Ethical Leadership - The experience of JCU's 3rd IBD cohort

Interview with Dr. Craig Johnson -  Author of Ethical Challenges of Leadership

Why do you believe ethical decision making present such a profound challenge for authority figures?

Temptations! People tell you what you want to hear. Its easy to justify doing the wrong thing when its “good for the organization”

The wrong people are attracted to leadership roles like narcissists

Personality clashes

People who want to exercise power vs abuse.

Do you believe there is a significant correlation between solid core ethical policies with an organization’s structure and it’s success?


Long term absolutely. For example: ethical leadership and trust. Trusting organizations are much more effective.  At a minimium you are less likely to be exposed to disaster.  Encourages transformational leadership. 

What inspired you to create a (widely used) text on ethical decision making and the corresponding challenges leaders face?

Coming out of the field of communication and it dawned on him how important LEADERSHIP really was. The last century has been viewed as very nostalgic. Dr. Johnson is of the opinion that it can be positive but also that Leadership has the potential to do both; kill or save.

Not philosophical. Focused on leadership, the dark side. (versus the positives)

Are there any points you wish you could have included in your text that you were unable to publish?

He’s pretty fortunate; not really. He’s coming out with a new edition that’s  a little more riske. New chapter on ethical crisis. He was very surprised that such a controversial topic such as Good and Evil was able to be fit in the first edition. 

Words of wisdom:

Work to form relationship with the individuals in your cohort because they sound like incredible students and will prove to be valuable as you progress and mature throughout your career.