Session description: Many companies, as well as academic institutions around the world, are facing serious operational problems, ethical scandals, and expensive lawsuits due to the lack of ethical leadership. The literature on ethical leadership has largely ignored to examine the actual implementation of this kind of leadership as well as the key factors that lead to its success and the impact it has on the organizational culture, performance, image and reputation, and its employees. Undoubtedly, empirical research on ethical leadership is still in its infancy as most publications revolve around the theoretical part of this kind of leadership. Now more than ever, it is imperative for companies to realize that the absence of ethical leadership opens the door to unethical behaviour, service sabotage, disrespect, inequality, and many forms of discrimination which foster hostile environments and a deeply unethical climate where injustice prevails. Quite often, they do result in ethical scandals and expensive lawsuits which can cause irreparable damage to a company. The impact that the lack of ethical leadership has on the morale of employees and how it contributes to them leaving a company and search for a job elsewhere due to the increased job stress, general dissatisfaction and injustice they experience cannot be stressed enough. This presentation covers the common mistakes that companies make and explains the value and importance of ethical leadership, the key role it plays in the success of every organization, and how it can be achieved. Leaders must have a set of specific skills and qualities to promote and foster ethical leadership, but above all, they need to lead by example and become role models to their followers and the people around them. Ethical leadership is a way of life and not just a part of their job. Furthermore, those who are not willing to do the right thing, do not even have the moral values to do so, remain constantly focused on themselves and on putting their own personal interests first, and climb the ladder of success by using improper and unethical means are not only leading their companies to failure but are also creating unhealthy working environments where unethical climates and dysfunction prevail. It takes strong, talented, broad-minded, determined, committed, and free of biases and prejudices individuals who have the vision, the passion, and the required professionalism to promote ethical leadership in the companies they work for and create a better future for our field, our education, and our industry. The main purpose of this presentation to show how ethical leadership is the key to the success of an organization and explain why it pays off to strive for it.
Bio: Christina K. Dimitriou (BSc, MSocSc, PhD) is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) and Certified Online Instructor who has been teaching undergraduate and graduate tourism and hospitality courses for over twenty years in Europe and the United States. Research accomplishments include journal articles, book chapters, conference posters and presentations at regional, national and international conferences.