A selection of interesting articles we came across recently on ethical leadership performance.

Doing well by doing good?
Silke Eisenbeiss, Daan van Knippenberg and Clemens Fahrbach note that business ethics and firm economic performance have traditionally often been regarded as mutually exclusive ends. They challenge this “either-or” belief and analyse when, and how, ethical leadership and firm performance may harmonize well. In extension of earlier research on ethical leadership and performance at the individual and team level, Eisenbeiss and her colleagues study the context of the relationship between CEO leadership and firm performance.

They propose a moderated mediation model of the link between CEO ethical leadership and firm performance, identifying mediating (organisational ethical culture) and moderating (organisational ethics program) variables. CEO ethical leadership is argued to work through an ethical culture, which promotes firm performance under the condition that there is a strong corporate ethics program in place. Support for the model came from a cross-sectional study, in which 145 participants from 32 organisations were surveyed and firm performance ratings validated by objective performance data.

For further details, see: Silke Astrid Eisenbeiss, Daan van Knippenberg and Clemens Maximilian Fahrbach. 2015. Doing Well by Doing Good? Analyzing the Relationship Between CEO Ethical Leadership and Firm Performance.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 635-651.


Framework for ethical leadership
Interest in ethical leadership from academics and practitioners has grown enormously in recent years. This article addresses this literature through a framework that identifies three interlocking questions.
First, who are ethical leaders and what are their characteristics?
Second, how do ethical leaders do what they do?
Third, why do leaders do as they do and what are the outcomes of ethical leadership?

Different dimensions to ethical leadership are examined and presented as three interlocking circles; Virtues, Purposes and Practices. This framework presents an integrated approach to ethical leadership and argues that future research take this holistic framework and apply it to different sectors or contexts.

The full paper is at: Alan Lawton and Iliana Páez. 2015. Developing a Framework for Ethical Leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 130(3), 639-649.


Trust in supervisor important for employee engagement and emotional exhaustion
Aamir Chughtai, Marann Byrne and Barbara Flood focused on the supervisor–trainee relationship, examining the impact of ethical leadership on two indicators of work-related well-being: work engagement and emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, this study sought to examine the mediating role of trust in supervisor in these relationships.

Survey data were collected at two different points in time from 216 trainee accountants drawn from a variety of organisations. Results showed that, as hypothesised, trust in supervisor fully mediated the effects of ethical leadership on work engagement and emotional exhaustion, respectively. The theoretical and practical implications of this research are discussed.

See more at: Aamir Chughtai, Marann Byrne and Barbara Flood. 2015. Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Well-Being: The Role of Trust in Supervisor.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 653-663.


Ethical leadership affects work–family relationships
Yi Liao and colleagues examined the relationship between ethical leadership, as perceived by employees, and the satisfaction of the employees’ spouses. They also considered the mediating role of the employees’ ethical leadership in the family domain as perceived by their spouses, and the moderating role of the employees’ identification with leader. The results, which were based on a sample of 193 employee–spouse dyads in China, indicated that employees’ perceptions of ethical leadership in the workplace positively influenced their spouses’ family satisfaction. Moreover, employees’ ethical leadership in the family domain mediated this relationship.

Furthermore, whereas identification with the leader strengthened the relationship between the employees’ perceptions of ethical leadership in the workplace and their ethical leadership demonstrations in the family domain, it weakened the relationship between their ethical leadership demonstrations in the family domain and their spouses’ family satisfaction. The theoretical and managerial implications of these findings are discussed.

The full paper is available at: Yi Liao, Xiao-Yu Liu, Ho Kwong Kwan and Jinsong Li. 2015. Work–Family Effects of Ethical Leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 535-545.


Do CSR policies affect labour productivity in micro and small Spanish companies?
It depends, according to Pablo Sánchez and Sonia Benito-Hernández.  They analysed empirical evidence of efforts to enable Spanish micro and small manufacturing companies to boost their labour productivity rates through the development of the main pillars of their CSR policies. This study aimed to show internal dimensions of CSR, such those related to relationships with employees and responsibility in processes and product quality, CSR can improve labour performance and labour efficiency, thereby contributing to a better society.

The results from 929 small businesses indicate that the social responsibility policies that most contribute to a short-term increase in labour productivity are those related to internal aspects of the company, in particular its involvement in the quality of processes and products, promotion of innovation and employee care. However, the impact on labour productivity of CSR policies related to external factors, such as relationships with stakeholders and environmental concerns, could not be empirically demonstrated in this paper.

For more details, see: Pablo Esteban Sánchez and Sonia Benito-Hernández. 2015. CSR Policies: Effects on Labour Productivity in Spanish Micro and Small Manufacturing Companies.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(4), 705-724.


Ethical leadership shapes employees’ job performance
Drawing from research on ethical leadership, psychological capital, and social learning theory, this study investigated the mediating effects of goal congruence and psychological capital in the link between supervisors’ ethical leadership style and followers’ in-role job performance. Data captured from 171 employees and 24 supervisors showed that ethical leadership has a positive effect on followers’ in-role job performance, yet this effect is explained through the role of psychological capital and follower–leader goal congruence, providing evidence of mediation. These findings have significant implications for research and practice.

The full paper is at: Dave Bouckenooghe, Asma Zafar and Usman Raja. 2015. How Ethical Leadership Shapes Employees’ Job Performance: The Mediating Roles of Goal Congruence and Psychological Capital.
Journal of Business Ethics, 129(2), 251-264.