Theme 4:Analysis of 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership

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As an important term to an organization, ethical leadership requires a manager to understand the core values and to live them in all aspects of life for the common good. Developed by Dr. Bill Grace, the 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership demonstrates all sides of ethical leadership. The 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership is a framework that aligns the internal factors, i.e. the beliefs and values, with the external factors, i.e. the behaviors and actions, in service of approaching the common good. The framework is shown as below:

Figure 1: The 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership


(Source: The Center for Ethical Leadership, 2014)

According to this model, leaders who wish to make a difference should make an inner journey of integrity as well as an outer commitment to the common good. In the first step, it starts with the inner journey, where individuals would discover their core values, identify a vision by which the world could be different, and then seek their personal voice as to express their vision. In the second step, the leadership development approach moves to an outer commitment of living and behaving in ways that serve the common good. The goal of leadership is to shape the world into a visionary and inclusive one, and allow all the organizational members to meet their needs and potentials.

As demonstrated in the figure, the 4-V model includes 4 sides of the ethical leadership, including values, vision, voice and virtue. Firstly, values act as the primary factor within the model. To develop ethical leadership, the leader should begin with understanding the individual core values. Secondly, vision is the ability that the leader possesses to incorporate his or her actions within the frame of what ought to be. As the third side, voice should be claimed as to articulate the vision to others so that they can be motivated to action. Fourthly, virtue, i.e. the common good, is fostered by the leaders through practicing virtuous behavior and striving to do the right things.

As the founder of 4-V model, Dr. Grace identifies three additional key elements to ethical leadership, including service, polis and renewal. Service connects vision to values, which means that when values are tested through service, the vision is often revealed. Polis, standing for politics, indicates that an organization is engaged in the art of politics when voice is given to vision in the public context. Renewal is the territory where voice returns to values, illustrates that since voice can be expressed in various ways, the leaders should regularly consider whether actions are consistent with values and vision (The Center for Ethical Leadership, 2014).

Besides 4-V Model, there are also other theories that perceive the sides of ethical leadership in different ways. For example, some researchers propose that there are five key elements of ethical leadership in an organization, including modeling ethics, giving employees’ voice, considering impact of decisions, promoting community involvement, and responsible sourcing (Schreiner, 2014).

Microsoft is a typical organizational example that illustrates the 4-V model of ethical leadership. The use of ethical leadership allows Bill Gates to significantly release the key tensions within leadership during Microsoft’s globalization process. Firstly, the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates starts with the inner journey of his ethical leadership. Bill Gates has discovered his core values, i.e. passion, intensity, and tenacity (JD, 2011). Then, he identifies a vision that the world could be improved by reducing inequity. By identifying this vision, Bill Gates is able to align his actions to what are the right things to do. In the following, he seeks his personal voice to express vision through management, focusing all his time, energy, and resources on making a better world, instead of getting retired. In the second step, Bill Gates behaves in the purpose of serving the common good, the virtue. For example, he has set a family foundation in which philanthropy plays an important role. The ethical leadership of Bill Gates has significantly boosted the globalization of Microsoft. In the process of globalization, most of Microsoft’s competitors have sacrificed the humanity. For example, Apple under the leadership of Steven Jobs had been establishing sweat factories in the developing. By contract, the emphasis on humanity in Bill Gates’ leadership has increased the brand image and facilitated its market exploitation in the global markets. In conclusion, ethical leadership can be an effective tool by which the leaders manage their organizations. As to deliver the optimal performance, the leaders should arrange the four sides of ethical leadership in the 4-V model properly by aligning the internal factors with the external factors to achieve the common good.





JD(2011) ‘Lessons Learned from Bill Gates’ [online]. Available from: [9 March 2014].

Schreiner, E.(2014) ‘What Are the Key Elements of Ethical Leadership in an Organization?’ [online]. Available from: [9 March 2014].

The Center for Ethical Leadership (2014) ‘Ethical Leadership’ [online]. Available from: [9 March 2014].


12 thoughts on “Theme 4:Analysis of 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership

  1. This statement help me a lot and I hope to get more examples and it is very useful. Thanks

  2. Ethic is quite important, the writer had talked about the Microsoft as an example to explain.

    personally, i am but really understanding it. While I know ethic is important.

    • Here I used Microsoft as an example to explain the 4-V ethical model that Bill Gates used in the globalization of the company.The 4-V Model of Ethical Leadership is a framework that aligns the internal (beliefs and values) with the external (behaviors and actions) for the purpose of advancing the common good. The model was created by Center founder Dr. Bill Grace based on his formal leadership research and personal passions around faith and ethics.At the Center for Ethical Leadership we have found that people who want to become leaders who make a difference need to embrace an inner journey of integrity and make an outer commitment to the common good. Our leadership development approach begins with this inner journey. Individuals discover and claim their core values, develop a vision for how the world could be different, find their personal voice for expressing their vision.

  3. Your article help me to have a better understand of ethical leadership.The ethical leader understands that positive relationships are the gold standard for all organizational effort. Good quality relationships built on respect and trust—not necessarily agreement, because people need to spark off each other—are the single most important determinant of organizational success.

    • Thank for your comments. Just as you said, I have a new understanding of ethical leadership. I found that ethical leadership is also understanding the relationship of organization, so that they will have an effective plan for the company to develop.

  4. I have seen a good explanation of ethical leadership. From my point, the way we define “leading ethically” needs to be broad enough, complex enough and multi-dimensional enough to help us talk about today’s difficult choices intelligently.Talking about these differing perspectives as part of the whole, and not competing perspectives moves the conversation forward.

    • Yes. I only focus on the good points of the ethical leadership, I forgot that according to today’s environment, we need to give new meanings to the ethical leadership, for adapting to the situation of the business climate.

  5. I like your description of ethical leader. In my opinion, ethical leadership has an important element that is interpersonal. This dimension includes how we treat others, including how we demonstrate respect and care. It is important to treat others well even when we don’t agree with their approach or their ideas.

    • I agree with your point.Ethical leadership is not only how we affect others in the organization, but also how we respect and care about others. Meanwhile, I think it also contain how other think about us.

  6. The 4-V Model is simple and clear to explain what ethical leadership is ,and you explained it in a comprehensive way.Before that I always have the idea that ethical leadership is moral and unrealistic, and now I have changed my mind, through the 4-V circle, vision can be tested and voice can returns to value.

    • I agree with you.Significant organizational benefits arise from adopting and applying good corporate governance and ethically leadership.
      Businesses and other services organizations derive substantial advantage, and avoid serious risks, by acting correctly, with humanity, compassion, and with proper consideration. Corporate governance is a crucial foundation in achieving these aims because it provides a framework for the organization’s leadership.

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