The Virtuous Influence of Ethical Leadership Behavior: Evidence from the Field

Journal of Business Ethics 90 (2):157-170 (2009)
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Abstract

This study examines a moderated/mediated model of ethical leadership on follower job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment. We proposed that managers have the potential to be agents of virtue or vice within organizations. Specifically, through ethical leadership behavior we argued that managers can virtuously influence perceptions of ethical climate, which in turn will positively impact organizational members’ flourishing as measured by job satisfaction and affective commitment to the organization. We also hypothesized that perceptions of interactional justice would moderate the ethical leadership-to-climate relationship. Our results indicate that ethical leadership has both a direct and indirect influence on follower job satisfaction and affective commitment. The indirect effect of ethical leadership involves shaping perceptions of ethical climate, which in turn, engender greater job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment. Furthermore, when interactional justice is perceived to be high, this strengthens the ethical leadership-to-climate relationship.

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