Who displays ethical leadership, and why does it matter? An examination of antecedents and consequences of ethical leadership

David M. Mayer, Karl Aquino, Rebecca L. Greenbaum, Maribeth Kuenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

476 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on social learning and moral identity theories, this research examines antecedents and consequences of ethical leadership. Additionally, this research empirically examines the distinctiveness of the ethical leadership construct when compared to related leadership constructs such as idealized influence, interpersonal justice, and informational justice. Consistently with the theoretically derived hypotheses, results from two studies of work units ( n 's = 115 and 195 units) provide general support for our theoretical model. Study 1 shows positive relationships between ethical leadership and leader "moral identity symbolization" and "moral identity internalization" (approaching significance) and a negative relationship between ethical leadership and unit unethical behavior and relationship conflict. In Study 2, both leader moral identity symbolization and internalization were positively related to ethical leadership and, with idealized influence, interpersonal justice, and informational justice controlled for, ethical leadership was negatively related to unit outcomes. In both studies, ethical leadership partially mediated the effects of leader moral identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-171
Number of pages21
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Who displays ethical leadership, and why does it matter? An examination of antecedents and consequences of ethical leadership'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this