A selection of interesting research and articles we found recently.

Does the head lead the heart in trust with ethical leadership and OCBs?
Yes, according to an investigation into the trust underlying the relationship between ethical leadership and followers’ organisational citizenship behaviours (OCBs). Ethical leadership leads to the development of cognitive trust, which subsequently influences the development of affective trust. Based on survey data obtained from 184 employees and their supervisors, Alexander Newman and his co-researchers concluded that ethical leadership leads to higher levels of both affective and cognitive trust.

In addition, they found that cognitive trust and affective trust, in turn, mediate the relationship between ethical leadership and follower OCBs. Affective trust induces followers to exhibit OCBs as a means of reciprocating the leader’s favourable behaviour.

For more details, see: Alexander Newman, Kohyar Kiazad, Qing Miao and Brian Cooper. Examining the Cognitive and Affective Trust-Based Mechanisms Underlying the Relationship Between Ethical Leadership and Organisational Citizenship: A Case of the Head Leading the Heart? Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, Volume 123(1), pp 113-123.


Ethical leadership and ethical climate affect employee ethical behaviour
Chin-Shan Lu and Chi-Chang Lin empirically examined the effects of ethical leadership and ethical climate on employee ethical behavior in Taiwan’s international port context. Survey data from 128 port workers showed that ethical leadership has a significant impact on ethical climate and ethical behaviour, in that ethical climate was positively associated with employee ethical behaviour.

Read more about this study in: Chin-Shan Lu and Chi-Chang Lin, The Effects of Ethical Leadership and Ethical Climate on Employee Ethical Behavior in the International Port Context. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, Volume 124(2), pp 209-223.


Ethical leadership and employee involvement during change
Ethical leadership matters in the context of organizational change when followers need to trust the integrity of their leaders, and so Monica Sharif and Terri Scandura investigated the link between ethical leadership and organizational change. Based on a sample of 199 supervisor–subordinate pairs from a wide variety of organizations, results support a three-way interaction (ethical leadership, organizational change, and involvement in change) for performance and OCBs. The authors note that their results have important implications for organizational change since ethical leadership appears to complement follower involvement when change is happening.

For more information see: Monica M. Sharif and Terri A. Scandura, Do Perceptions of Ethical Conduct Matter During Organizational Change? Ethical Leadership and Employee Involvement. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, Volume 124(2), pp 185-196.


Job-related harm and ethical decision-making among Chinese professionals
Douglas May, Cuifang Li, Jennifer Mencl and Ching-Chu Huang investigated the ethics of meaningful work by examining how types of job-related harm (physical, economic, emotional, and cognitive) and their magnitude of consequences (MOC, low, high) influenced components of ethical decision-making (moral recognition, moral evaluations, and moral intentions). The researchers also looked at the effects of individual differences (experience with carpal tunnel syndrome, experience with layoffs, ability to read others’ emotions, and intrinsic motivation orientation [IMO]) on the relationship between the MOC and the ethical decision-making elements for each type of harm.

Using a sample of 185 Chinese professionals, results revealed that physical and economic job-related harm were recognized as moral issues to a greater extent than cognitive or emotional harm. Second, physical job-related harm stimulated a higher level of moral evaluations than economic and cognitive harm. Third, individuals intended to act ethically when MOC was high versus low. Finally, experience with layoffs and IMO helped explain the relations between MOC and moral evaluations for economic and cognitive job-related harm, respectively.

The full paper is available at: Douglas R. May, Cuifang Li, Jennifer Mencl and Ching-Chu Huang. The Ethics of Meaningful Work: Types and Magnitude of Job-Related Harm and the Ethical Decision-Making Process. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 121(4), pp 651-669.