Our research tidbits this week offer a group of articles analysing the effects of ethical leadership.
Effects of ethical leadership on employee family and life satisfaction via family-supportive supervisor behaviours
Drawing on the work–family enrichment theory, the present study investigates the cross-domain effects of ethical leadership on employees’ family and life satisfaction. Moreover, it focuses on the mediating role of work–family enrichment (WFE) and the moderated mediation process of family-supportive supervisor behaviours (FSSB) underlying the relationship between ethical leadership and employees’ family and life satisfaction.
Using a sample of 371 employees and their immediate supervisors in China, the authors found that WFE mediated the relationship between ethical leadership and employee-rated and supervisor-rated family and life satisfaction. Moreover, FSSB positively moderated the relationship between ethical leadership and WFE, such that the relationship was strengthened when FSSB were higher.
Furthermore, the mediations of WFE between ethical leadership and employee-rated and supervisor-rated family and life satisfaction were also positively moderated by FSSB, such that the indirect effects were stronger when FSSB were higher. The theoretical and managerial implications of the findings are further discussed.
Shuxia Zhang and Yidong Tu. 2018. Cross-Domain Effects of Ethical Leadership on Employee Family and Life Satisfaction: The Moderating Role of Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors.
Journal of Business Ethics, 152(4), 1085–1097.
Should we blame leaders for destructive leadership?
Over the last 25 years, there has been an increasing fascination with the “dark” side of leadership. The term “destructive leadership” has been used as an overarching expression to describe various “bad” leader behaviours believed to be associated with harmful consequences for followers and organisations.
Yet, there is a general consensus and appreciation in the broader leadership literature that leadership represents much more than the behaviours of those in positions of influence. It is a dynamic, cocreational process between leaders, followers, and environments, the product of which contributes to group and organisational outcomes.
In this paper, the authors argue that, despite this more holistic recognition of leadership processes within the broader leadership literature, current conceptualisations and analyses of destructive leadership continue to focus too heavily on behaviours and characteristics of “bad” leaders. In the authors’ view, to achieve a more balanced understanding of destructive leadership, it is important to adopt more integrative approaches that are based in the contemporary leadership discourse and that recognise flawed or toxic leaders, susceptible followers, and conducive environments as interdependent elements of a broader destructive leadership process.
To this end, the authors offer a critique of the destructive leadership literature, propose a broader definition of destructive leadership, and highlight gaps in our understanding of leaders, followers, and environments in contributing to destructive leadership processes. Finally, the authors conclude by discussing strategies for examining destructive leadership in a broader, more holistic fashion.
Christian N. Thoroughgood, Katina B. Sawyer, Art Padilla and Laura Lunsford. 2018. Critique of leader-centric perspectives on destructive leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 151(3), 627–649.
Supervisor support influences (un)ethical employee behaviour
This article investigates the effects of perceived supervisor support on ethical (organisational citizenship behaviours) and unethical employee behaviour (counterproductive workplace behaviour) using a multi-method approach (one experiment and one field survey with multiple waves and supervisor ratings of employees).
Specifically, the authors test the mediating mechanism (i.e., supervisor-based self-esteem) and a boundary condition (i.e., employee task satisfaction) that moderate the relationship between support and (un)ethical employee behaviours.
The authors find that supervisor-based self-esteem fully mediates the relationship between supervisor support and (un)ethical employee behaviour and that employee task satisfaction intensifies the relationship between supervisor support and supervisor-based self-esteem.
Francesco Sguera, Richard P. Bagozzi, Quy N. Huy, R. Wayne Boss and David S. Boss. 2018. The More You Care, the Worthier I Feel, the Better I Behave: How and When Supervisor Support Influences (Un)Ethical Employee Behavior.
Journal of Business Ethics, 153(3), 615–628.
Does ethical leadership trickle down?
Although the trickle-down effect of ethical leadership has been documented in the literature, its underlying mechanism still remains largely unclear. To address this gap, the authors develop a cross-level dual-process model to explain how the effect occurs.
Drawing on social learning theory, the authors hypothesise that the ethical leadership of high-level managers could cascade to middle-level supervisors via its impact on middle-level supervisors’ two ethical expectations. Using a sample of 69 middle-level supervisors and 381 subordinates across 69 sub-branches from a large banking firm in China, the authors found that middle-level supervisors’ ethical efficacy expectation and unethical behaviour–punishment expectation (as one form of ethical outcome expectations) accounted for the trickle-down effect.
The explanatory role of middle-level supervisors’ ethical behaviour–reward expectation (as the other form of ethical outcome expectations), however, was not supported. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Zhen Wang, Haoying Xu and Yukun Liu. 2018. How Does Ethical Leadership Trickle Down? Test of an Integrative Dual-Process Model.
Journal of Business Ethics, 153(3), 691–705.
When do ethical leaders become less effective?
Drawing from the group engagement model and the moral conviction literature, the authors propose that perceived leader ethical conviction moderates the relationship between ethical leadership and employee OCB as well as deviance.
In a field study of employees from various industries and a scenario-based experiment, the authors revealed that both the positive relation between ethical leadership and employee OCB and the negative relation between ethical leadership and employee deviance are more pronounced when leaders are perceived to have weak rather than strong ethical convictions.
Further, the authors argued and showed that employees’ feelings of personal control and perceived voice opportunity mediated the interactive effect of ethical leadership and perceived leader ethical conviction on OCB and deviance. Implications of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.
Mayowa T. Babalola, Jeroen Stouten, Jeroen Camps and Martin Euwema. 2019. When Do Ethical Leaders Become Less Effective? The Moderating Role of Perceived Leader Ethical Conviction on Employee Discretionary Reactions to Ethical Leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 154(1), 85–102.
Why and when leader conscientiousness relates to ethical leadership
While previous research has established that employees who have a more conscientious leader are more likely to perceive that their leader is ethical, the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions of this linkage remain unknown. In order to better understand the relationship between leader conscientiousness and ethical leadership, the authors examine the potential mediating role of leader moral reflectiveness, as well as the potential moderating role of decision-making autonomy.
Drawing from social cognitive theory, results from two samples of workgroup leaders and their immediate reports situated in Africa and Asia show that leader conscientiousness is positively related to leader moral reflectiveness, which in turn, is positively associated with employees’ assessment of ethical leadership.
Furthermore, and consistent with the authors’ hypothesis, results from the two samples show that leader decision-making autonomy moderates the indirect path from leader conscientiousness to ethical leadership through moral reflectiveness, such that only morally reflective leaders who have high (versus low) decision-making autonomy at work engage in ethical leadership behaviours.
In the discussion, the authors highlight the theoretical and practical implications of the findings and suggest ways in which organisations can better foster ethical leadership.
Mayowa T. Babalola, Michelle C. Bligh, Babatunde Ogunfowora, Liang Guo and Omale A. Garba. 2019. The Mind is Willing, but the Situation Constrains: Why and When Leader Conscientiousness Relates to Ethical Leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(1), 75–89.
CSR and customer value co-creation behaviour: The moderation mechanisms of servant leadership and relationship marketing orientation
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a force to “pull” customers to the organisational mission and values, and influence them to contribute to the organisation. The primary purpose of the research is to assess how CSR contributes to customer value co-creation. The research also seeks evidence on the moderation mechanisms of servant leadership and relationship marketing orientation for the effect of CSR on customer value co-creation behaviour.
The data were collected from 873 employees and 873 customers in software industry in Vietnam context. The data analysis supported the positive effect of CSR on customer value co-creation behaviour. Servant leadership and relationship marketing orientation were also found to play moderating roles for the CSR–customer value co-creation linkage.
Trong Tuan Luu. 2019. CSR and Customer Value Co-creation Behavior: The Moderation Mechanisms of Servant Leadership and Relationship Marketing Orientation.
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(2), 379–398.