Date of Conferral







Richard Schuttler


The underlying concern for this research was the increasing numbers of reported culpability of organizational leaders' involvement in unethical practices, and the lack of previous literature on organizational factors that encourage unethical practices by organizational leaders in Nigeria. The purpose of this case study was to gain an understanding of the factors that encourage unethical practices by organizational leaders in Nigeria despite having ethical leadership skills and knowledge. This study was grounded in the framework of moral development theory by Lawrence Kohlberg, also known as the cognitive developmental theory of moralization. Data were gathered from document reviews from public library of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and semistructured interviews sessions with 18 purposefully selected leaders, 9 each from 2 organizations from the telecommunication sector of the Nigerian economy. The interview consisted of 12 open ended semistructured questions. Fourteen themes emerged from the initial data analysis and were further classified into the 4 focus areas for the study: highly ethically aware leaders, lack of consequence leadership, compromises and organizational reputation, and focus on employees' needs. Key findings from this study indicate a potentially new area of study, consequence leadership, that should be considered by other researchers for future development. The study was socially significant because organizational practitioners have the potential to bring about a new generation of ethical leaders based on these findings, and thereby be leaders of positive social change in Nigeria.