One way of understanding the moral manager model is to contrast it with two other types of management – immoral management and amoral management. Taken together, these three models of management morality depict a range of categories in which management behavior has been noted, described, and illustrated (Carroll, 1991, 1995). In a sense, they depict a set of categories which capture much of the observed behavior, patterns, or types of ethical management which may be found in organizations today. The description of immoral and amoral types will be brief, but they help us to understand the category of moral management, or leadership, which is the primary topic of interest in this paper.
Immoral and Amoral Management and Leadership
Immoral management, and leadership. The immoral management model is a fairly straightforward concept. Using the terms unethical and immoral interchangeably in this context, immoral management, or leadership, is a posture or approach that is devoid of ethical principles and precepts and is actively opposed to what is ethical. Management decisions, behaviors, actions or leadership style are discordant with ethics or morality, even loosely defined. The immoral management model holds that management’s motives are selfish and that it cares only, or principally, about the individual’s or the organization’s gains.
If management is actively opposed to what is regarded as ethical, the clear implication is that management at least somewhat knows right from wrong and chooses to do wrong. Immoral management may be motivated by greed. Its goals are profitability and organizational (or personal) success at virtually any price. Immoral managers do not care about others’ claims or expectations to be treated fairly or justly. Immoral management regards the law as a barrier to be overcome in accomplishing what it wants. Immoral managers have no problem with circumventing the law if it achieves their ends. The basic strategy of immoral management is to exploit opportunities and people for personal or organizational gain and to cut corners when it appears to be useful (Carroll, 1987, 1991, 1995). In the vernacular, immoral managers are the bad guys.
Amoral Management and Leadership. The amoral management model of leadership is a posture or approach that is devoid of ethics, that is, it is a model that does not factor the ethical dimension into decision making and practice. It is not actively immoral as described above. Rather, it is conceptualized as a posture without ethics—more of an ethically neutral position. Amoral managers or leaders may be categorized into two different types – intentionally amoral and unintentionally amoral. Intentionally amoral leaders do not factor ethical considerations into their actions because they believe business activity resides outside the sphere to which moral
©Archie B. Carroll, “Ethical Leadership: From Moral Manager to Moral Leader,” in O. C. Ferrell, Sheb L. True, and Lou E. Pelton (eds.), Rights, Relationships & Responsibilities: Business Ethics and Social Impact Management, Vol. 1, 2003, pp. 7-17. 3 judgments apply. These leaders are neither moral nor immoral; they simply think that different rules of the game apply in business than in other realms of life. Unintentionally amoral leaders, by contrast, are amoral for a different reason. These leaders are morally casual, careless, unaware, or inattentive to the fact that their decisions and actions may have detrimental or deleterious impacts on other stakeholders. These leaders lack