chapter
7 Pages

Introduction

These days, much attention is paid to ethics, morality, virtues and the desired management of society and, as shown by Greenleaf (1998), we live in a period when the above mentioned are once again being intensively discussed. Sadly, it appears that this is mostly happening through the prism of negative consequences, which occur due to the gap between the declarative and actual actions and behaviours of the subjects involved. Musek (1993: 124) discussed this matter 20 years ago and realised that it can be rightly said that we are living in a period of a crisis of values, which he considers as ‘value emptiness, value confusion (related to value conflicts), particularly the inconsistency between the existing values on the one hand and actual behaviour on the other’. This finding is certainly not merely a reflection of today’s society, it was already present ‘at the death of Socrates, when Plato finally saw, that he lives in a world where values are falling apart’ (Kocijančič 2002: 519). This means that the debate on the crisis of values is constant; here we also agree with Musek (1993), when, on one side, he rejected the idea that humanity has not advanced morally while, on the other side, the problem lies with the fact that people only rarely behave in accordance with the standards and values that we defend. In our estimate, this only confirms the fact that moral behaviour, conduct and leadership are not easy jobs while being simultaneously of the utmost importance; proof of this is the fact that in the area of today’s Europe, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and others have already discussed the topic. Hence the development of virtue ethics stretches back to antiquity, while today we can observe that virtue ethics is a subject of research by various authors once more (Bass and Steidlmeier 1999, Carroll and Buchholtz 2000, Koehn 2005b, Northouse 2010). In a narrow sense, and in the context of business ethics, virtue ethics are focused on the moral character, conduct and virtues of leaders. The latter include the personal integrity of leaders, which is one of the two cornerstones of the study and research in our task. Its important role in managing is stressed by different theories of management (Bass 1990, Kirkpatrick and Locke 1991, Bass and Steidlmeier 1999, Burns 2010) as well as empirical findings (Craig and Gustafson 1998, Parry and ProctorThomson 2002, Palanski and Yammarino 2007, 2011). The various authors and researchers emphasise the need for further study and research on the impact of integrity on management (Craig and Gustafson 1998, Palanski and Yammarino 2007, 2009, Carroll 2009, Northouse 2010).