Our research tidbits this week looks at detailed aspects of the reasons motivating managers to act ethically, or not.

What does it mean when managers talk about trust?
This paper investigates whether managerial rhetoric in the Management Discussion and Analysis section of 10-K filings can help gauge the level of managerial opportunism in a firm.

The authors find that the use of trust-related words is connected to inefficient investment decisions and poor operating performance. Furthermore, firms making more frequent use of trust-related words are subject to less monitoring by institutional investors or analysts. Their accounting also relies more heavily on discretionary accruals.

These results are consistent with the notion that managerial rhetoric to advertise trustworthiness points towards agency problems plaguing the firm.

Wolfgang Breuer, Andreas Knetsch & Astrid Juliane Salzmann. 2020. What Does It Mean When Managers Talk About Trust?

Journal of Business Ethics, 166(3), 473–488.

Effects of interpersonal deviance and abusive supervision on subordinate organisational citizenship behaviour
We build on the emerging research that shows aversive subordinate workplace behaviours are likely related to abusive supervision in the workplace.

Specifically, the authors develop and test a moderated-mediation model outlining the process of abusive supervision based on the stressor-emotion model of counterproductive work behaviour. The authors argue that subordinate interpersonal deviance prompts supervisor negative emotions, which then leads supervisors to engage in abusive supervision. The authors also argue that subordinate organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) is likely to play a crucial role in predicting abusive supervision. The authors argue that interpersonal deviance is more likely to prompt abusive supervision through supervisor negative emotions when the magnitude of an employee’s engagement in OCB is weaker.

Study 1, a time-lagged field study, tests and provides support for the relationships among the key variables (Hypotheses 1–3). Study 2, utilising multisource field data (i.e., subordinate–supervisor dyads), replicates the results from Study 1 and provides support for the entire moderated-mediation model while controlling for tenure with supervisor, subordinate task performance, and subordinate conscientiousness. The authors find general support for the predictions. The authors conclude with a discussion of theoretical and practical implications as well as future research directions.

Gabi Eissa, Scott W. Lester & Ritu Gupta. 2020. Interpersonal Deviance and Abusive Supervision: The Mediating Role of Supervisor Negative Emotions and the Moderating Role of Subordinate Organizational Citizenship Behavior.

Journal of Business Ethics, 166(3), 577–594.

Ethical leadership and hiding knowledge
According to social learning theory, the authors explored the relation between ethical leadership and knowledge hiding. The authors developed a moderated mediation model of the psychological safety linking ethical leadership and knowledge hiding.

Surveying 436 employees in 78 teams, the authors found that ethical leadership was negatively related to knowledge hiding, and that this relation was mediated by psychological safety. The authors further found that the effect of ethical leadership on knowledge hiding was contingent on a mastery climate. Finally, theoretical and practical implications were discussed for leadership and knowledge management.

Chenghao Men, Patrick S. W. Fong, Weiwei Huo, Jing Zhong, Ruiqian Jia & Jinlian Luo. 2020. Ethical Leadership and Knowledge Hiding: A Moderated Mediation Model of Psychological Safety and Mastery Climate.

Journal of Business Ethics, 166(3), 461–472.

Inclusive Management Research: Persons with Disabilities and Self-Employment Activity as an Exemplar
We highlight exclusionary practices in management research, and demonstrate through example how a more inclusive management literature can address the unique contexts of persons with disabilities, a group that is disadvantaged in society, globally.

Drawing from social psychology, disability, self-employment, entrepreneurship, and vocational rehabilitation literatures, the authors develop and test a holistic model that demonstrates how persons with disabilities might attain meaningful work and improved self-image via self-employment, thus accessing some of the economic and social-psychological benefits often unavailable to them due to organisational-employment barriers.

This longitudinal study provides evidence of the self-image value of ‘doing’ in self-employment, highlighting the potential to reduce stigma and improve generalised self-efficacy and self-esteem. Implications for self-image theory, entrepreneurship training and development, and public policy related to persons with disabilities are discussed.

Bruce C. Martin & Benson Honig. 2020. Inclusive Management Research: Persons with Disabilities and Self-Employment Activity as an Exemplar.

Journal of Business Ethics, 166(3), 553–575.

Prosocial motives, perceptions of organisational virtuousness’ and employee outcomes
Theoretical arguments suggest that organisational virtuousness makes individuals surpass their exchange concerns sparking their prosocial motives.

This paper focuses on the examination of this issue incorporating two field studies. The first field study examines prosocial motives and social exchange as parallel mediators of the relationship between organisational virtuousness’ perceptions and three employee outcomes (willingness to support the organisation, time commitment, work intensity). The second field study examines prosocial motives, personal sacrifice and impression management motives as parallel mediators of the examined relationships.

Both field studies (employing 250 and 354 employees, respectively) indicated that only prosocial motives can mediate the relationship between organisational virtuousness’ perceptions and employee outcomes.

Irene Tsachouridi & Irene Nikandrou. 2020. The Role of Prosocial Motives and Social Exchange in Mediating the Relationship Between Organizational Virtuousness’ Perceptions and Employee Outcomes.

Journal of Business Ethics, 166(3), 535–551.