Why do leaders practice amoral management? A conceptual investigation of the impediments to ethical leadership

Rebecca L. Greenbaum, Matthew J. Quade, Julena Bonner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a theoretical model of amoral management in an effort to understand impediments to ethical leadership. We posit that a number of anticipated negative consequences of engaging in ethical leadership are positively related to amoral management and these relationships are strengthened by contextual factors. Furthermore, we argue that under certain conditions, amoral managers may experience enough moral motivation to engage in initial ethical leadership practices. However, if the leader’s newly acquired ethical leadership practices are met with resistance, such that the leader experiences substantial role stressors and reductions in short-term performance and becomes a victim of supervisor-directed deviance and/or workplace ostracism, then the leader will abandon ethical leadership practices and return to the status quo of being an amoral manager.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA002
Pages (from-to)26-49
Number of pages24
JournalOrganizational Psychology Review
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Keywords

  • Amoral management
  • Behavioral ethics
  • Ethical leadership

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