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Published in: Asian Journal of Business Ethics 1/2022

28-03-2022

Do ethical leaders enhance employee ethical behaviors?

Organizational justice and ethical climate as dual mediators and leader moral attentiveness as a moderator--Evidence from Iraq's emerging market

Authors: Hussam Al Halbusi, Thomas Li-Ping Tang, Kent A. Williams, T. Ramayah

Published in: Asian Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 1/2022

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Abstract

Corruption devours profits, people, and the planet. Ethical leaders promote ethical behaviors. We develop a first-stage moderated mediation theoretical model, explore the intricate relationships between ethical leadership (member rated, Time 1) and employee ethical behaviors (leader rated, Time 3), and treat ethical climate and organizational justice (member rated, Time 2) as dual mediators and leaders’ moral attentiveness (leader rated, Time 3) as a moderator. We investigate leadership from two perspectives—leaders’ self-evaluation of moral attentiveness and members’ perceptions of ethical leadership. We theorize: These dual mediation mechanisms are more robust for high moral leaders than low moral leaders. Our three-wave data collected from multiple sources, 236 members and 98 immediate supervisors in the Republic of Iraq, support our theory. Specifically, ethical leadership robustly impacts organizational justice’s intensity and magnitude, leading to high employee ethical behaviors when leaders’ moral attentiveness is high than low. However, ethical leadership only influences the ethical climate’s intensity but has no impact on the magnitude when leaders’ moral attentiveness is high than low. Therefore, organizational justice is a more robust mediator than the ethical climate in the omnibus context of leader moral attentiveness. Our findings support Western theory and constructs, demonstrating a new theory for Muslims in Arabic’s emerging markets. Individual decision-makers (subordinates) apply their values (ethical leadership) as a lens to frame their concerns in the immediate (organizational justice and ethical climate) and omnibus (leader moral attentiveness) contexts to maximize their expected utility and ultimate serenity-happiness. Ethical leadership trickles down to employee ethical behaviors, providing practical implications for improving the ethical environment, corporate social responsibility, leader-member exchange (LMX), business ethics, and economic potentials in the global competitive markets.
Footnotes
1
We thank Editor Allan K. K. Chan, Associate Editor Morgan Yang, and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback and suggestions.
 
2
For Christians, see the Holy Bible (1 Timothy 6: 9–10). For Muslims, see the Holy Quran (2: 188; 2: 60; 4: 29).
 
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Metadata
Title
Do ethical leaders enhance employee ethical behaviors?
Organizational justice and ethical climate as dual mediators and leader moral attentiveness as a moderator--Evidence from Iraq's emerging market
Authors
Hussam Al Halbusi
Thomas Li-Ping Tang
Kent A. Williams
T. Ramayah
Publication date
28-03-2022
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Asian Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 1/2022
Print ISSN: 2210-6723
Electronic ISSN: 2210-6731
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13520-022-00143-4

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