Robert Jackall's book "Moral Mazes". An analysis from a transformational leadership perspective

Hausarbeit, 2015

11 Seiten



1. Introduction

2. Theory and Analysis

3. Proposed Solutions

4. Conclusion


1. Introduction

In his book “Moral Mazes” Robert Jackall describes the findings of his study on how bureaucracy shapes moral consciousness in American organizations (Jackall, 2010). The study is based on an extensive fieldwork and Jackall explicitly studied managers´ rules for survival and success in the corporations as these goals proved to be the uppermost in manager´s minds (Jackall, 2010). According to Jackall (2010) these rules are at the heart of a moral code, called bureaucratic ethic, that guides managers through all the dilemmas and vicissitudes that confront them in big organizations. As bureaucratic routinizes people´s lives by engaging them on a daily basis in rational, socially approved, purposive action it shapes their consciousness in decisive ways (Jackall, 2010). Furthermore as even personal relationships are governed by explicit or implicit organizational rules, procedures and protocol, bureaucratic work causes people to bracket, while at work, the moralities that they might hold outside the workplace (Jackall, 2010). Instead it makes the people follow the prevailing morality of their particular organizational situation (Jackall, 2010). On a day-to-day basis the moral rules-in-use within the personal and structural constraints of one´s organizations matter and these rules may vary sharply depending on various factors, such as proximity to the market, line or staff responsibilities, or one´s position in a hierarchy (Jackall, 2010). Therefore organizational moralities are contextual, situational, highly specific, and, most often, unarticulated (Jackall, 2010).

Given Jackall´s findings it is difficult to see a place for personal ethics in modern organizations at all. According to Jackall (2010) morality does not emerge from some set of internally held convictions or principles, but rather from ongoing albeit changing relationships with some person, some coterie, some social network, or some clique that matters to a person. As these relationships are multiple, contingent, and in flux, managerial moralities are always situational and relative (Jackall, 2010).

This paper is concerned with the question how this ethical dilemma can be solved. Therefore important ethical issues of Robert Jackall´s findings are analyzed from a transformational leadership perspective. The aim of the analysis is to draw conclusions in which way transformational leaders can overcome these issues in order to improve the leadership processes and bring ethics back in organizations.

Charismatic leaders are viewed as the magic elixir to cure organizational woes and change the course of organizational events (Howell & Avolio, 1992). They achieve these heroic feats by powerfully communicating a compelling vision, passionately believing in their vision, relentlessly promoting their beliefs with boundless energy, propounding creative ideas, and expressing confidence in followers’ abilities to achieve high standards (Howell & Avolio, 1992). Followers play an active role in constraining the leadership relationship, empowering the leader and influencing his or her behavior, and ultimately determining the consequences of the leadership relationship (Howell & Shamir, 2005).Therefore leadership is defined as charismatic when people follow someone because he or she is considered extraordinary and treated as endowed with exceptional powers or qualities (Levay, C., 2010). As charismatic leaders inspire extraordinary performance in followers and build trust, faith and belief they are viewed as effective leaders (Howell & Avolio, 1992). To distinguish it from transactional leadership, a transformational leader is defined as a person who raises the aspirations of his or her followers in such a way that the leader´s and the followers´ goals are fused in a mutual and continuing pursuit of a higher purpose (Currie & Lockett, 2007). By constructing and communicating a vision that articulates followers´ values while allowing them to express their identity through shared collective vision transformational leaders provide followers with meaning (Mumford & Van Doorm, 2001). Transformational leadership theory has been developed to emphasize exceptional leadership that has profound effects on followers, organizations and societies (Howell & Shamir, 2005). Charismatic leader-follower relationships can be distinguished from traditional leader-follower relationships (Howell & Shamir, 2005). Followers who share a charismatic relationship with a leader are willing to transcend self-interests for the sake of the collective, engage in self-sacrifice in the interest of the mission, identify with the vision articulated by the leader, show strong emotional attachment to the leader, internalize the leader´s values and goals, and demonstrate strong personal or moral is described by the following four factors: charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration (Currie & Lockett, 2007).

2. Theory and Analysis

The first component of transformational leadership is charisma (Currie & Lockett, 2007). Charismatic leaders have passion, show self-sacrifice, display confidence in followers, and are seen as role models (Mumford & Van Doorm, 2001). By developing a vision the leader engenders pride, respect and trust (Currie & Lockett, 2007). As the term charisma does not distinguish between good or moral and evil or immoral it is important to clarify what is meant by charisma in terms of this paper (Howell & Avolio, 1992). In this paper the term charisma is based on the definition of Howell and Avolio (1992) of ethical charismatics. These charismatic leaders incorporate their followers´ hopes, dreams, and aspirations in their vision (Howell & Avolio, 1992). They develop creative, critical thinking in their followers, provide opportunities for them to develop, welcome positive and negative feedback, recognize the contributions of others, share information with followers, and have moral standards that emphasize collective interests of the group, organization, or society (Howell & Avolio, 1992). The opposite are unethical charismatics, who are interested in pursuing their own personal vision, control and manipulate their followers, promote what is best for themselves rather than their organizations, and have moral standards that promote self-interests (Howell & Avolio, 1992). Unethical charismatics use a compelling vision to have profound and extraordinary effects on followers that are individually harmful and/or socially destructive (Tourish & Vatcha 2005).

The second component of transformational leadership is inspirational motivation, which is an element that is characteristic for leaders who present high expectations to followers, model appropriate behavior and use symbols to focus efforts (Currie & Lockett, 2007). By communicating high expectations and confidence in followers charismatic leaders refer to followers´ worth and efficacy as individuals and as a collective (Howell & Shamir, 2005). Besides that charismatic leaders focus on developing people with whom they interact to higher levels of ability, motivation, and morality (Howell & Avolio, 1992). They develop the moral principles, standards, and conduct of their followers through the personal values they espouse (Howell & Avolio, 1992).


Ende der Leseprobe aus 11 Seiten


Robert Jackall's book "Moral Mazes". An analysis from a transformational leadership perspective
Uppsala Universitet
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
470 KB
robert, jackall´s, moral, mazes
Arbeit zitieren
Kim Julian Nestel (Autor:in), 2015, Robert Jackall's book "Moral Mazes". An analysis from a transformational leadership perspective, München, GRIN Verlag,


  • Noch keine Kommentare.
Im eBook lesen
Titel: Robert Jackall's book "Moral Mazes". An analysis from a transformational leadership perspective

Ihre Arbeit hochladen

Ihre Hausarbeit / Abschlussarbeit:

- Publikation als eBook und Buch
- Hohes Honorar auf die Verkäufe
- Für Sie komplett kostenlos – mit ISBN
- Es dauert nur 5 Minuten
- Jede Arbeit findet Leser

Kostenlos Autor werden