Ethics and critical thinking in leadership education

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6 Scopus citations


If you want to teach students to be ethical and socially responsible, you have to develop their moral imaginations, critical thinking skills and evoke their emotions or passion to act on what is morally right. Moral learning must reach the body, the head, and the heart. Punishment and rewards act on the body to behaviorally reinforce lessons about right and wrong. Teachers educate the head by giving students information about the world that is necessary for ethical decision making. Educating the heart is perhaps the most difficult and ignored part of teaching ethics, because it is about cultivating the emotions and feelings necessary for morality, and the will or desire to be moral. In this paper I focus on educating the head and the heart. I argue that critical thinking skills are crucial to ethics education and that the point of ethics courses should be to develop moral sentiment, will and imagination. My comments will specifically address the relevancy of these areas to leadership studies, but what I have to say applies in general to the liberal arts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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