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The Leadership Experience 7th Edition

The Leadership Experience (7th Edition)

Book Edition7th Edition
PublisherCengage Learning
Chapter 12, End of Chapter, DISCUSSION QUESTIONS, Exercise 1
Page 385

Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth century, said that ''power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely,'' suggesting that a person's sense of morality lessens as his or her power increases. Do you agree? Considering this idea, is it ethical for leaders to try to increase their power? Discuss.


Power is inherently neutral, but it is considered to be a corrupting force when it not used responsibly. Leaders need to exercise caution when they use their influence due to their high impact on the organization.

  • The purpose of power is to achieve organizational goals and promote the welfare of all its members. Values such as transparency and accountability help prevent leaders from abusing their power.
  • The improper use of power and influence to control organizational politics is the biggest threat that leaders provide when they have too much power. Leaders should only seek greater power when they have proven their capacity to handle the responsibility and their dedication towards meeting the goals of the organization rather than self-interest.

Sample Response

Power can corrupt the thoughts and actions of leaders when they are not held accountable for how they have chosen to use their authority. Some leaders may end up exercising their power for the wrong intentions, such as pursuing self-interest and fostering a culture of nepotism, if their colleagues and subordinates do not have the means to conduct checks and balances.


Leaders have to make themselves accountable for the actions that they make whenever they seek to expand their power. The task of using power correctly is a responsibility that each leader should perform and they should always use their position and influence for the good of the organization and its members.

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