Date of Award





Communication - Communication Studies Track


Communication Department

First Advisor

Tamara S. Bollis-Pecci


This analysis of leadership and communication research argues that effective leadership is manifested through the ethical communication a leader practices with group members. This paper approaches leadership as an interactional process and corroborates this view with supporting research and theory from the fields of business and communication. Ethical communication is used as a framework for how groups can communicate more effectively. A review of extant literature concluded that effective leadership does not exist with the leader's hands alone, but is created through communication and interaction within the group. Findings indicated that the more effective and productive managers approach their positions as interactive, supporting roles within the group. Communicative styles and behaviors of ethical and unethical leaders were determined. Personality factors were found to predispose leaders to engage in ethical or unethical behavior. Situational factors found to foster unethical behavior were leadership style, superior-subordinate relationship, supervisor immediacy, the threat of getting caught, and moral character. Implications for groups and organizations are discussed.


Honors Thesis

Included in

Communication Commons