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Reflective Investigation [3,000 words]

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop an appropriate conceptual understanding of leadership history and emerging perspectives.
  2. Identify and critically analyse approaches to leadership as they apply to the development and transformation of individuals and organisations.
  3. Assess how diversity impacts on leadership processes and outcomes.
  4. Critically evaluate ethical dilemmas related to leadership.


This reflective investigation is about ethics in relation to leadership, using a scenario as your starting point.

The scenario: The Board of an organisation has contacted University’s Business School to ask if a Lecturer would help generate ideas from students about how to improve ethical leadership within their organisation. The organisation has recently had to remove the CEO for being an ‘unethical leader’. The Board is not saying what the previous CEO did that was unethical, but they now are certain that they want to appoint a new CEO- who will be considered an ethical leader. The Board wants to know what current Business School students consider to be ethical leadership and how it is conceptualised in academic peer-reviewed journal articles. The Board wants to know specifically what the students think, in relation to their own life experiences and values, what elements of ethical leadership are the most important within a contemporary organisation.

Your task: You will need to choose THREE articles from academic journals [published between 2011-2021] that discuss elements of ethics and leadership. Your task is to critically analyse these articles in relation to your own life experiences and values, and reflectively consider what learnings you would recommend the Board might take into consideration in their new appointment of a CEO. These scholarly articles should form the basis of your ideas and recommendations about how to improve ethical leadership within the organisation, but you can use your own experiences and values to inform what you feel would be most important. First and foremost, you should consider how the reading of these articles has transformed your own understanding of ethics and leadership and how this information could influence the Board to understand ethical leadership, and how to appoint an ethical leader, within the organisation.

It is recommended that you complete this assignment in stages throughout the semester rather than leave it all until the last few weeks before it is due. Start searching for your THREE articles now so that these can be approved during workshop sessions.

Assignment structure

Introduction [500 words]

  • Briefly introduce your three articles and the perspectives they present in discussing ethics and leadership. Explain why you choose each one.
  • Summarise how each article defines and discusses ‘ethical leadership’ and how these compare and contrast to each other.


Analysis for each article [500 words x 3 articles = 1,500 words total]

Start each analytical section with a heading which captures the main point of the article and has the reference to the article you are going to critically analyse and reflect upon.

For each article, reflect upon the key arguments or findings from the article and relate these to your personal experiences and values to explain why you feel the Board should take notice of the ideas presented in the article. Follow traditional paragraph structure to make your points and link personal experience to scholarly ideas.

  • Critically summarise the key ideas from the article and make the link between the article ideas, your personal reflections, and what you think the Board should know in terms of what elements of ethical leadership are the most important within a contemporary organisation.
  • Analyse how the theory or insights from the article have helped you to reflect upon how you now think about leadership ethics.
  • Move beyond merely describing or illustrating a concept or model to demonstrate deeper analysis and internal dialogue about this concept or theory and show personal transformation of your thinking about leadership and ethics.

Key questions to consider in reflective writing

  • What have you learnt because of your analysis and reflection using this article?
  • What do you believe the Board needs to know from this analysis and why?
  • Has the application of different theories, concepts and perspectives related to ethical leadership created insight for you?
  • How do you hope your new knowledge about ethical leadership will impact on the Board in terms of increasing ethical leadership within the organisation?




  • Based on your in-depth reading and engagement with each of the articles and their discussion of ethical leadership, create your own definition of ‘ethical leadership’ by synthesising key ideas from these articles. This definition should be your own words and reflect key elements of each of the articles.
  • Summarise the key ideas you have presented in your essay and highlight the key points you feel the Board should take away from your analysis and reflections.


Important information

This assignment should be presented using headings and following APA referencing style guidelines.

You will need to choose THREE articles from academic journals [published between 2011-2021] that discuss elements of ethics and leadership and engage with these thoroughly.

You can check the suitability of your selected articles during workshop sessions. Please note that these choices will not be discussed individually outside of workshops for equity reasons – we can’t do this with everyone.

The library offers a pre-reading service [click here for the link].

You will have time during the workshops to ask questions, discuss ideas, gain feedback, and work on your assignment with our support.

Please see reflective writing guidance already provided.

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