaders to enhance the quality of their decision-making and to prevent unethical behavior.
The European Journal of Social Work, a recognized academic publication, has published the results of a study examining the role of authenticity of organization leaders in their decision-making. “Our research shows that highly authentic leaders were also more prone to make ethical decisions, that is decisions not harming other people, maintaining a fair process at all times and creating the greatest overall benefit for the community.” says Radek Trnka, PhD, a senior researcher at the Prague College of Psychosocial Studies.
This research was focused on leaders of social organizations. A total of 238 participants were recruited from organizations working in different fields of social work (for example, social services for children, elderly, unemployed, disabled, refugees, addicts etc.). Both governmental and non-governmental organizations were represented in the sample; thus, the conclusions highlight the importance of being authentic for leaders across different types of organizations.
“The results of the presented research have an important impetus for organizational life and building authentic leadership in organizations,” Trnka claims. The study encourages future development of specific training programs for leaders, since positive reinforcement of authenticity in leaders could possibly lead to supporting ethical decision-making within a whole organization. The article describes the techniques that can be used for building authentic leadership in practice, for example the utilization of skilled, authentic mentors, or the selection of leaders with suitable personal dispositions for future personality development. The mentioned techniques are considered to be highly effective tools for the enhancement of ethical decision-making in organizations in general, not only in the social work sector.
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Story Source: Materials provided by the Prague College of Psychosocial Studies.
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Journal Reference: Radek Trnka, Martin Kuška, Peter Tavel & Aleš A. Kuběna (2020) Social work leaders’ authenticity positively influences their dispositions toward ethical decision-making, European Journal of Social Work, 23:5, 809-825, DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2019.1608513