What is the concept and emergence of ethical leadership? What is the impact of ethical leadership on the project success in the US industry?

Much of the literature in the management field is committed to explaining the effectiveness of ethics for project managers. The recent famous and known corporate scandals have significantly sparked the interest of scholars in ethical leadership. Many MNCs operating across the globe like Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and Barclays have listed ethics and integrity as one of the most important business value (Sull, Turconi and Sull, 2020). In the case of project professionals, for instance, the codes of ethics serve as a guide for moral action, these serve as a means to lead professionals to cultivate values and qualities, to aspire to achieve the excellence necessary to optimally meet the social needs, those of their union, those of the organization for which they work and those of the person (Hassan, Bashir & Abbas, 2017). The literature explaining the project success is found to be in growing or progressive stage. It has become mandatory to determine how leadership can influence the overall performance of a project. Many scholars and practitioners like Javed (2020); Littman, Mathien & Littman (2020) are attempting to propose a comprehensive approach for identifying the relationship between leadership and success of a project. This requires an ethical leadership from the project manager, where responsibility and duty are essential; respect for resources, the environment and the good of people; and equity, justice and transparency in each of the decisions and acts (Jabeen, Al-Muaini & Al-Hosani, 2019).
In this sense, the project managers, by becoming part of this professional association, freely and voluntarily decide to comply with their code of ethics and professional conduct, which commits them “to act correctly and honourably”; to set “a high level of demand, which they aspire to achieve in all aspects of lives: at work, at home and the service of a profession”; and to “instil confidence in the field of project management and helping people to be better professionals” (Littman & Littman, 2017). The code of ethics and professional conduct of the directors attached to the “PMI” is guided by the values of responsibility, respect, fairness and honesty. These values are the pillar on which the moral, ideal and obligatory norms are structured, which determine the behaviour of project managers in their actions. The scope of these ethical and conduct standards set the behaviour that, from the director as leader of the projects, must be applied in the development and construction of the entrusted good, as well as in its relationship with every one of those involved (Littman, Mathien & Littman, 2020). Even though the available literature in this field has extensively studied ethics for project managers, the body of evidence lacks information about the impact of ethical leadership on project success. It has become important to look at the direct link between ethical leadership and the success of the project.

Problem Statement

According to Hassan, Bashir and Abbas (2017)., organisations with weak ethical practices and standards tend to engage in questionable accounting and costing practices for projects which can have long-term negative consequences on their performance and reputation. It has been identified by Jabeen, Al-Muaini and Al Hosani (2019), lack of ethical practices imposed by leaders and managers in projects result in poor performance and compromised quality standards. Thus, the general business problem is that lack of ethics results in poor performance of the project. The specific business problem is the role and implementation of ethical leadership to influence the success of projects.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the impact of ethical leadership implementation on the success of the project in specific regard to the IT sector and related projects. Relatedly, the population of the research included business Organizations located in the US that have completed projects routinely. The criteria for the successful projects are the ones that are completed on time, cost, and also comply with the requirements set out by the clients.
This study can contribute positively towards the business sector and its leaders, as the findings can be used to successfully incorporate ethical leadership within the projects to increase the likelihood of the project success. The success of the projects will not only have a short term impact for the project companies but it will also have long term impact with respect to increased reputation and portfolio of the companies that practise ethical leadership. Besides, implementation of ethical leadership by the leaders and managers of IT companies can create a healthy work environment which can foster positive relationship within the team members which further improved their productivity as well as the overall success of the project.

Nature of the Study

The nature of the proposed study is qualitative because the researcher has used qualitative data for the research. The qualitative design will allow the researcher to attain in-depth information from the managers and leaders of IT projects to understand their perspective and strategies for ensuring project success (Javed, 2020). The study will focus on evaluating the assumptions explaining the existence of a link between ethical leadership and project success. The qualitative data collected via interview surveys will help in gathering desired knowledge and data regarding the ethical leadership and project success. Moreover, considering that the qualitative aspect of this study also incorporated the use of perception and experiences of the leaders of projects and the phenomenological design has been used in this study.

Research Question

Based on the problem statement and research topic, the main research questions for the study will include the following;
1. What is the concept and emergence of ethical leadership?
2. What is the impact of ethical leadership on the project success in the US industry?
3. What is the mediating role of employee trust and moderating role of ethical Orientation?
4. What are the necessary recommendations for US industry?

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