Can the leader or should the leader avoid politics; of course not. Politics places an economic value on the evaluations being done. If people begin to bargain and negotiate based on a particular action, one can deduce that significant rewards are attached to the outcome of the evaluation. Politics is woven into the fabric of evaluation. Conversely, Russ-Eft & Preskill describe several conditions that would qualify an evaluation for a politics free zone. The conditions are as follows (2001):
No one cares about the program
No one knows about the program
No money is at stake
No power or authority is at stake
And no one in the program, making decisions about the program, or otherwise involved in knowledgeable about or attached is sexually active.
The inference is that all evaluations are political. The implication of this anonymous statement is codified by the ancient writer James. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed (Biblesoft, 1995, James 1:14). In any form politics can be ugly business.
Ethics involve not only not deceiving or doing harm, but being true to the process (Brannick, 2005). Walter and Haslett (2002) write, “‘there is no simple or single answer.’ ‘the researcher has the role of creating the context and conditions for the conduct of the study (p.526).’” In any organization the leader is to Remain true to the process. Never misplace this thought, “all facets of organizational success is built on leadership.” The ethical researcher/evaluator/leader must be supported by ethical leadership. Without proper support one could easily be caught in a conundrum of relying on personal values and convictions while disobeying orders from upper level management. The leader must come to the belief that during research it is better to stay true to one’s convictions even at the expense of resigning a position. Or as illustrated earlier, one can justify unethical behavior for the sake of personal gain. Ethical leadership requires the leader choose one set of moral values over all others, and then take full responsibility for his actions based on those values (Sample, 2002, p.119).
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