This study examines the controversial tenure of former Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Carly Fiorina using the ethical leadership construct. Fiorina rose quickly through the ranks at AT&T and Lucent Technologies to become the most powerful businesswoman in the United States when she took the helm at HP in 1999. She prevailed in a bitter proxy fight over the firm's merger with Compaq Computer. However, she was abruptly fired in 2005. Both the CEO and members of the HP board failed as moral persons and as moral managers, leading to Fiorina's ouster and the subsequent HP spying scandal. HP went from one of the world's most admired companies to the target of criminal investigations and public criticism. Implications for leadership ethics are drawn from the experience of HP. and limitations of the ethical leadership construct are identified.
Johnson, Craig E., "The Rise and Fall of Carly Fiorina: An Ethical Case Study" (2008). Faculty Publications - College of Business. 66.