Research tidbits this week considers the impact of employee behaviour on ethical leadership.

Self-sacrificial leadership and employee behaviours 
Drawing on social exchange theory, this study examines a mechanism, namely organizational social capital (OSC), through which self-sacrificial leadership is related to two types of employee behaviours: organizational citizenship behaviours (OCBs) and counterproductive behaviours (CPBs).

The results of two different studies (a field study and an experimental study) in Egypt showed that self-sacrificial leadership is positively related to OSC which, in turn, is positively related to OCBs and negatively related to CPBs. Overall, the findings suggest that self-sacrificial leaders are more likely to achieve desirable employee behaviours through improving the quality of social relationships among employees.

Ahmed Mohammed Sayed Mostafa & Paul A. Bottomley. 2020. Self-Sacrificial Leadership and Employee Behaviours: An Examination of the Role of Organizational Social Capital. 
Journal of Business Ethics  161(3),  641–652.


Fix the game, not the dame in leadership evaluations 
Female leaders continue to face bias in the workplace compared to male leaders. When employees are evaluated differently because of who they are rather than how they perform, an ethical dilemma arises for leaders and organizations.

Thus, bridging role congruity and social identity leadership theories, we propose that gender biases in leadership evaluations can be overcome by manipulating diversity at the team level. Across two multiple-source, multiple-wave, and randomized field experiments, we test whether team gender composition restores gender equity in leadership evaluations.

In Study 1, we find that male leaders are rated as more prototypical in male-dominated groups, an advantage that is eliminated in gender-balanced groups. In Study 2, we replicate and extend this finding by showing that leader gender and team gender composition interact to predict trust in the leader via perceptions of leader prototypicality.

The results show causal support for the social identity model of organizational leadership and a boundary condition of role congruity theory. Beyond moral arguments of fairness, our findings also show how, in the case of gender, team diversity can create a more level playing field for leaders. Finally, we outline the implications of our results for leaders, organizations, business ethics, and society.

Jamie L. Gloor, Manuela Morf, Samantha Paustian-Underdahl & Uschi Backes-Gellner. 2020. Fix the Game, Not the Dame: Restoring Equity in Leadership Evaluations. 
Journal of Business Ethics 161(3),  497–511.


Employees promote stakeholder engagement in B Corporations 
Is there a link between how a firm manages its internal and external stakeholders? More specifically, are firms that give employees stock ownership and more say in running the enterprise more likely to engage with external stakeholders? This study seeks to answer these questions by elaborating on mechanisms that link employees to external stakeholders, such as the community, suppliers, and the environment.

It tests these relationships using a sample of 347 private, mostly small-to-medium size firms, which completed a stakeholder impact assessment organized by the non-profit B Lab. The results support the hypotheses that both employee ownership and employee involvement are positively associated with external stakeholder engagement.

Further, we found that certification plays a role, as employee ownership contributes to external stakeholder engagement only in certified B Corporations, and not in firms that merely completed the B Lab Impact assessment. Our findings have import for stakeholder engagement frameworks, as we show that there is interplay between internal employee stakeholders and external stakeholders that may be important to overall firm–stakeholder management.

Anne-Laure P. Winkler, Jill A. Brown and David L. Finegold. 2019. Employees as Conduits for Effective Stakeholder Engagement: An Example from B Corporations. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 160(4), 913–936.