Ethics in leadership: the case of local politicians

Morrell, Kevin and Hartley, Jean (2006). Ethics in leadership: the case of local politicians. Local Government Studies, 32(1) pp. 55–70.



The mainstream literature on leadership has little to say about the role of ethics. Equally, much of this literature is concerned with the private sector and with managerial leadership. This paper addresses both these gaps, by reporting on the development of a scale for measuring ethical values in local political leadership, the public service values scale. This is one section of a larger instrument for assessing the skills of local political leaders: the Warwick Political Leadership Questionnaire. The paper reports on the use of this instrument in a 360 degree format, following piloting of a self assessment version. The responses of 19 elected members and 241 feedback givers are analysed. These data offer support for the validity and reliability of the public service values scale. The paper concludes with a research agenda, offering suggestions for how this scale can be applied to researching ethics in leadership.

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