Preventing Negative Conflict in Leadership Succession: Ethical Considerations and Practices

  • Anthony R. Carbo
  • Karin J. Storm


Negative conflict is unnecessary, destructive, and unhelpful. Though leaders should neither avoid nor diminish positive conflict, when successors practice the standards of ethical leadership, they are likely to prevent negative conflict. In this chapter, ethical leadership is the focus. Ethics is vital for positive succession planning. As part of succession preparation, developers should seek replacements who demonstrate a foundation in ethical leadership such as virtue ethics, formalism, and utilitarianism. Heirs entering a leadership position will likely influence others’ behavior. Successors should be just, wise, valiant, temperate, dependable, and honest. They should also support a code of ethics and be considerate of desires and needs of individuals and the entire group. Prospective leaders should be transparent about the general moral principles they believe should take priority.


  1. Adelstein, J., & Clegg, S. (2016). Code of ethics: A stratified vehicle for compliance. Journal of Business Ethics, 138(1), 53–66. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (2011). The theory of planned behavior: Reactions and reflections. Psychology & Health, 26(9), 113–127. Google Scholar
  3. Albanese, J. S. (2016). Professional ethics in criminal justice: Being ethical when no one is looking (2nd ed.). New York: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  4. Antes, A., & Schuelke, M. J. (2011). Levering technology to develop creative leadership capacity. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 13(3), 318–365. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boyd, B., Botero, I. C., & Fediuk, T. A. (2014). Incumbent decisions about succession transitions in family firms: A conceptual model. International Journal of Financial Studies, 2(4), 335–358. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyne, G. A., John, P., James, O., & Petrovsky, N. (2011). Top management turnover and organizational performance: A test of a contingency model. Public Administration Review, 71, 572–581. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chavez, C. I., Gomez, C., Valenzuela, M., & Perera. (2017). Teaching leaders to lead themselves: An emerging leader exercise. Management Teaching Review, 2(1), 80–91. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Church, A. H. (2014). Succession planning 2.0: Building bench through better execution. Strategic HR Review, 13(6), 233–242. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ejimabo, N. O. (2015). The influence of decision making in organizational leadership and management activities. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Organization Management, 4(138).
  10. Frisch, C., & Huppenbauer, M. (2014). New insights into ethical leadership: A qualitative investigation of the experiences of executive ethical leaders. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(1), 23–43. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gray, D. (2014). Succession planning 101. Professional Safety, 59(3), 35. Retrieved from
  12. Greyvenstein, H., & Cilliers, F. (2012). Followership’s experiences of organizational leadership: A systems psychodynamic perspective. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 38(2), 1–10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hargreaves, A., & Harris, A. (2015). High performance leadership in unusually challenging educational circumstances. Eesti Haridusteaduste Ajakiri, 3(1), 28–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kang, M., & Sung, M. (2017). How symmetrical employee communication leads to employee engagement and positive employee communication behaviors: The mediation of employee-organization relationships. Journal of Communication Management, 21(1), 82–102. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kiriakidis, S. (2015). Theory of planned behaviour: The intention-behaviour relationship and the perceived behavioural control (pbc) relationship with intention and behaviour. International Journal of Strategic Innovative Marketing, 3, 40–51. Google Scholar
  16. Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The leadership challenge (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  17. Mahajan, A., & Mahajan, A. (2016). Code of ethics among Indian business firms: A cross-sectional analysis of its incidence, role and compliance. Paradigm, 20(1), 14–35. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nadler-Moodie, M., & Croce, N., Jr. (2012). Succession planning. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 18(6), 357–358. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  20. Peters-Hawkins, A. L., Reed, L. C., & Kingsberry, F. (2017). Dynamic leadership succession: Strengthening urban principal succession planning. Urban Education, 1–29.
  21. Pollock, J. M. (2017). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.Google Scholar
  22. Resick, C. J., Hargis, M. B., Shao, P., & Dust, S. B. (2013). Ethical leadership, moral equity judgments, and discretionary workplace behavior. Human Relations, 66(7), 951–972. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schulz, D. J., & Enslin, C. (2014). The female executive’s perspective on career planning and advancement in organizations: Experiences with cascading gender bias, the double-bind, and unwritten rules to advancement. Sage Open, 4(4), 1–9. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shaw, J. B., Erickson, A., & Nasirzadeh, F. (2015). Destructive leader behavior: A comparison of Australian, American, and Iranian leaders using the destructive leadership questionnaire. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 15(3), 329–345. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Souryal, S. S. (2014). Ethics in criminal justice: In search of the truth (6th ed.). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson.Google Scholar
  26. Tremblay, M., & Gibson, M. (2016). The role of humor in the relationship between transactional leadership behavior, perceived supervisor support, and citizenship behavior. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 23(1), 39–54. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Yeager, K. L., & Callahan, J. L. (2016). Learning to lead: Foundations of emerging leader identity development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 18(3), 286–300. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony R. Carbo
    • 1
  • Karin J. Storm
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PhoenixTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations