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Integration of Research Methodologies on Organizational Leadership


The organizational leadership dynamics are continuously evolving, shaped by external forces, internal structures, and societal expectations. One company that has found itself at the forefront of scrutiny is Uber Technologies, a company that has revolutionized transportation through its innovative economy model. The organization has faced persistent controversies related to ethical leadership, prompting a critical examination of its practices and policies. Stillman (2017, para. 1) states that Kalanick’s leadership faced critical high-profile organizational issues, including the sexual harassment claims, the bullying, and the intellectual property lawsuit, which are “attributable to former leader Travis Kalanick’s brash take-no-prisoners, admit-no-errors leadership style.” These issues might have emerged due to the presence of a male-dominant board and predominantly male workforce at the company, which might have encouraged most extreme behaviors, such as sexual assaults and sexism within the company (Ali, 2017, para. 21). Therefore, it is imperative to use research approach to address this organizational leadership problem by answering the research question: How can Uber enhance its ethical leadership to mitigate past controversies and cultivate a culture of trust and transparency?

The significance of this study is underscored by the profound impact ethical leadership has on organizational success and stakeholder relationships. In an era where corporate ethics and social responsibility are paramount, the way organizations navigate this issue influences public perception, employee morale, and long-term sustainability. Uber, as a one of the leading businesses in the transportation industry, stands as a pertinent case study for exploring the intricacies of ethical leadership in a rapidly changing business landscape. The paper analyzes existing literature on research methodologies, providing a comprehensive understanding of the tools available for investigating organizational leadership issue related to Uber Technologies. It also identifies and synthesizes previous studies, drawing insights and lessons applicable to case company’s context. The paper utilizes combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies while exploring how they can help to address Uber’s ethical leadership challenges. The analysis and discussion in this essay contribute to the broader understanding of ethical leadership in an actual organizational setting. The insights are crucial for providing tangible recommendations for Uber and, potentially, other organizations struggling with similar issues.

Literature Review

Research has proven to be effective tool for understanding complex issues affecting human life, ranging from healthcare, organizational behavior, and politics or leadership. Scholars usually employ different research methods to address a hypothesized problem or understand more about a phenomenon. Patten and Newhart (2018, p. 3) highlight that these constructs are the building blocks of the scientific enterprise because they help to answer the “how” question in systematic knowledge quest. According to Sileyew (2019, p. 1), research methodology entails a path that researchers require to conduct their investigation. Javareshk (2023, p. 1) defines research methodological approaches as processes that involve applying systematic techniques and procedures to solve research questions. Specifically, the procedure entails multi-dimensional aspects, including “data collection (e.g., survey, transactions), data sources (primary and secondary data), sample size, and methods (quantitative and qualitative)” (Bach et a., 2013, p. 44). Most importantly, understanding the research methods can empower a person in their personal life since the knowledge makes them wiser and being critical consumer of any available information (Patten & Newhart, 2018, p. 4). Therefore, research methodology is essential component for a successful research process.

Existing literature have focused on exploring two broad classification of research methodologies: quantitative and qualitative research. Subsequent section exhaustively expounds on their differences and similarities. An empirical review study by Long (2014, p. 427) collected data from five prestigious creativity journals and examined and compared them with ones in gifted education. The authors established that the experiment was the frequently used quantitative methodologies and creative research predominantly focused on psychometrics and quantitative. In addition, qualitative methodology frequently used care studies as high number of mixed-methods studies emerged from quantitative methodology (Long, 2014, p. 427). According to Ahmad et al. (2019, p. 2829), quantitative research focuses investigative relationships (cause and effect) between variables using numerical data while qualitative research aims at exploring and discovering ideas and perspectives using pictures words, and objects. These findings suggest that choosing appropriate research methodological approach requires critical consideration of various factors, including the purpose and subsequent methods.

The examination of existing literature also highlights the complex nature of organizational leadership. Shafique and Beh (2017, p. 134) state that globalization and technological developments are forcing organizations to adapt to the changing business environment that push them to remain conscious about the leadership approaches and models they use. A study by Tavanti (2011, p. 127) explores various typologies involving toxic leaders in organizational setting, including narcissistic leaders and bullies, as they are rampant in today’s organizations. Such individuals are distinctive and identifiable through the dysfunctional personal attributes and destructive behaviors that produce lasting vicious effects on people they lead because, including worsening subordinates’ workplace and personal conditions and being selfish in their decision-making process (Tavanti, 2011, p. 127). On the contrary, excellent managers usually portray their ability to successfully manage dysfunctional leaders in the workplace. This aspect highlights the characteristic role of effective leaders in an organizational setting. From a healthcare setting, Shanafelt et al. (2015, p. 432) established that the leadership qualities of physician supervisors significant influence the physicians’ satisfaction and well-being when working in health care organizations. Therefore, it is imperative to investigate ethical leadership from the Uber’s context based on appropriately selected research methodology.

Discussion of Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methodologies

A comprehensive review of research methodologies reveals a spectrum of approaches, ranging from quantitative to qualitative methods. The two broad classifications have notable similarities despite both having distinctive fundamental epistemological and ontological perspectives that are distinctive to their corresponding research design (Coy, 2019, p. 71). Quantitative research relies on numerical data and statistical analyses based on natural sciences, often providing a broad overview of patterns and associations. This numeric data can take the quantitative structure, such as personal income, while it can also be in other imposed forms including depression ratings from a scale of 1 to 10 (Ahmad et al., 2019, p. 2828). Most importantly, the collected data can have non-numerical form when gather but they investigators translate them into numbers (Patten & Newhart, 2018, p. 6). Ahmad et al. (2019, p. 2829) state that the approach aims at establishing “cause and effect relationship between two variables by using mathematical, computational and statistical methods.” Furthermore, quantitative research allows researchers to gather data and divide them into categories or place it into rank, or measure it based on distinct measurement units while constructing tables and graphs, thus helping them to analyze the results (Ahmad et al., 2019, p. 2829)

On the other hand, qualitative research delves into the complexities of human behavior, using non-numeric data, usually expressed in words, to uncover pertinent perspectives and experiences from themes and trends (Patten & Newhart, 2018, p. 7). Another notable distinctive feature between the two categories is that qualitative researchers focused on organizational behavior and behavioral science while quantitative researchers are founded in technology such as computer science (Warfield, 2010, p. 28). Besides, the former is concerned with the credibility and transferability and the latter focuses on reliability and generalizability (Coy, 2019, p. 72). Distinctively, quantitative researchers usually use experiments, statistical analyses, and measurements employing structured techniques, like questionnaires and surveys, to address the research question while their counterparts in the qualitative research use content conversational analysis, interviews, case studies, field research, focused groups, and observations (Ahmad et al., 2019, p. 2829; Long, 2014, p. 428). According to Ahmad et al. (2019, p. 2829), investigators using qualitative methods tend to make various assumptions that direct their research, including using an ‘insider’s’ perspective where an inquiry is personal and more subjective, feeling that human behavior is context-specific, and believing that individuals cannot study well social sciences as physical or natural sciences.

Studies have also highlight cases where they can combine two methodologies in a single investigation. Such approach refers to mixed-methods design with refers to using some combination of quantitative and qualitative research approaches in a study (Warfield, 2010, p. 28). According to Coy (2019, p. 73), the design provides a more inclusive understanding of the phenomenon under investigation with two dimensions – quantitative and qualitative – based on a single inquiry. The approach also offers a way of employing methodological triangulation (Ahmad et al., 2019, p. 2831). However, it is crucial to acknowledge the limitations of quantitative and qualitative research, particularly regarding rich contextual issues and subjective experiences. While quantitative methods can offer valuable insights into trends and correlations, they may fall short in uncovering the underlying reasons or the depth of individual perspectives. On the other hand, qualitative research methodology may lack the statistical generalizability associated with quantitative research since the approach usually use small sample size (like in case study and focused groups), suggesting the need for careful consideration of sample representativeness and the potential for bias (Coy, 2019, p. 73).

The applicability of these methodologies in the context of Uber’s ethical leadership challenges lies in their complementary nature. Researchers can use quantitative research approaches to quantify the prevalence of ethical leadership practices and assess their impact on key organizational outcomes. This aspect may involve surveying the company’s employees, analyzing company-wide performance metrics, and conducting experiments to measure the effectiveness of specific leadership interventions. On the other hand, qualitative methods can focus on the narratives of Uber employees, exploring their perceptions of ethical leadership, the challenges they face, and the cultural factors influencing ethical practices within the organization. Researchers can use in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and content analysis of internal communications to understand of the ethical climate at Uber. Therefore, the integration of both methodologies allows for a comprehensive exploration of the company’s ethical leadership landscape, addressing the limitations inherent in each approach. In addition, this hybrid approach enables a triangulation of findings, enhancing the overall validity and reliability of the research outcomes.

Developing Research Questions

Based on the proposed topic, “Enhancing Ethical Leadership at Uber” and the analyzed organizational leadership problem affecting Uber Technologies, have develop three research questions that will direct the study. They capture the complex nature of the issue and provide a roadmap for the research inquiry.

  1. To what extent do Uber employees perceive the current leadership practices as ethically sound, and how does this perception vary across different organizational levels and cultural backgrounds?

This question aims to measure the subjective experiences and perceptions of Uber employees regarding the ethical dimensions of leadership. Therefore, the research can uncover pertinent insights into the diverse perspectives within the company by considering variations across organizational levels and cultural backgrounds.

  1. What are the key ethical challenges faced by company’s leaders in decision-making, and how do these challenges impact organizational trust and transparency?

The second question focuses on the specific ethical dilemmas confronted by leaders at Uber, examining the implications of these challenges on the overall trustworthiness and transparency of the organization. Identifying these issues can help the research inform targeted interventions to address and mitigate ethical concerns.

  1. How does the organizational culture at Uber influence the manifestation of ethical leadership, and what role does leadership behavior play in shaping and reinforcing this culture?

I have formulated this question because it is crucial to examine the relationship between organizational culture, ethical leadership, and leadership behaviors. This query seeks to understand the reciprocal relationship between leadership actions and the prevailing organizational culture, providing insights into the dynamics that either foster or hinder ethical leadership practices.

The significance of these research questions lies in their ability to offer a comprehensive understanding of Uber’s leadership challenges. Individual responses and the selected research approach will also determine their validity and reliability. Most importantly, each question serves as a strategic entry point for the subsequent stages of research, ensuring that the inquiry remains focused, purposeful, and directly applicable to the organizational context. Therefore, the research questions address the multi-dimensional nature of the problem by exploring employee perceptions, identifying key ethical dilemmas, and unraveling the complex relationship between leadership behavior and organizational culture. Collectively, they create an all-inclusive framework for investigating and addressing Uber’s managerial challenges.

Differentiation between Research Designs

Research design serves as the framework for the entire research process, guiding the collection and analysis of data to answer the research questions effectively. Sileyew (2019, p. 2) states that researchers engage in a significant decision about determining how they will obtain relevant information for the study, which encompasses the research design process. Existing literature highlights various designs that can direct a study. From two broad classifications of research methodologies, we can identify distinct designs from each dimension. Some scholars classify the designs as experimental, nonexperimental, and quasi-experimental (Patten & Newhart, 2018, 12). First, experimental designs involve the manipulation of one or more independent variables to observe its effect on a dependent variable, often in controlled settings (Asenahabi, 2019, p. 81). The design involves introducing a treatment and measuring to see whether the treatment influences the outcome (Patten & Newhart, 2018, p. 12). In the context of Uber’s managerial issues, researchers can employ this approach to test the impact of specific leadership interventions on employee perceptions and organizational trust. However, ethical considerations and the dynamic nature of organizational environments may pose challenges in implementing controlled experiments.

Another research design is case study, which provides an in-depth exploration of a specific case or phenomenon of interest at one-point of time (Robbins, 2017, p. 56). According to Asenahabi (2019, p. 82) and Robbins (2017, p. 57), researchers can use case studies for in-depth investigation of the program, group, industry, culture, organization, process, or nationality. This design usually involves one participant, contrary to approaches like survey that can include hundred or thousand subjects (Patten & Newhart, 2018, p. 19). For Uber, a case study could involve an extensive examination of past ethical controversies, leadership decisions, and their repercussions, thus allowing for a rich understanding of the historical and contextual factors influencing company’s ethical leadership. However, the approach may limit study’s generalizability, and the depth of analysis may require careful consideration of resource constraints.

Researchers can also use surveys that entail collecting data from a sample through structured questionnaires. Survey design is a classification of non-experimental research approach that helps to gather numerical description of trends, opinions, and attitudes of a population by investigating its sample (Asenahabi, 2019, p. 79). Patten and Newhart (2018, p. 19) states that this study approach involves drawing a sample from a population, collecting data, and making inferences about the study. Polls also use similar method. The design is appropriate when researchers want to obtain large about of data from many people within short time while studying multiple variables using rigorous statistical analysis and a large sample (Asenahabi, 2019, p. 79). From the organizational problem involving Uber, survey can help to quantify employee perceptions of ethical leadership and identify trends across different organizational levels and cultural backgrounds.

Other research designs include correlational research, causal-comparative research, grounded theory, ethnography, longitudinal, and phenomenological research (Asenahabi, 2019, p. 78). Each has distinct study features that aligns with their use in the study. Therefore, the appropriateness of a design is evaluated based on its alignment with the research questions and the practical considerations of the organizational context. While experimental and survey designs provide quantitative rigor, case study and longitudinal designs contribute depth and context. From our context, the selection of designs is a strategic decision, ensuring that the research addresses the identified challenges and generates insights applicable to Uber’s dynamic and evolving organizational landscape. Therefore, I am confident that using surveys is appropriate for addressing the research question about ethical leadership at Uber. In addition, focused groups as qualitative research can help address issues not captured through surveys, especially ones involving the executives or top company’s leaders. Therefore, the combines approaches yield a mixed study design.

Analyzing Results to Guide Organizational Decisions

After using the proposed study designs to investigate how Uber can enhance its ethical leadership to mitigate past controversies and cultivate a culture of trust and transparency, researchers can assess patterns, trends, and relationship between variable to explains ethical leadership issue at the company. For instance, a quantitative data obtained from surveys can reveal a significant positive correlation between perceived ethical leadership and employee satisfaction, suggesting that focusing on enhancing ethical leadership could positively impact employee morale. On the other hand, the analysis can identify specific areas where ethical leadership is lacking, thus raising the need of designing targeted interventions to address these shortcomings. Furthermore, qualitative data, gathered through interviews or content analysis, may reveal common themes or narratives regarding ethical challenges. For example, employees may consistently express concerns about transparency in decision-making, thus necessitating a need for leadership to prioritize communication and transparency initiatives.

Moreover, researchers must scrutinize patterns and anomalies in both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Consistent patterns may point to systemic issues that require strategic interventions, while anomalies may highlight unique challenges or successes that merit further exploration. For instance, the organization may consider targeted attention if a specific department exhibits significantly lower perceptions of ethical leadership. Researchers must also contextualize results within the broader organizational goals. The findings will carry greater weight if enhancing ethical leadership aligns with Uber’s mission and values. Conversely, if certain ethical practices conflict with organizational objectives, leadership must reconcile these differences to foster a cohesive and values-driven culture. The results could also guide the organizational decisions by comparing them against the industry benchmarks to provide a broader perspective. For instance, the company’s management may consider substantial improvements when Uber’s ethical leadership practices fall below industry standards. On the other hand, when Uber outperforms in certain areas, the results would have suggested a competitive advantage that should be maintained and leveraged.

The analysis offers valuable source for recommendations and strategic insights for leadership in an organizational setting. These aspects are crucial in the decision-making process despite being from hypothetical results. If the analysis indicates a lack of trust due to past controversies, the company can implement a communication strategy emphasizing transparency and accountability. Therefore, researchers can recommend specific training programs for leaders on ethical managerial practices. In addition, we may propose strategic initiatives for cultural transformation when the results suggest that the organizational culture significantly influences ethical leadership. This approach could involve revisiting organizational values, incentivizing ethical behavior, and embedding ethical considerations in performance evaluations and promotions. These strategic insights and suggestion offer potential solutions for addressing ethical leadership at Uber, which can extend to other organizations acing similar challenges.


This paper centers discussions on research methodologies based on the critical examination of Uber’s past controversies related to ethical leadership. The literature review has revealed that different studies use distinct research methodologies under quantitative and qualitative approaches based on the purpose and subsequent methods. The exploration established that research design is the framework for the entire research process, guiding the collection and analysis of data to answer the research questions effectively. Ultimately, the insights derived from this integrated approach contribute to Uber’s strategic decisions and to the broader understanding of ethical leadership in organizational settings. Based on the hypothetical results, the company can address ethical leadership challenge by designing targeted interventions, prioritizing communication and transparency initiatives, and enhancing ethical leadership. Therefore, the recommendations and strategic insights generated are valuable tool for Uber and potentially other organizations facing similar challenges, fostering a culture of trust, transparency, and ethical excellence.


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