Research tidbits: Employees and ethical leadership

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What influences ethical behaviour amongst employees? The authors of this week’s articles investigate.

Ethical leadership and employees’ job performance 
With the increasing demand for ethical standards in the current business environment, ethical leadership has received particular attention. Drawing on self-verification theory and social exchange theory, this study investigated the effect of leaders’ core self-evaluation on the display of ethical leadership and the moderating role of employees’ exchange ideology in the relationship between ethical leadership and employees’ job performance (i.e., task performance and organisational citizenship behaviour).

Consistent with the hypotheses, the results from a sample of 225 dyads of employees and their immediate leaders showed a positive relationship between leaders’ core self-evaluation and ethical leadership. Moreover, the results showed that ethical leadership mediates the effects of leaders’ core self-evaluation on employees’ job performance.

Furthermore, the authors found that employees’ exchange ideology moderates the relationship between ethical leadership and job performance. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Jaehyung Ahn, Soojin Lee and Seokhwa Yun. 2018. Leaders’ Core Self-evaluation, Ethical Leadership, and Employees’ Job Performance: The Moderating Role of Employees’ Exchange Ideology. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 148(2), 457–470.

 

Cascading effects of ethical leadership on employee outcomes 
Based on social learning theory, the authors developed a moderated-mediation model of trickle-down effects to test how the ethical leadership of high-level leaders influences the ethical leadership of low-level leaders and the work outcomes of subordinate employees. Data were collected from 224 leader-employee dyads at six large companies in South Korea.

The results of hierarchical regression analyses provided support for this model. Their results indicated that the ethical leadership of high-level leaders trickles down to low-level leaders, which then reduces the social loafing of employees while increasing their task performance. The researchers also found that the self-enhancement motives of low-level leaders moderate the positive relationship between the ethical leadership of high and low-level leaders in a way that strengthens this relationship when the motives are low rather than high.

This finding further suggests that low levels of self-enhancement motives strengthen the indirect effects of ethical, high-level leadership on employee social loafing and task performance.

Gukdo Byun, Steven J. Karau, Ye Dai and Soojin Lee. 2018. A three-level examination of the cascading effects of ethical leadership on employee outcomes: A moderated mediation analysis. 
Journal of Business Research, 88, 44-53.

 

Does ethical leadership require leaders or can followers lead it? 
This article addresses the fundamental question of what is ethical leadership by rearticulating relations between leaders and followers in terms of “affective leadership.” The article develops a Spinozian conception of ethics which is underpinned by a deep suspicion of ethical systems that hold obedience as a primary virtue.

The writers argue that the existing research into ethical leadership tends to underplay the ethical capacities of followers by presuming that they are in need of direction or care by morally superior leaders. In contrast, affective leadership advocates a profoundly political version of ethics, which involves people in the pursuit of joyful encounters that augment our capacity to affect and be affected by others. Instead of being led by people in leadership positions, we are led by active affections that enhance our capacity for moral action.

Iain Munro and Torkild Thanem. 2018. The Ethics of Affective Leadership: Organizing Good Encounters Without Leaders.
Business Ethics Quarterly, 28(1), 51-69. doi:10.1017/beq.2017.34 

 

How far do immigrants adopt the business ethics attitudes of their new country? 
This study explores to what extent immigrants adopt the business ethical attitudes of their host country and/or maintain those of their country of origin. For countries that have significant immigration, acculturation is an important social issue. An immigrant’s acculturation is influenced through the ability to adapt his/her “ethical culture of origin” by integrating it with the host country’s ethical culture.

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the role of acculturation on immigrant’s ethical attitudes. What happens to individuals, who have developed in one cultural context, when they attempt to live in a new cultural context?
Three groups were the object of this study: (1) native students of business administration in Israel, (2) students of business administration in the Ukraine and (3) business students in Israel who had emigrated from the Ukraine.

Samples of these student populations allowed the study of acculturation effects on the immigrants as they acclimated to Israeli society. Results showed that students living in the Ukraine had the lowest ethical attitudes, followed by Ukraine immigrants in Israel. Israeli-born students had significantly higher ethical attitudes than either of the two Ukrainian groups. Accordingly, the ethical perceptions of immigrant students showed that they were influenced by both their home and host cultures. According to Berry’s (Appl Psychol Int Rev 46(1): 5–68, 1997) model of acculturation strategies, integration was their preferred strategy. The implications of these results and guidelines for further research are suggested.

Eugene D. Jaffe, Nonna Kushnirovich, and Alexandr Tsimerman. 2018. The Impact of Acculturation on Immigrants’ Business Ethics Attitudes. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 147(4), 821–834.

 

Need for multiple perspectives in responsible leadership 
Recently, the increasing interest in responsible leadership (RL) has produced a research field rich in theoretical and conceptual potential, with diverse research foci, theoretical foundations, and methodological approaches. While these developments have demarcated the field from other leadership-oriented disciplines, they have equally courted fragmentation and ambiguity in terms of the field’s positioning within the greater body of leadership studies.

To map the theoretical, methodological, and empirical state of the art of the RL field, the researchers outline recent developments and delineate important research gaps and directions for future theory development and empirical research. The investigators emphasise the transition of RL research from micro-level perspectives with normative roots to research spanning multiple levels of analysis, vis-à-vis both antecedents and outcomes.

The authors discuss the implications of their mapping, highlighting the necessity of not only conceptualising RL across multiple levels of analysis, but also to actively focus on interactions among RL antecedents and outcomes across these levels. Through these, these scholars aim to contribute to the field by strengthening its conceptual foundations and anchoring it more clearly within leadership studies overall.

Christof Miska and Mark E. Mendenhall. 2018. Responsible Leadership: A Mapping of Extant Research and Future Directions. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 148(1), 117–134.

 

Ethical leadership and employee success: Examining the roles of psychological empowerment and emotional exhaustion
The current study aims to advance ethical leadership theory and research in two ways. First, these authors propose that psychological empowerment is a comprehensive motivational mechanism linking ethical leadership with employee current in-role success and future success potential.

Second, the researchers propose that employee emotional exhaustion is a disruptive psychological state that dampens the empowering effects of ethical leaders. Findings from two field studies illustrate that emotional exhaustion impairs the motivational efforts of ethical leaders by attenuating the direct effects on psychological empowerment and the indirect effects on employees’ current success and success potential. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Scott B. Dust, Christian J. Resick, Jaclyn A. Margolis, Mary B. Mawritz, Rebecca L. Greenbaum. 2018. Ethical leadership and employee success: Examining the roles of psychological empowerment and emotional exhaustion.
The Leadership Quarterly, available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.02.002

 

An analysis of the key determinants of hotel employees’ ethical behaviour
One of the main challenges plaguing the hotel industry today is the unethical behaviour of its employees which spreads like a bad, contagious disease across all departments of a hotel company, has a strong negative impact on hotel operations, results in huge financial losses and other detrimental consequences and has become a major headache for many hotel companies.

The purpose of this study is to identify what the main factors are that impact the ethical behaviour of hotel employees to help hotels understand the source of this problem. More specifically, this study attempts to replicate Deshpande, Joseph, and Prasad’s (2006) study -which was conducted in hospitals-in three, four, and five star hotels in Greece to examine whether it will yield similar results.

This study is based on a previous work that the first author presented at the EuroCHRIE 2013 conference in Freiburg, Germany and is among the first ones to be conducted in hotels as most research studies on this topic were conducted in non-hospitality settings. The examined factors include the following: the ethical behaviour of peers and managers, the hotel employees’ business ethics education, as well as the role of gender, nationality, age, level of education and length of time that participants have worked in the position they were in as well as in the hotel industry overall.

Results revealed that some of these factors are key determinants that rule the ethical behaviour of employees regardless of the setting they are in.

Read this article online for free

Christina K. Dimitriou and Joseph P. Ducette. 2018. An analysis of the key determinants of hotel employees’ ethical behaviour.
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 34, 66-74.

2018-06-12T17:18:48+00:00June 12th, 2018|News, Research Tidbits|