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You are here: Home White Papers Business Cultures

Business Cultures

By Malcolm J. Stubblefield
August 2009

Business leaders can best demonstrate ethical behavior in cultures where ethics differ drastically, when the leader exhibits a strong commitment to having high values and morals.  Demonstrating such a commitment provides the leader the ability to influence a watchful followership; a followership that is lured by the realization that the person they respect as a leader is given to treating them as he/she wants to be treated (Northouse, 2007).  Even in cultures where ethics (and morals) differ drastically, leaders who demonstrate a concern for the interest of others, who are steeped in ethical beliefs and behavior, and who acquiesce to the best interest of others, even when it “runs contrary to her own self-interest”, can have a positive influence on cultural divides (p. 344).

Ethical behavior seems to be a trait that most individuals, followers and leaders alike, appreciate in the person charged with making decisions.  In all honesty, a cultural divide may be nonexistent as it relates to ethical expectations – we expect our leaders to be ethical, honest, and compliant with our societal norms.  As it relates to treatment, we want to be treated fairly: i.e., treat me in the manner you expect to be treated. 


Northouse, P.G. (2007). Leadership: Theory and Practice (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.