Do Ethical Leaders Get Ahead? Exploring Ethical Leadership and Promotability

Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (2):215-236 (2010)
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Abstract

Despite sustained attention to ethical leadership in organizations, scholarship remains largely descriptive. This study employs an empirical approach to examine the consequences of ethical leadership on leader promotability. From a sample of ninety-six managers from two independent organizations, we found that ethical leaders were increasingly likely to be rated by their superior as exhibiting potential to reach senior leadership positions. However, leaders who displayed increased ethical leadership were no more likely to be viewed as promotable in the near-term compared to those who displayed less ethical leadership. Our findings also show ethical culture and pressure to achieve results are important contextual factors that moderate the relationships between ethical leadership and leader promotability to senior leadership roles

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