A selection of interesting research and articles we found recently on HRM and ethical behaviour.

Ethical leadership influences workplace engagement as well as misbehaviour
Ozgur Demirtas notes that while a number of studies are being done on ethical leadership, little is known about the role of ethical ideology and organisational justice in the relationship between ethical leadership behaviour and individual behaviours such as work engagement and organisational misbehaviour, which has tended to be neglected in the ethics literature. This study examines the mediating effects of organisational justice on the relations of ethical leadership, work engagement and organisational misbehaviour. It also investigates the moderating effect of ethical ideology on the relationships among these variables. It proposes that managers’ ethical values and organisational members’ ethical perspectives such as absolutism, exceptionism, situationism and subjectivism have the potential to be agents of virtue within organisations. Employee attributions and emotional reactions to the unethical behaviour of their leaders are important factors for individual behaviour outcomes.

In this study, it was hypothesised that ethical leadership behaviour affects organisational justice perception and this, respectively, affects organisational members’ work engagement and organisational misbehaviour. It was also hypothesised that ethical ideology would moderate the relationship between ethical leadership and organisational justice. Results indicate that ethical leadership has both direct and indirect influence on work engagement and organisational misbehaviour. Finally, practical implications are discussed, and suggestions for the future research are made.

Find out more at: Ozgur Demirtas. 2015. Ethical Leadership Influence at Organizations: Evidence from the Field.
Journal of Business Ethics, 126(2), 273-284.


Do human resource management practices affect corporate sustainability and ethical climate?
Indeed they do, according to M. Guerci recent publication in which the research team took an employee perspective to examine HR management practices and their effects on ethical and sustainable organisations.  Increasing challenges faced by organisations have led to numerous studies examining human resource management (HRM) practices, organisational ethical climates and sustainability. Despite this, little has been done to explore the possible relationships between these three topics. This study, based on a probabilistic sample of 6,000 employees from six European countries, analyses how HRM practices with the aim of developing organisational ethics influence the benevolent, principled and egoistic ethical climates that exist within organisations, while also investigating the possible moderating role played by employees’ perception of corporate sustainability.

Findings demonstrate that ability-enhancing practices (i.e. recruiting, selection and training) and opportunity-enhancing practices (i.e. job design, industrial relationships and employee involvement) improve benevolent and principled organisational ethical climates, while motivation-enhancing practices (i.e. performance management, compensation and incentives), rather than being related to these organisational ethical climates, are linked to the egoistic climate. In addition, the perceptions of the company’s employees in terms of corporate sustainability moderate these relationships, by reinforcing the positive relationships of ability-enhancing and motivation-enhancing HRM practices in terms of benevolent and principled ethical climates, and by reducing the positive relationships between motivation-enhancing practices and egoistic climate. Specific implications for HRM research, teaching and practice are discussed.

Find out more at: M. Guerci, Giovanni Radaelli, Elena Siletti, Stefano Cirella, A. B. Rami Shani. 2015. The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices and Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Ethical Climates: An Employee Perspective.
Journal of Business Ethics, 126(2), 325-342.


Ethical leadership affects organisational deviance
The interest in ethical leadership has grown in the past few years, with an emphasis on the mechanisms through which it affects organisational life. However, research on the boundary conditions that limit and/or enhance its effectiveness is still scarce, especially concerning one of the main misconceptions about ethical leadership, its incompatibility with effectiveness (Brown, Organ Dyn 36:140–155, 2007). Thus, the present study (a) examines the relationship between ethical leadership and organisational deviance via affective commitment to the organisation, as a reflection of the quality of the employee–organisation relationship and (b) proposes this relationship is conditional on the supervisor’s personal reputation for performance (i.e., the moral standards are coupled with work effectiveness).

Using a sample of 224 employees and their respective supervisors from 18 organisations, Pedro Neves and Joana Story confirmed their hypotheses. The findings suggest that ethical leadership is positively related to employees’ affective commitment to the organisation, particularly when supervisor’s reputation for performance is high, which in turn is associated with decreased organisational deviance. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings conclude the paper.

For further details, see: Pedro Neves and Joana Story. 2015. Ethical Leadership and Reputation: Combined Indirect Effects on Organizational Deviance.
Journal of Business Ethics, 127(1), 165-176.


Motivation-enhancing human resource practices and entrepreneurial survival
David DeGeest and his colleagues addressed a pressing but understudied issue in the high incidence of new venture failure. The authors propose a model of how motivation-enhancing human resource (MHR) practices mediate the effects of initial human and financial resources of a founding team on firms’ decisions to remain in operation. In this model, they also propose that MHR practices have effects on firm survival that change over time. They tested the model with a sample of 1,100 firms tracked for 7 years.

The researchers found support for a model where MHR practices partially mediate the effects of initial firm resources and human capital on firm survival. They also found that the effects of MHR practices change over time such that their positive effects on survival become stronger. They conclude with a research agenda and recommendations for how nascent firms can promote survival.

For further information: David S. DeGeest, Elizabeth H. Follmer, Sheryl L. Walter, and Ernest H. O’Boyle. 2015. The Benefits of Benefits: A Dynamic Approach to Motivation-Enhancing Human Resource Practices and Entrepreneurial Survival.
Journal of Management, January 29, doi 0149206315569313.


Employee motivation and self-esteem under abusive supervision
This article considers two theoretical perspectives on employees’ motivation associated with diminished self-esteem from abusive supervision. The self-defense view of diminished self-esteem suggests that abusive supervision motivates destructive behavior in an attempt to reassert personal control and protect victims’ self-image. The self-presentational view of diminished self-esteem suggests abusive supervision motivates behaviour that attempts to signal fit with and value to the workgroup and organisation.

On the basis of these two theoretical perspectives, Ryan Vogel and Marie Mitchell examined how employees’ diminished self-esteem from abusive supervision can motivate destructive work behaviour (i.e., supervisor-directed deviance, organisational deviance) and self-presentational behaviour (i.e., putting on a façade, ingratiation). Additionally, employees’ turnover intentions, which are an indicator of employees’ psychological detachment from the organisation, are considered a moderator of the effects of abusive supervision on diminished self-esteem and associated behaviour such that high turnover intentions attenuate the effects. Results of two field studies and a daily diary study support the hypothesised model and show that abusive supervision indirectly influences employees’ workplace deviance and self-presentational behaviour via diminished self-esteem. As predicted, the effects are stronger for employees with lower versus higher turnover intentions.

Read further at: Ryan M. Vogel & Marie S. Mitchell. 2015. The Motivational Effects of Diminished Self-Esteem for Employees Who Experience Abusive Supervision.
Journal of Management, January 15, doi: 0149206314566462.


What do we know about abusive supervision?
Jeremy Mackey and his associated conducted a meta-analysis and empirical review of abusive supervision research in order to derive meta-analytic population estimates for the relationships between perceptions of abusive supervision and numerous demographic, justice, individual difference, leadership and outcome variables. The use of psychometric correction enabled the researchers to provide weighted mean correlations and population correlation estimates that accounted for attenuation due to measurement error and sampling error variance. They also conducted sensitivity analyses that removed the effects of large samples from analyses. Then, they conducted subgroup analyses using samples drawn from the United States to provide population correlation estimates that corrected for attenuation due to measurement error, sampling error variance, and indirect range restriction.

Finally, Mackey et al. examined measurement artifacts resulting from various adaptations of Tepper’s abusive supervision measure. The results reveal that although the associations between perceptions of abusive supervision and outcome variables appear to be universally negative, the magnitude of the relationships between perceptions of abusive supervision and antecedent and outcome variables varies according to the design features of studies. Contributions to theory and practice, strengths and limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

For more details, see: Jeremy D. Mackey, Rachel E. Frieder, Jeremy R. Brees, and Mark J. Martinko. 2015. Abusive Supervision: A Meta-Analysis and Empirical Review.
Journal of Management, March 3, doi: 0149206315573997.