The Ethical Challenges of Surgical Leadership
Not a week goes by without news reports of organizational events that evolve into crises. These affect all sectors of the international and national economy, including commerce, business, athletics, education, and health care. Some events are unexpected and unavoidable. Some are the result of ethical breeches. The challenge to the surgical leader, or for that matter a leader in any profession or business, is to respond to unexpected events in an ethically responsible manner and to take steps to avoid such occurrences resulting from moral deviance by building a strong ethical organization and applying the principles of ethical leadership.
Ethics is fundamental to leadership in health care. A critical factor is the leader’s character. This chapter will examine the essential attributes of an ethical leader, the dark side of leadership, the principles of ethical leadership, and the process of ethical decision-making in day-to-day management. To be an effective and moral leader requires the dynamic and balanced management of six challenges: power, privilege, information, consistency, loyalty, and responsibility. Study cases will be provided for the reader’s analysis of ethical decision-making.
KeywordsEthics Ethical leadership Ethical organizational climates The virtues of leadership The surgeon as a leader Bad leadership Management of power Privilege Information Consistency Loyalty and responsibility Processes for making ethical decision
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