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The Power Corruption Cycle

Corruption is a social evil, which not only hinders the growth of organizations but also strains the relationship between management and subordinate employees in the workplace. There is therefore a need for all skillful managers to remain within the bounds of ethics in resolving all organizational and workplace problems and in devising innovative strategies that ensure the firm’s continued growth. Research carried out by Transparency International identifies that corruption is propagated by managers through acceptance of bribes by those in power so as to facilitate services against company policy. Bribes may be received as monetary rewards or indirect gifts that are bound to influence the manager inappropriately. This is not only considered illegal but it also hurts economic development and eventually leads to lower product quality and standards. This therefore implies that inferior products and services are introduced in the market at the expense of consumers. Further, the managers end up making poor decisions and hold a poor perspective of employees which destroys the relationship between seniors and subordinates.

The case against corruption and the misuse of power can in no way be better illustrated than by the ongoing global financial meltdown whose onset is solely attributed to the mortgage meltdown. Chief Executive Officers of renowned banks such as those on the Wall Street ignored all core ethics in their lending to customers. In fact, little or no collateral was required and minimal investigation was carried out as to the client’s repayment capacity as far as the clients ‘convinced’ those in power that they could meet the demands of the agreement. This has consequently resulted in the world’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. (Lahart, 2007)

Like all other societal problems, corruption, due to the misuse of power by those in authority, can be stamped out. Various measures such as installing a vigilance system to monitor the relationship between managers and their clients have been proposed. Further proposals are in support of a system that evaluates the manager’s economic standing and compares it to the status and living standards enjoyed. However, the easiest way to stamp out corruption is by appealing to the manager’s moral institution and ethics in combating this detrimental vice.

In today’s world, a vital tool in combating leadership problems in any workplace environment is emotional intelligence. It has been defined as the ability of an individual, in this case, the manager, to influence emotions by managing and assessing them in oneself as well as in other people such as employees so as attain the set goals of the organization. Therefore, the inherent relationship between leadership and emotional intelligence cannot be ignored. First, emotional intelligence is crucial in creating self-awareness in the leaders. They ably recognize feelings as they happen, perform accurate assessments and therefore attain self-confidence. Secondly, it ensures managers acquire self-regulation such that they can aptly keep disruptive emotions and impulses at bay, thereby gaining self-control, honesty and integrity. Thirdly, it ensures managers remain motivated, which is the driving force towards attainment of goals. This enables the manager to have a healthy achievement drive, commitment towards the organization’s vision, optimism in the face of obstacles and initiative by acting on available opportunities. Fourthly, emotional intelligence goes a long way in creating empathy whereby the manager is aware of employees’ needs, concerns, feelings and their fears. Finally, it imparts social skills whereby the manager can successfully induce favorable responses in the workforce through effective diplomacy, open communication and listening ability, inspiration, bonding, collaboration and co-operation so as to create group synergy towards achieving the set goals. (Goleman, 1995)

Therefore, training managers as to the essence of emotional intelligence shall be more successful than any monitoring tactics installed. This is widely supported by studies as that done by Sosik and Megerian (1999) in which they evaluated the change brought about by emotional intelligence. Findings showed that the managers had radically transformed in their leadership behavior and performance outcomes while their employees felt that their superiors were more receptive, transparent and encouraging (Sosik, 1999). Transparency and accountability go a long way in ensuring that ethics are upheld in an organization therefore leading to a healthy working environment. This serves to illustrate that there is no other greater weapon against power induced corruption than emotional intelligence.


References


Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York: Bantam Books.

Lahart, J. (2007). Egg Cracks Differ In Housing, Finance Shells . Wall Street Journal , 12.

Sosik, J. J. (1999). Understanding Leader Emotional Intelligence and Performance. In Group & Oraganization Management (pp. 367-390).

 

 

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