Work Ethic, Leadership Influence, and Higher Education

Work Ethic, Leadership Influence, and Higher Education

Victor Wang (Liberty University, USA) and Nancy Johnson (St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, Inc., USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4141-8.ch007
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This chapter takes the reader through a historical review of work ethic interwoven with higher education and ethical leadership and discusses the ways in which organizations can motivate their employees to adopt a healthy rather than unhealthy work ethic. McGregor's Theory X and Y theory are examined and related to ethical leadership practice. To determine whether an organization has acquired a healthy work ethic based on Theory X and Theory Y, Wang's valid and reliable instrument for the organization's employees to use is presented. Maslow, Hertzberg, and McClelland's motivational theories form the foundation of the factors that motivate employees. The diverse characteristics of employees are reviewed, including the Baby Boomers and Generation X and Y and how these cohorts of employees look for different motivating factors in their job. The chapter concludes with future trends that are impacting organizations and the workforce and the importance of understanding the different motivating factors that play a part in employees' work ethics across cultures.
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What Is Work?

To correctly understand one’s work ethics, it is necessary to examine how people have viewed work through the ages. A brief review of the dominant meanings that people have given to work at different times in history contributes to our understanding of work ethics needed in today’s universities and organizations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Y Theory Person: Exhibits a natural tendency towards learning, exercises self-control and self-direction, seeks reward through achievement, and incorporates self into the process of change ( Rogers, 1951 ).

Two Factor Theory: Extrinsic and intrinsic factors relate to dissatisfaction and satisfaction.

Work Ethic: The driving force behind productive work effort.

Work: Defined as activity with several historical connotations that can be summed into seven viewpoints: Continuous activity, productive, requiring physical and mental exertion, has psycho-social aspects, is performed on a regular basis, requires a degree of restraint, and can be performed for personal purpose ( Petty & Brewer, 2005 , p. 94).

Ethical Leadership: A leader’s performance, decision-making and practice that promotes open communication, follower’s trust, and a sense of psychological safety leading to follower involvement in decision-making and group learning (Walumbwa, Hartnel, & Misati, 2017 AU40: The in-text citation "Walumbwa, Hartnel, & Misati, 2017" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

X Theory Person: Dislikes and avoids work ( McGregor, 1960 ).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: A scale of needs beginning with physiological and evolving to self-actualization.

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