How Leadership and Commitment Influence Bank Employees’ Adoption of their Bank’s Values

Journal of Business Ethics 101 (3):397-414 (2011)
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Retail banking is facing many challenges, not least the loss of its customers’ trust and loyalty. The economic crisis is forcing banks to examine their relationships with stakeholders and to offer greater reassurance that their brand promises will be delivered. More than ever, banks need to stand for something positive and valued by stakeholders. One way to achieve this is through paying more attention to brand values. Our article explores how values are adopted by employees within a bank. When employees ‘live’ their brand’s values, their behaviour during customer interactions reflects this, encouraging the strengthening of customer relationships. Specifically, we test the relationship between leadership style, employee commitment, and the adoption of values. Data was collected from a survey of 438 branch employees in a leading Irish retail bank. The study found that a structured and directive leadership style was effective at encouraging the adoption of the bank’s values. Moreover, when employees are committed to the organisation, this has a significant impact on their adoption of values. Thus, this study supports the literature which suggests that leadership and commitment are prerequisites for values adoption.



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