A selection of interesting research and articles we found recently.

Do individual or societal values predict ethical behaviour in global workforces?
In a huge project, David Ralston and 47 other researchers investigated whether the societal-level of analysis is sufficient to understand the values of those in the global workforce. Or whether individual-level analyses are more appropriate for assessing the influence of values on ethical behaviours across country workforces. Using multi-level analyses for a 48-society sample, the team tested the utility of both the societal-level and individual-level dimensions of collectivism and individualism values for predicting ethical behaviours of business professionals. Results indicated that values at the individual-level make a more significant contribution to explaining variance in ethical behaviours than do values at the societal-level. The findings question the soundness of using societal-level values measures. Implications for international business research are discussed.

See details at: Ralston, D. et al. Societal-Level Versus Individual-Level Predictions of Ethical Behavior: A 48-Society Study of Collectivism and Individualism. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 122(2), pp 283-306.


Ethical/unethical leadership across cultures
Most of the literature on ethical and unethical leadership reflects a Western-based private sector perspective, based on a compliance-oriented understanding. But how are ethical and unethical leadership perceived in diverse contexts including in the Western and Eastern cultures? And in the private and public/social sectors? Silke Eisenbeiß and Felix Brodbeck conducted in-depth interviews with 36 international executives. The first finding is of commonly held perceptions of ethical leadership consisting of leader honesty, integrity, concern for responsibility & sustainability, and people orientation. Unethical leadership was commonly perceived as referring to leader dishonesty, corruption, egocentrism, and manipulation. There was limited support for a compliance-oriented perspective with a much greater trend toward a value-oriented perspective on ethical and unethical leadership.

Eisenbeiß, Silke Astrid & Brodbeck, Felix. Ethical and Unethical Leadership: A Cross-Cultural and Cross-Sectoral Analysis, Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 122(2), pp 343-359.


Are workers or managers more deviant in 28 nations?
Chung-wen Chen adopted Robert Merton’s (1968) perspective on social structure in testing the individual-level association between job position and ethical reasoning. Anomie theory was employed to examine how country-level factors moderate that individual-level association. Hierarchical linear modeling (was used to analyze data from 22,359 subjects from 28 nations. The statistical results showed that workers are more likely to justify ethically suspect behaviours, and that this individual-level relationship is moderated by the country-level factors of power distance, masculinity, social inequality, and education accessibility. These results imply that Merton’s view of social structure and contemporary anomie theorists’ perspective of anomie …. are mutually complementary rather than exclusive.

Chen, C-W. Are Workers More Likely to be Deviant than Managers? A Cross-National AnalysisJournal of Business Ethics, 2014, 123(2), pp 221-233.


Does ethical leadership lead to happy workers in Chinese cultures?
Conna Yang’s study explored the influence of ethical leadership on employees by examining job satisfaction, subjective well-being at work, and life satisfaction. From two groups of independent data and a multi-group analysis, a two-step structural equation modeling test showed  that ethical leadership has a negative direct effect on employee well-being, which offers significant findings for the meaning of ethical leadership in the Chinese culture. Useful managerial implications are provided for managers and supervisors at the end of this study in the article by Yang.

Yang, C. Does Ethical Leadership Lead to Happy Workers? A Study on the Impact of Ethical Leadership, Subjective Well-Being, and Life Happiness in the Chinese CultureJournal of Business Ethics, 2014, 123(3), pp 513-525.