The Ethical Leader

Why Doing the Right Thing Can Be the Key to Competitive Advantage

Ethical behaviour by businesses, or their staff, is often seen as the corporate and social responsibility icing on an organizational cake something that is nice to do but never really essential. But by turning this view around and making ethical behaviour a primary focus Witzel shows how businesses can create and maintain long-term competitive advantage.

Trust and respect among key stakeholder groups, particularly employees and customers, cannot be overstated in their importance to an organization s success: trust engenders loyalty and good reputation, which in turn builds brand value. However, while ethical behaviour is key to trust-building, in order for an organization to see lasting, positive outcomes it needs to go deeper than something managers do out of a sense of moral duty. 

The Ethical Leader shows why ethical practice has to be the platform on which a strong and enduring business can be built, and leaders and managers need to provide the necessary tools and insights to enable this to happen. Witzel offers a practical introduction to some of the key concepts in ethics, including how to deal with ethical paradoxes and making ethical decisions. The book explores the specifics of what makes an ethical leader, and how leaders can communicate values and standards across an organization in order to engage the trust of employees, consumers, shareholders and the wider community.


“Witzel […] breaks this hefty subject down into manageable chunks and examines not only what ethics is but how a leader can turn ethical principles into value.” –  FT, Business books of month,

“Scarcely a day passes without the news of some scandal in business, sport or charities breaking – demonstrating the real need to improve ethical leadership in today’s world. In this important book, Morgen Witzel brings his prodigious experience to bear on this complicated topic. He reviews what has been written and, with an enormous range of practical case study examples, shows how ethical leadership should lead to value creation. It is a must-read for leaders of any organization anywhere.” –  Gerry Brown, Chairman G Brown Associates Ltd; Chairman, NovaQuest Capital Management; author of The Independent Director

“Witzel invites the reader into a friendly conversation about leadership ethics in business that is both grounded in ethical theory and illustrated by real cases. His book helps students and practitioners tackle some of the ethical challenges of leadership.” –  Joanne B. Ciulla, Professor of Leadership Ethics, Department of Management and Global Business, and Director, Institute for Ethical Leadership, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick

“In a sea of leadership books, Morgen Witzel has provided a stand-out insight into a reason for ethical leadership behaviour to be a major contributor to longterm business success. By placing value over profit as the performance indicator of business, he demonstrates that persistent consumer engagement with specific businesses is heavily influenced by ethical behaviours, which add value to products, services, internal management, the workforce and partner relationships. This is a highly enjoyable book to read, full of case studies that make the point that ‘ethics makes you money.’” –  Derek Mowbray, Organization Health Psychologist and Behavioural Scientist; Chairman, The Wellbeing and Performance Group; Director, The Management Advisory Service (MAS); Independent Technical Expert, European Commission; Formerly Visiting Professor of Psychology, Universities of Northumbria and Gloucestershire

“This is the book I have been looking for: a clear and unambiguous explanation of ethics in practice, yet never simplistic, and always sympathetic to the predicaments of people making tough choices. The philosophical underpinning is sound and also comprehensive. Morgen Witzel honours the worldly-wise, but doesn’t let anyone off the hook too lightly. A guidebook for leaders in all walks of life.” –  Jonathan Gosling, Emeritus Professor of Leadership Studies, University of Exeter Business School