Ebbers seemed to concentrate power on top executives. This power went unchecked. The giving out of loans as well as other financial incentives to top management secretly without following due diligence was unethical. These were contrary to the legitimate interests of the organization Ebbers, as a role model already to some, his actions and philosophy should have dissuaded the followers from unethical and anti-social behaviors (Ibid, pg. 7). Also, being influential, he should have promoted cooperation among subordinates, teamwork and self-efficacy towards a common goal (Trevino, and Brown, 2004; and Pradhan, 2014), instead of marginalizing power concentrations to a chosen few.
Theoretical linkages between Ebbers’ leadership style as practiced and the behavior that occurred within WorldCom. Leadership style hinges on social learning and social exchange in which Trevino, and Brown, (2004) articulate that “as moral managers, ethical leaders are clear about their expectations of followers. They are visible role models of ethical behavior, communicate with their people about their ethical and values-based expectations, and use the reward system to hold followers accountable for ethical conduct”.
Ebbers was not clear about behavioral expectations, nor was he a good role model of ethical behavior, and ethical accountability was on self-interest not organizational interests.
Ebbers’s leadership style’s contribution to the values and actions of key managers. Organizational justice was not evident at WorldCom. Ebbers did not institute a “reward system to support ethical conduct is consistent with followers’ perceptions of organizational justice” as propounded by Trevino, and Brown. There was no disciplining of unethical conduct, thus Ebbers was not upholding organizational norms and supporting the values of those who obey the rules (Ibid).
Key managers should institute multiple processes that rely on both Transformational and Transactional approaches to leadership (Ibid), so as to uphold ethical conduct.
The ethical leader and how they encourage ethical behavior for organizational results. Ehical leaders, need to behave ethically in their personal and professional lives, making decisions based on ethical principles and the long-term interest of multiple stakeholders. Ebbers should not have given out power and financial incentives to a chosen few, and neither should he have allowed the company to continue without professional management principles and structures guiding its operating system. His followers were likely to personally identify with such a visible role model of ethical conduct and to pattern their own behavior after that of the leader