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Ethical Leaders: Trust, Work-Life Balance, and Treating Individuals as Unique


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This study examined the ethical behaviors of leaders and managers in organizations. Specifically, we explored the frequency with which employees perceive their managers to be ethical, as well as managerial traits that influenced employees' perceptions. Respondents were asked to specify how frequently their managers exhibited ethical behaviors. We found that managers are not perceived as being routinely ethical. Interestingly, we found that trust, work-life balance, and treating individuals as unique positively influenced employee perceptions of their manager's ethical behavior. The interrelationship between work-life balance and treating individuals as unique emerged as an unexpected finding which is new in the literature.
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Ethical Leaders: Trust, Work-Life Balance, and Treating
Individuals as Unique
Tammy Cowart
The University of Texas at Tyler
Ann Gilley
The University of Texas at Tyler
Sherry Avery
The University of Texas at Tyler
Afton Barber
The University of Texas at Tyler
Jerry W. Gilley
The University of Texas at Tyler
This study examined the ethical behaviors of leaders and managers in organizations. Specifically, we
explored the frequency with which employees perceive their managers to be ethical, as well as
managerial traits that influenced employees’ perceptions. Respondents were asked to specify how
frequently their managers exhibited ethical behaviors. We found that managers are not perceived as
being routinely ethical. Interestingly, we found that trust, work-life balance, and treating individuals as
unique positively influenced employee perceptions of their manager’s ethical behavior. The inter-
relationship between work-life balance and treating individuals as unique emerged as an unexpected
finding which is new in the literature.
All human studies have been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and have therefore been
performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.
Furthermore, all persons participating in the study gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in
the study.
The Ethics Resource Center reports that two major drivers of ethical culture are senior executives and
supervisors (NBES, 2011). According to the Ethics Resource Center’s 2011 National Business Ethics
70 Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014
Survey, employee perceptions of both groups has declined, with one third of employees reporting that
their managers do not display ethical behavior, the highest percentage ever reported. In addition,
confidence in senior leadership was at a historic low.
Schein (1985, p.2) stated that the “only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and
manage culture.” Prior research demonstrates that leaders influence company culture by focusing the
organization’s way of thinking and taking action (Gilley et al., 2008). However, when leaders and
managers also employ an ethical focus, the result can improve the overall long-term performance of the
company (Caldwell, et al., 2008; Longenecker, 1985).
What characteristics influence employee perceptions of ethics in their leaders and managers?
Guidance concerning specific characteristics that influence employee perceptions of ethics would prove
useful for both companies and their managers. However, the challenge here is that ethics is inherently
personal in nature. One’s ethical lens develops through family, education, relationships, and life
experiences, leading to different standards and approaches to ethics (Gilley et al., 2008). Despite these
differences and complexities, it is important for companies to develop programs that encourage leaders
and managers to act ethically.
This study explores leadership and management practices that influence employees’ perceptions that
their managers are ethical. Respondents were asked to specify, in their opinion, how frequently firm
managers were considered ethical. The three items that measured positive management behaviors
included trust, promoting work-life balance, and treating employees as unique individuals. The three
items that measured negative behaviors included creating a hostile work environment, lack of
management skills, and promoting ineffective managers. Results and implications are discussed below.
Leaders are challenged more than ever to think and plan strategically, act decisively, enhance
performance, work collaboratively, focus on customers, and develop the organization and its people
(Holt, 2011). Leadership has been found to be of particular importance to organizations in crisis situations
(Weick, 1995).
For decades, researchers have sought to identify the behaviors, skills, and styles demonstrated by
effective leaders capable of meeting these myriad demands (Bass & Avolio, 1994; Gilley, McMillan, &
Gilley, 2009; Ligon, Wallace, & Osburn, 2011). More recently, much of the research and literature have
shifted from trait theory to behavioral theory, which focuses on what the leader says and does (Miner,
2003). Despite this shift, Hemsley (2001) reminds us that a leader’s behavior is based on his or her skills
and traits. Today, research continues to seek a better understanding of effective leader behaviors (Steers,
Mowday, & Shapiro, 2004) and their predictors (Ferraro, Pfeffer, & Sutton, 2005).
Leadership has been viewed as a social phenomenon based on interactive relationships between
leaders and followers (Griffin & Stacey, 2005) and as a shared influence process that flows from the
interactions of diverse individuals (Van Ameijde, et al., 2009). The emphasis on interpersonal and social
skills finds support in the literature on effective leaders that posits a transformational as opposed to
transactional approach (Harris, et al., 2003). The four interpersonal aspects of transformational leadership
are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration
(Bass, 1985, 1998; Bass & Avolio, 1993). Astin and Astin (2000, p. 49) concur in their view of
transformational leadership as “self-aware, authentic, and empathetic, and because it develops trust
through listening, collaborating, and shaping a common purpose.”
Although linkages have been found between transformational leadership and greater satisfaction with
and trust in leaders (Keller, 1995), Martin (1999) found that the most important element for leadership, in
general, is the ability to engender trust. Additional behaviors and skills critical for effective leadership are
ethics (Neubert, et al., 2009; Walumba, et al., 2011), the ability to build relationships and enhance
collaboration (Martin, 2005), and treat individuals as unique (Gilley, Heames, & Gilley, 2012), among
Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014 71
Ethical Leadership
Ethics, a subject discussed for centuries (Toor & Ofori, 2009), has been anecdotally defined as “doing
the right thing when no one else is watching” (Wikiquote, 2013). In a business context, ethics generally
refers to the social and moral obligations of business. Thus, leaders and managers must pay attention to
the obligations and expectations society places on business.
It has been fairly well established that managers and leaders influence ethical culture (Bass &
Steidlmeier, 1999; Ciulla, 1995; Trevino et al., 2003; Trevino et al., 2000). In terms of ethics, ethical
leadership has been defined as the “demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal
actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way
communication, reinforcement, and decision-making” (Brown et al., 2005, p. 120).
Establishing a positive ethical culture can lead to improvements in the entire culture of an
organization (Brown et al., 2005), such as extra effort, reporting problems, and other employee outcomes.
Previous studies have linked ethical leadership to higher job satisfaction and job commitment (Neuber et
al., 2009); better performance (Walumba et al., 2011); and lower levels of deviance (Mayer et al., 2009).
Thus, the characteristics and behaviors of those who would have such an influence over an organization
are important (Jordan et al., 2013). Jordan, et al. (2013) focused on what made followers, or employees,
perceive that executives were ethical. Their findings have shown that managers who are “caring, honest,
and principled individuals” are ethical, as well as those who are fair, trustworthy, reward ethical behavior,
punish unethical behavior, and communicate the importance of ethics to followers (Brown et al., 2005;
Trevino et al., 2003; Trevino et al., 2000; Yukl et al., 2013). Among these attributes, trust has the
strongest correlation to job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). As trust
seems to be an important theme in ethical leadership, we review the literature on trust below.
Trust is a vital element in all of our relationships personal, professional, and community. While
there are numerous definitions of trust in the literature, most focus on the idea of constancy (Bennis,
1989) and positive expectations of the intentions or behaviors of others (Hodson, 2004; Mayer, Davis, &
Schoorman, 1995; Nooteboom, 1997; Rousseau, 1998). Trustworthiness has been defined as an attribute
of exchange partners in which an exchange partner who will not exploit another’s vulnerabilities is
worthy of trust (Barney & Hansen, 1994). Merriam Webster Dictionary defines trust as, “assured reliance
on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something,” and includes trustworthiness in its
definition as well (Trust, n.d.). In the business ethics realm, some minimal level of trust is critical for
employees and managers to effectively interact with each other (Bandsuch, 2008). Unfortunately
however, society generally regards business leaders as untrustworthy (Child, 2004).
Theoretical Approaches
Dirks and Ferrin (2002) reviewed the literature and found that there are two theoretical perspectives
on trust. The relationship-based perspective focuses on the principles of social exchange and reciprocity
between managers and employees. The character-based perspective focuses on how the perceptions of a
manager’s character can affect employees in a hierarchical relationship.
Relationship-Based Trust
Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman (1995) proposed a model based on a relationship-based theory of trust.
Under this theory, managers and employees perceptions of each other’s trustworthiness will affect their
risk-taking behavior. The outcomes of risk-taking behavior will ultimately influence trust. The social
exchange process has also been used as a basis for examining trust in manager-employee relationships
(Konovsky & Pugh, 1994). Konovsky and Pugh (1994) wrote that employees who believe that their
manager has or will act with care and consideration will spend more time on required job performance
Managers who display integrity with employees, tell employees the truth, and treat employees with
dignity and respect are also more likely to be perceived as trustworthy (Sankar, 2003). Another study
72 Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014
identified five types of trustworthy behaviors by managers, which are consistency, integrity, sharing and
delegation of control, communication, and demonstration of concern (Whitener, 1998). In their meta-
analysis on trust in leadership, Dirks and Ferrin (2002) examined 106 independent samples with 27,103
individuals. The results showed that trust had a positive correlation for work behaviors and outcomes with
altruism, civic virtue, conscientiousness, courtesy, and sportsmanship. In fact, trust in leadership had the
strongest relationship with job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Caldwell (2008) adds to the literature by suggesting that the ethical stewardship model allows leaders
to earn the trust and followership of employees. Employees are more likely to trust management if the
manager’s behavior conforms to prevailing norms of fairness, integrity, and respect for employees’ rights
and interests, such as predictability and justice (Hodson, 2004; Kickul, 2005).
Character-Based Trust
The second theoretical perspective is character based and comes from employee perceptions of a
manager’s character. This is crucial since from the manager’s perspective, trustworthiness is a trait that is
most often associated with ethical leadership (Trevino et al., 2000). To establish trust, leaders must
clearly and fully communicate, institutionalize, and embody the company’s values.
Employees make judgments about their manager’s character, which will impact their work
performance and attitudes. Mayer, Davis and Schoorman (1995) examined how integrity, capability, or
benevolence affected employees’ willingness to take risks in the workplace. Cunningham and MacGregor
(2000) also researched supervisor characteristics, while Jones et al., (1975) researched forms of leader
behavior. Both found positive correlations between leader’s characteristics and levels of trust.
Trust Models
Several models have been used in the literature to analyze trust in organizations. Mayer, Davis, and
Schoorman (1995) proposed a model of organizational trust using ability, benevolence, and integrity as
factors, with the outcome being risk taking in relationships. The International Association of Business
Communicators has developed an organizational trust model that identifies the following factors as
significant influences upon trust: competency; openness; concern for stakeholders; shared goals;
reliability; frequency of interactions; rewards; and sanctions (Bandsuch, 2008).
Hodson (2004) used organizational ethnographies to examine managerial competence and supportive
employment practices as normative foundations of trust. In his model, four variables were used to
measure management competence, which is a key component of trust: organization of production;
leadership; communication; and level of repair. He also identified seven variables to measure supportive
employment practices: internal labor markets; on-the-job training; job security; promotion of self-
supervision; employee participation; absence of management abuse; and adequate pay and benefits.
Hodson’s findings showed that managerial competence was more significant than supportive employment
practices. Specifically, it positively influenced citizenship behavior and reduced conflict between
coworkers and management.
Prior findings that report low rates of ethical behavior (NBES, 2011) lead us to surmise that our study
will also reveal low rates of perceived managerial ethics.
H1: Managers are perceived as consistently behaving ethically with a relatively low
frequency (<50% of the time).
Research on traits of leaders and managers who are perceived as ethical reveals that ‘trust’ has one of
the strongest influences on employee perceptions of managers’ ethics (Brown, et al., 2005; Dirks &
Ferrin, 2002). Consequently, we predict that:
Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014 73
H2: Managers who are perceived as trustworthy positively influence employees’
perceptions of their ethical behavior.
This study explores leadership practices that influence employees’ perceptions that organization
managers are ethical. Employees’ assessments of managerial behavior provide accurate ratings of
leadership performance (Hogan et al., 1994). Although this study was part of a larger, longitudinal study
of managerial practices, our primary research questions focused on how frequently leaders/managers are
perceived as ethical, and which of their behaviors influenced employees’ perceptions of ethical behavior.
The previously validated survey instrument contained 23 behavioral/content questions about
leader/manager behaviors, and nine demographic questions of the respondents.
The survey instrument was given to students in MBA and organizational development (OD) masters’
and PhD students from five four-year, public universities in diverse locations (Mountain West, Midwest,
and South) over three semesters. Master’s and Ph.D. students were chosen to maximize industry and
position diversity, ultimately representing all organizational levels (front-line to executive) in
manufacturing, service, education, professional, and government entities. The final response rate was
92% with 313 useable responses.
The dependent variable in the study was a perceptual measure of ethics. Respondents were asked to
specify, in their opinion, how frequently firm managers were considered ethical. Responses were
collected using a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from never (1) to always (5). The independent
variables examined in this study were derived from research on leadership skills and managerial
behaviors. Using the same 5-point scale, respondents were asked the frequency with which organization
1. promote work-life balance
2. treat employees as unique individuals
3. are trustworthy
4. create hostile or fearful work environments
Additionally, two questions covering organizational practices were included in the survey.
1. Individuals who do not possess appropriate supervisory/management skills are promoted to or
hired for management positions
2. Ineffective or poor managers are promoted
Population characteristics are summarized in Table I.
74 Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014
Respondent’s gender
Respondent’s Age
Respondent’s Years Employed at Organization (years)
Number of employees in organization
Table 2 reports employees’ perceptions that organization managers are ethical. Respondents
indicated that organization managers were “never,” “rarely,” or only “sometimes” ethical 51.8% of the
time, as compared with 48.2% for “usually” or “always” ethical. This analysis supports Hypothesis 1.
Cum. %
Note: N=313, M=3.43, SD=.77
Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014 75
Table 3 reflects descriptive statistics and between-subject correlations for all seven independent
variables and the control variable employee age. Strong correlations indicated by a p<.01 significance
level exist between the variables, except employee’s age.
1. Are ethical
2. Promote work-
life balance
3. Treat employees
as unique
4. Are trustworthy
5. Creates hostile
or fearful work
6. Do not possess
7. Ineffective or
poor managers
are promoted
8. Employee agea
Notes: N=313, **p<0.01, aEmployee age stratified into 6 levels, level 2 is 26-35, average of 2.38 indicates
the average age falls within the age range 26-35.
Data Analysis
Two statistical tools were used to analyze the relationship between the independent variables and the
dependent variable managers’ ethics. Linear regression was used to test the individual item measures and
structural equation modeling was used to test the combined impact of the behaviors that could positively
or negatively impact the dependent variable managers’ ethics. Both methods rely upon similar
assumptions about the distribution of the data. The dependent variable exhibited a reasonable normal
distribution. Additionally, there was no evidence of collinearity (all VIF factors < 3.0).
Regression Analysis
To test the influence of the individual item measures on ethical behavior, a multiple regression
analysis using a stepwise method of all items was performed. Stepwise regression is appropriate for
determining significant influences of multiple independent variables on a single dependent variable
(Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994; Vogt, 2005). The following variables emerged as significant after initial
1. Managers promote work-life balance
2. Managers treat employees as unique individuals
3. Managers are trustworthy
4. Managers create hostile or fearful work environments
76 Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014
The stepwise criteria used on the F scores for variable inclusion were p< .05 for inclusion and p > .10
for exclusion. This resulted in four independent variables that were statistically significant at a minimum
of p< .05 (see Table 4). The item measures “trustworthy,” “work-life balance” and “treat individuals as
unique” had a positive impact while “managers lack appropriate management skills” had a negative
influence on the employees’ perceptions that organization managers are ethical. The negative traits of
hostile work environment and promotion of ineffective managers were not significant. The model
explained 57.7% (R2 adjusted = .577) of the variation of the dependent variable “My organization’s
managers are ethical.”
Are trustworthy
.596*** .045
Treat employees as unique individuals
Promote work life balance
Appropriate management skills
**p < .05, **p < .001
Structural Equation Modeling
Amos 20.0 was used to estimate the model. The two-step approach recommended by Anderson and
Gerbing (1988) was followed. In the first step, confirmatory factor analysis was used to validate the
measurement model. In the second step, structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the full model
including both the measurement and structural model.
Measurement Model Assessment
The variables “promote work-life balance,” “treat employees as unique individuals,” and
“trustworthy” were included in the positive traits construct, while “hostile work environment,”
“individuals lack appropriate management skills,” and “ineffective managers are promoted” were
included in the negative trait construct. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis, along with the
composite reliability and average variance extracted, are detailed in Table 5. All items were statistically
significant at p<.05. All but one of the individual item factor loadings exceeded the minimum threshold of
.5 recommended by Hair, et al. (2006). The composite reliabilities for both constructs exceeded the
minimum threshold of .7 (Hair et al., 2006) and the average variance extracted (AVE) met or exceeded
the threshold of .50 (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). The fit indices for the measurement model also
demonstrate a good fit with χ2=20.96, GFI=.98, AGFI=.94, NFI=.97, RFI=.94, IFI=.98, TLI=.96,
CFI=.98, and RMSEA = .07. Recommended thresholds for the fit indices are .90 or better and for the
RMSEA .08 or less (Hu & Bentler, 1999). These results provide evidence that the measurement model is
Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014 77
Item reliabilities
Positive Behaviors
Managers promote work-life balance
Managers treat employees as unique individuals
Managers are trustworthy
Negative Behaviors
Managers create hostile or fearful work environments.
Individuals who do not possess appropriate
supervisory/management skills are promoted to or hired for
management positions.
Ineffective or poor managers are promoted.
Note: Composite reliabilities in bold.
Structural Equation Modeling Assessment
The fit indices for the structural model demonstrate a reasonably good fit with χ2=69.75, GFI=.95,
AGFI=.89, NFI=.92, RFI=.88, IFI=.94, TLI=.91, CFI=.94, and RMSEA = .096. The model and results are
reported in Figure 1. The positive trait construct had a positive influence (p<.01) on employees’
perceptions that firm managers are ethical. In contrast, the negative trait construct had a negative
influence (p<.01) on employees’ perceptions that firm managers are ethical. Additionally, employees’ age
has a positive impact, which indicates that as employees mature their perceptions that firm managers are
ethical increases.
**p<.05, ***p<.001
Note: Standardized regression weights are reported.
78 Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014
Our study concurs with others that highlighted the frequency of ethics in the workplace and the
impact of trust on employee perceptions of leader behaviors. We add to the research and literature base
via our findings on the importance of work-life balance and treating employees as unique individuals as
instrumental to perceptions of ethical behavior.
Implications for Trust in the Workplace
Research indicates that managers must be intentional in their efforts to establish trust in an
organization, ensuring that their actions are constant, focused, and transparent (Bandsuch, 2008).
Employees who perceive a manager to be trustworthy will likely increase their personal commitment to
follow him or her (Caldwell, 2008). The worthwhile positive results of managers’ efforts to establish trust
are employee loyalty, job satisfaction, and the perception of leader effectiveness (Bandsuch, 2008;
Brown, et. al., 2005; Gillis, 2003).
Furthermore, some studies have shown that trust in leadership is positively correlated to
organizational performance, improving problem solving, communication, negotiation, performance,
organizational commitment and employee turnover (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002; Dirks & Ferrin, 2001;
Gillespie & Mann, 2004; Williams, 2005). Conversely, a lack of trust within an organization can erode a
shared sense of value and purpose between employees and managers and increase conflict in the
workplace (Hodson, 2004). Employees will be less likely to make a sacrificial choice to honor trust if
there is no consensus in the organization that honoring trust is the right thing to do (Dobson, 1990).
Ultimately, a manager’s interactions with employees are critical to establishing and maintaining trust
within an organization (Bandsuch, 2008).
Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is an increasingly studied topic, particularly in light of generational differences
(Chao, 2005; Twenge & Campbell, 2008; Wong, et al., 2008). Twenge (2010), for example, found that
GenY/GenMe employees gravitate to companies that focus on work-life balance issues. This is salient to
our study as well, as a significant percentage of the respondents in our study were under the age of thirty-
Findings of our study suggest that the manager is a key factor in establishing work-life balance.
Scholars have noted that managerial support, communication, and understanding are critical to
employees’ achievement of work/family balance (Anderson, et al., 2002; Batt & Valcour, 2003; Clark,
2002; Eversole, et al., 2012). Eversole, et al. (2012) claim “an insensitive and inflexible manager
increases tension, decreases productivity, has the single most negative influence on work-life, and makes
the whole company look insensitive” (p. 615).
Watkins (1995) stated that the supervisor-subordinate relationship is one of the most powerful
predictors of work/family problems, while Collins, Hair, and Rocco (2009) further claim that the
relationship can be enhanced with knowledge of generational differences and the contrasting work values
of each generation (Eversole, et al., 2012). Thompson et al. (1999) found three factors associated with
what they termed as workfamily culture and the first factor was described as the managerial support
factor, defined as “the extent to which managers were supportive and sensitive to employees’ family
responsibilities” (p. 401). “While researchers have posited that ‘contextual factors’ such as work-life
policies and managerial support are important, there is not substantial empirical research that examines
employees’ perceptions regarding the extent to which a context is supportive of work-life issues and the
implications this has for work-life policy utilization (Allen, 2001)” (Greenberg & Landry, 2011, p. 1164).
Treating People as Unique Individuals
Recent research on individual differences lends support to our findings on the importance of treating
employees as unique. Research by Wong, et al. (2008) emphasized “the importance of focusing on
individual differences” (p. 878). This theme was supported by participants in a study by Gilley et al.,
Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics vol. 11(3) 2014 79
(2012), who indicated that unique treatment of the individual “was a critical ingredient and primary
remedy to managerial ineffectiveness…” (p. 74). The rise of influence in the workplace of generations X,
Y, GenMe, and Millennials lends further support to the need for emphasis on individualism and
recognition of employee uniqueness (Twenge, 2010). Moreover, leaders are perceived as ethical when
they consider the individual needs of employees (Zhu, et al., 2004). Organizations who seek to hire or
retain these talented employees will need to attend to policies and practices that support the evolving
needs of new generations of workers.
Limitations and Future Research
There are limitations inherent in all empirical studies. In our study, we assessed manager ethics only
from the perception of the employee. It would be interesting to explore and contract employee perceptions
with the perceptions of the managers and their managers. This could provide additional information about
the ethics of the organization. Although our population included people from multiple sectors across
various parts of the country, they were all students, which may have some effect on the responses we
received. Additionally, our study focused on the main effects of work-life balance, unique individuals,
and trust on ethics. Future research could examine the interactions of these variables on work-life balance.
One possible approach could be to include ethical dilemmas to prevent oversimplification of ethical
Our study implies that leaders and managers who create trust-based relationships, respect work-life
balance, and treat their employees as unique individuals are perceived as more ethical than those who do
not. Additionally, when individuals who do not possess appropriate management skills are placed in
leadership/managerial positions, they are perceived as unethical. Our results point to positive constructs
managers can use to enhance their ethical behavior.
Employees from generations X, Y, GenMe, and Millennials are more interested in issues such as
work-life balance and being treated uniquely. Creating programs that support work-life balance will
validate the unique individual needs of employees. These efforts promote an environment of trust
between manager and employee, laying the foundation for an ethical culture. Conversely, our results point
to negative behaviors that erode perceptions of ethics. Leaders and managers who lack appropriate
management skills or are ineffective may unwittingly create a hostile work environment, which
negatively affects perceptions of ethics. Intentional efforts to emphasize these simple but critical positive
elements may help create a work environment in which ethical behavior is the norm.
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... It is reported by a study (Brunetto et al., 2010) that supervisor-subordinate relationship has a bigger impact on the work-family conflict. By showing the link between boss-subordinate relationship and work-life balance, Cowart et al. (2014) in their study concluded that leaders and managers who create trust-based relationships, respect work-life balance and treat their employees as unique individuals, generally perceived as more ethical than those who do not. By a study, Morganson et al. (2014) stated that the managers can be inducted through the authentic leadership style as the role model that drive them for the self-care towards the work-life balance. ...
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This paper seeks to investigate the dimensions of effectiveness of 'boss-subordinate relationship', to propose a model that logically relates the boss-subordinate relationship with the employees' productivity having the appropriate place of 'work-life balance', to examine the role of demographic variables in the above said relationships, and to obtain the directions for future research. With the descriptive research design the researchers of the current study proposed a model, which has been substantiated through the output model of ISM (Interpretive Structural Modelling) mechanism. The vary milieu of the ISM mechanism is the opinions of the experts and reviews of available literature. The above facts build upon the justified relationships among the variables that are established in the output model. The said output model (diagraph) is attesting the interrelationship among the variables of the study. This study has taken a broad look at the boss-subordinate relationship. Researchers of this study are trying to justify the importance of effective boss-subordinate relationship to enhance the employees' productivity with the clarity in roles of demographic variables. The contribution/originality of this study is reflected by antecedents of boss-subordinate relationships that lead to employees' productivity by the mediating role of 'work-life balance'.
... Yet, especially beginning with the 2000s, studies focussing on the dark and destructive sides of leadership have tended to increase (e.g., Fosse, Anders, Einarsen, & Martinussen, 2019). This is not a coincidence considering the empirical evidence that at least one-third of employees are exposed to unethical practices of their supervisors and that trust in leaders have significantly declined (e.g., Cowart, Gilley, Avery, Barber, & Gilley, 2014). For example, the prevalence of destructive leadership (DL) behaviours was reported as ranging from 33.5% to 61% in a Norwegian employee sample . ...
... Yet, especially beginning with the 2000s, studies focussing on the dark and destructive sides of leadership have tended to increase (e.g., Fosse, Anders, Einarsen, & Martinussen, 2019). This is not a coincidence considering the empirical evidence that at least one-third of employees are exposed to unethical practices of their supervisors and that trust in leaders have significantly declined (e.g., Cowart, Gilley, Avery, Barber, & Gilley, 2014). For example, the prevalence of destructive leadership (DL) behaviours was reported as ranging from 33.5% to 61% in a Norwegian employee sample (Aasland, Skogstad, Notelaers, Nielsen, & Einarsen, 2010). ...
... These terms were inconsistently defined in past studies. Some researchers such as Shah (2015), Maharshi and Chaturvedi (2015), Mazerolle, Goodman, and Pitney (2015) and Cowart, Gilley, Avery, Barber, and Gilley (2014) used the term work-life balance in their study which focused on family matters. On the contrary, researchers such as Tomazevic, Kozjek, and Stare (2015), Beham and Drobnic (2010) and Tremblay (2008) used the term WFB when their study also examined personal activities beyond family matters. ...
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Traditionally, the word ‘life’ in the concept of work-life balance focuses on family obligations. This conceptual paper sets out to present the notion that “life” goes beyond family responsibilities and is unique to employees of different demographics. Given the impending difference in how “life” is viewed by different groups of employees, this study reviews the literature and argues for the need to distinguish between different dimensions of the non-work domain. The discussion is centered on the transformation taking place within the Malaysian workforce. Recent trends indicate that “life” and “family” are indeed distinct domains. There is a need for organizations to acknowledge this distinction and provide relevant support to attain a balance between work, life, and family. The paper will help strengthen the knowledge about the “life” in the concept of work-life balance and employers better understand the conceptualization of “life” in work-life balance so that they can strategize and enhance employee well-being and eventually gain competitive advantage. Currently, the terms work-life balance and work-family balance are used interchangeably to represent a balance between the family and work domain. This is especially evident in collectivist countries such as Malaysia. However, the emphasis on family without due consideration to the needs of employees with different demographic configurations may result in work-life backlash. Hence, this study argues that the non-work domain is not limited to family obligations and should encompass both family obligations and personal activities. The emphasis on striking a balance between work and family domain should not be done at the expense of the well-being of employees with lesser or no family obligations.
... These two approaches towards stakeholder management can be illustrated by a specific situation involving the interests of a particular stakeholder: work-life balance for employees. While work-life balance practices can be used as an instrument in order to improve organisational performance through less absenteeism and lateness, lower staff turnover rates and stronger employee commitment, among other factors [45], those same practices may be perceived as the ethical behaviour of managers respecting the legitimate interests of the employees [46]. ...
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Nowadays, students are more aware of the impact of companies on their stakeholders and the need for properly handling their expectations to operationalize corporate social responsibility. Nevertheless, little is known about how certain individual traits may relate to their stance on the issue. This exploratory research contributes to stakeholder theory by analysing the effect of the individual’s decision-making process, including the consideration of their social preferences, on their orientation toward stakeholder management. Here, we draw upon a theoretical model for resource-allocation decision-making consisting of reciprocal and non-reciprocal components. Our data, from undergraduate students enrolled in different degrees, were collected through a questionnaire and two social within-subject experiments (ultimatum and dictator games). Thus, our results show that the presence of a reciprocal component when decisions are made is positively linked to an instrumental orientation toward stakeholders. In addition, a greater non-reciprocal component in the decision-making process corresponds to a more normative orientation.
... Hostile leader behaviour has wrinkled public trust in leadership. As of 2014, research literature has indicated decline in employee perceptions and confidence to an all-time low, with one-third of employees reporting unethical behaviour by their senior leadership [7]. ...
In an environment where perceptions of unfairness and toxicity are becoming more endemic and more complex too, this research attempts to investigate whether perceived toxicity in leaders varies with demographic factors such as age, gender, and education level of their subordinates. Data collected from 150 IT professionals of India was statistically analysed. The study revealed a significant difference in the perceived toxicity of leaders across gender and education level of subordinates. There was no statistical difference based on age of subordinate. Pearson Correlations revealed significant relationship of perceived toxicity only with gender and education; again age did not have any significant correlation. Regression analysis of perceived dimensions of toxicity with demographic factors prompted gender as the most significant determinant. The study is an attempt to enhance the concept of toxicity in leaders as to how it is perceived differently by their subordinates based on their demographic profiles.
The mission of this chapter is to encourage and provide a model for leaders to lead organizations through a work-life balance (WLB)-centered holistic leadership approach. This approach begins by explaining why it is imperative to lead by considering the totality of each person from a diverse and inclusive viewpoint. The totality of each person includes one's self-care management practices and all roles one plays in life. The apex of this mission is to provide leaders with a research-based practitioner model to create an inclusive culture of organizational health and wellness. The self-care flourished living (SCFL) model coupled with a holistic leadership approach that diversifies to meet individual employee needs will be showcased in this chapter. The result of leading employees through SCFL and a holistic approach will promote living a life of balance through effective self-care.
While advertising processes are complex and changing, the same ethical problems endure, including those relative to organizational challenges. Yet research affords little attention to challenges influencing ethical awareness in advertising, such as those related to new business. In response to the call for an organizational approach to advertising ethics, ethnographic field work and 45 one-on-one interviews were conducted regarding perceptions of advertising ethics, organizational challenges, and the relationship between the two. Findings suggest that financial pressures related to new business challenges influence how members perceive ethics such as advertising harmful products.
Numerous research studies reveal when leadership includes diversity and inclusion in the business ethics of the organization, it can have a positive effect on the health and well-being of all stakeholders. Work-life balance (WLB) in the workplace provides a new ethical construct being pursued by developed nations and public and private organizations around the world. The effectiveness of some WLB benefits is questionable because supervisors found a ‘one-size-fits-all’ WLB policy complicated to manage in a diverse workforce. This chapter explores broadening the ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies to a ‘create for implementation’ design. Practical applications will be shared to help diversify one’s hidden biases that might help mitigate unfavorable attitudes and behaviors of non-supporting WLB supervisors.
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The appropriate way to define and measure ethical leadership has been a source of conceptual confusion in the leadership literature. Different measures have been developed, but they all have limitations. Some questionnaires are missing key indicators of ethical leadership, or they include behaviors that do not seem directly relevant. In this study, the authors assess the validity of a new questionnaire for measuring essential aspects of ethical leadership independently of other types of leader behavior. The research also examines how ethical leadership is related to leader–member exchange and work unit performance. Although the primary purpose of these analyses is to assess criterion-related validity for the new questionnaire, the results help answer important questions about the benefits of ethical leadership. The authors found that ethical leadership makes a small but significant contribution to the explanation of leader–member exchange and managerial effectiveness.
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In transaction cost economics, foist has been treated as redundant or even misleading. This study tested the effects of governance and trust the risk perceived by agents of firms in alliances. Two dimensions of relational risk were assessed: the probability that something will go wrong and the size of the loss incurred when it does. Hypotheses, tested with survey data on the customer relations of ten suppliers of electrical/electronic components, were well corroborated, with trust-related variables as well as others found to have significant effects.
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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to examine whether personality and motivational driver differences exist across three generations of working Australians: Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, and Gen Ys. Design/methodology/approach – Using the Occupational Personality Questionnaire and the Motivation Questionnaire, the study examined cross-sectional differences in personality and motivational drivers across three generations. Findings – The results are not supportive of the generational stereotypes that have been pervasive in the management literature and the media. Specifically, few meaningful differences were found between the three generations. Moreover, even when differences have been observed, these have related more to age than generation. Research limitations/implications – One of the key limitations is the use of cross-sectional data. To further explore this issue, it would be interesting to undertake a longitudinal study to assess personality preferences and motivational drivers of the different generations, when the participants are at the same age or the same point in their career. Practical implications – The research emphasizes the importance of managing individuals by focusing on individual differences rather than relying on generational stereotypes, which may not be as prevalent as the existing literature suggests. Originality/value – Managers and HR professionals may find the lack of differences across generations interesting and refreshing, in contrast with the popular management literature.
Executives should not take a reputation for ethical leadership for granted. Based on interviews with senior executives and corporate ethics officers, this article reveals that a reputation for executive ethical leadership rests on two essential pillars: the executive's visibility as a moral person (based upon perceived traits, behaviors, and decision-making processes) and visibility as a moral manager (based upon role modeling, use of the reward system, and communication). Developing a reputation for ethical leadership pays dividends in reduced legal problems and increased employee commitment, satisfaction, and employee ethical conduct. The alternatives are the unethical leader, the hypocritical leader (who talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk), and the ethically neutral leader (who may be an ethical person, but employees don't know it because the leader has not made ethics and values an explicit part of the leadership agenda). The article also offers guidelines for cultivating a reputation for ethical leadership.
Many organizations have implemented a variety of initiatives to address work-family conflict issues. This study investigates the impact of formal and informal work-family practices on both work-to-family and family-to-work conflict (WFC, FWC) and a broad set of job-related outcomes. We utilized structural equation modeling to analyze data from the 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW). Results showed that negative career consequences and lack of managerial support were significantly related to work-to-family conflict. These were significant predictors of conflict even when accounting for the effects of work schedule flexibility. Work-to-family conflict was linked to job dissatisfaction, turnover intentions and stress, while family-to-work conflict was linked to stress and absenteeism. There were no apparent differences between women and men in terms of the observed relationships.
In this article, we provide guidance for substantive researchers on the use of structural equation modeling in practice for theory testing and development. We present a comprehensive, two-step modeling approach that employs a series of nested models and sequential chi-square difference tests. We discuss the comparative advantages of this approach over a one-step approach. Considerations in specification, assessment of fit, and respecification of measurement models using confirmatory factor analysis are reviewed. As background to the two-step approach, the distinction between exploratory and confirmatory analysis, the distinction between complementary approaches for theory testing versus predictive application, and some developments in estimation methods also are discussed.
The topics of authentic leadership and the ethical behavior of leaders have received significant interest in recent years due to the plethora of ethical scandals in corporations. In this paper, we developed a theoretical framework that maintains that employees' psychological empowerment mediates the relationship between leaders' ethical behaviors and employees' organizational commitment and trust in leaders. We also argue that authenticity (i.e., the consistency between leaders' true ethical intention and behavior) moderates the relationship between leaders' ethical behaviors and employee outcomes. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the proposed model for work on authentic leadership.
In many approaches to interpersonal and organizational trust, researchers focus on employees' perceptions that their managers are trustworthy. We turn the tables, however, and examine the antecedents of managerial trustworthy behavior and the challenge oi initiating trust. Drawing on agency and social exchange theories, we present an exchange relationship framework that identifies organizational, relational, and individual factors that encourage or constrain managerial trustworthy behavior.
Scholars in various disciplines have considered the causes, nature, and effects of trust. Prior approaches to studying trust are considered, including characteristics of the trustor, the trustee, and the role of risk. A definition of trust and a model of its antecedents and outcomes are presented, which integrate research from multiple disciplines and differentiate trust from similar constructs. Several research propositions based on the model are presented.
Contemporary workplaces solicit heightened effort and initiative from employees through teams and related forms of participation. Trustworthy behavior on the part of organizations is an important precondition for heightened employee effort and initiative. The current article develops a model of organizational trustworthiness based on: (1) employment practices and (2) managerial competence. Testing such models has been difficult in the past because of the difficulty of gathering data on relevant management and employee behaviors across a broad population of organizations. The current article uses data derived from a content analysis of the population of organizational ethnographies (N = 204) to address this problem. The analysis verifies the existence of employment practices and management competence as separate factors. The effects of these factors on worker citizenship, employee-management conflict, and coworker relations are also evaluated. Supportive employment practices are an important precondition for worker citizenship. Management competence, however, is even more consequential for worker citizenship and for other workplace relations as well. The findings highlight the importance of cross-methods comparisons for advancing organizational theory.