Ethical Decision-Making as an Indicator of Leadership Styles in Hospitality Management: An Empirical Investigation

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Minett, Dean (2006) Ethical Decision-Making as an Indicator of Leadership Styles in Hospitality Management: An Empirical Investigation. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


The issue of corporate social responsibility and its benefits has been discussed at length in both industry and academia. Much of the discussion has focused on what actually constitutes social responsibility and, given the nature of directors' responsibilities, whether or not corporations should be held accountable for the implementation of social policies that may or may not benefit direct shareholders. W hat is often missed in these discussions is that, irrespective of the company direction, decisions are made by individuals within that organization and therefore the issue of individual ethics is brought into play. Replicating a study by Girodo (1998) with police managers, this thesis examines the ways in which hospitality leaders in Australia seek to influence others in the workplace. One hundred and thirty three managers of hotels rated as three, four or five stars according to the Australian Automobile Association participated in this study, of which 91 provided answers to all questions. Factor analysis, MANOVA of factor scores across groups and t tests were used to identify differences across and amongst the groups to derive the results. The results indicate that the prevailing leadership styles in Australia are a blend of Machiavellian (manipulative) and Bureaucratic styles and that variance in this choice correlates with the age of the respondent. That is, the older the manager, the less Machiavellian or Bureaucratic they become. Based on the relationships explored by Hitt (1990), these leadership styles indicate that older managers are less inclined to use a utilitarian or rule-based ethical decision-making style, and more inclined to embrace a social contract or personalistic ethic approach. This is in line with general moral development theories that suggest we embrace more enlightened morals as we age. The difference in the use of various decision-making styles appears to correspond closely to generational differences; there is evidence that different styles are used by Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y leaders. This finding warrants a closer review as it indicates that Generation Y leaders, in particular, are quite different in their expectations of their roles in work and, in fact, will make quicker decisions to move jobs if they feel they are not recognized or rewarded appropriately. Their application of ethics is also quite different to Baby Boomers in that they apply far greater weight to the here and now, and to the majority, than to the future or the individual needs of orthers.

Additional Information

Master of Business

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Tourism and Services Research (CTSR)
Historical > RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Keywords ethical decision-making; leadership styles; hospitality; management; investigation
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