Transformational Leaders’ In-Group versus Out-Group Orientation: Testing the Link Between Leaders’ Organizational Identification, their Willingness to Engage in Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior, and Follower-Perceived Transformational Leadership

Journal of Business Ethics 126 (4):581-590 (2015)
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To further the debate on the ethical dimension of transformational leadership from a virtue ethics perspective, this study focused on leaders’ in-group orientation as well as their in-group versus out-group orientation in situations of conflict between organizational interests and broader ethical values. More precisely, the current study captured leaders’ organizational identification as well as their willingness to engage in unethical pro-organizational behavior and tested the relations between these attitudes and follower-perceived TFL behavior. In total, the leadership behaviors of 112 middle- and top-level managers were evaluated by 900 direct-reports. Results showed leaders’ organizational identification to be positively related to TFL. However, we found no relation between leaders’ willingness to engage in unethical pro-organizational behavior and TFL. Implications regarding the ethical dimension of TFL are discussed



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