Journal of Business Ethics 154 (1):195-210 (2019)

Little is known about whether followers who perceive ethical leadership are more easily moved to act compassionately with peers. This study hypothesizes four compassionate feelings as mediators of the relationship between ethical leadership and interpersonal citizenship behavior directed at peers: empathic concern or an other-oriented emotional response elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of a peer in need; mindfulness, a state of consciousness in which attention is focused on present-moment phenomena; kindness, understanding the pain or suffering of peers; and common humanity, viewing peers’ experiences as part of the larger human experience. Data were obtained from 300 followers working in three-member groups with a common leader in each of 100 investment banks in the city of London. Results indicated that: ethical leadership was significantly and positively linked to compassion and peer-focused citizenship and common humanity is the only compassionate feeling that mediates the link between ethical leadership and peer-focused citizenship. Findings suggest that supervisors who act morally more easily move their followers to become sensitized to peers’ setbacks and misfortunes and take action in the form of interpersonal OCBs to lessen or relieve their suffering.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-017-3454-1
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