Is an ethical society possible?

E. Isaac Mostovicz (Janus Thinking Ltd, Jerusalem, Israel)
Nada K. Kakabadse (Northampton Business School, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Andrew Kakabadse (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this paper is to outline concepts that can build an ethical society.


The paper examines selected literature on citizenship through the lens of theory building‐blocks. It identifies the role of leadership in society and its importance in developing society into an ethical one.


The paper distinguishes between a ruler, which is defined socially as a hierarchical position, and a leader, which describes a personal quality and is embedded in psychology. Leadership is a developmental process, which is based on the type of choice a leader makes, which implies that two good options are always available from which to select. Nevertheless, one should make choices in accordance with his worldview, looking for affiliation (i.e. the Theta worldview), or looking for achievement (i.e. the Lambda worldview). Consequently, the choices leaders make for societal activities have to fit their own worldview. Pursuing the fit between one's worldview and planned societal or citizenship activities ensures that society continuously improves its ethical behaviour. The paper concludes with examining the meaning of citizenship and the state in modern times.

Research limitations/implications

Being a theory‐based exploration, the paper does not provide empirical examples of how this theory might be applied in practice.


The paper fills a gap in explaining why current theories could not provide an ethical theory of citizenship. It follows by distinguishing between the definitions of a ruler and a leader. In addition, it questions the viewing of a state as a long‐term entity.



Isaac Mostovicz, E., Kakabadse, N. and Kakabadse, A. (2009), "Is an ethical society possible?", Society and Business Review, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 246-264.

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