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18-04-2020 | Original Paper | Issue 3/2021

Journal of Business Ethics 3/2021

Ethical, Virtuous, and Charismatic Leadership: An Examination of Differential Relationships with Follower and Leader Outcomes

Journal:
Journal of Business Ethics > Issue 3/2021
Authors:
Afif G. Nassif, Rick D. Hackett, Gordon Wang
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Abstract

Several alternative leadership approaches have been introduced to supplement the long-standing transformational leadership (TL) model (Bass in Leadership and performance beyond expectations, New York, Free Press, 1985; Bass and Avolio in Multifactor leadership questionnaire, 2000) as concerns have grown that it did not place enough emphasis on leader ethics. Nonetheless, to establish the value of the newer approaches, evidence of conceptual and empirical distinctiveness is required. Though meta-analysis has been somewhat helpful in this regard (e.g., Bedi et al. in J Bus Ethics 139(3):517–536, 2016), we conducted two within-study comparisons of ethical leadership (Brown et al. in Org Behav Human Decis Process 97:117–134, 2005), virtuous leadership (Wang and Hackett in J Bus Ethics 137:321–345, 2016) and key components of TL (idealized influence and inspirational motivation; Bass and Avolio 2000) reflected by socialized charismatic leadership. We predicted that these alternative models differ in the strength of their ties to a range of valued outcomes. Our analyses of 230 leader–follower dyads based predominately in North America (Sample 1) and US-based 131 dyads (Sample 2) left many hypotheses unsupported; nonetheless, there was evidence of differential associations. For example, across both samples, in the context of all three models, follower-rated ethical leadership (Brown et al. 2005) was the only significant predictor of follower-rated leader effectiveness, leader-rated subordinate in-role performance, and leader-rated follower ethicality. As hypothesized, virtuous leadership (Wang and Hackett 2016) was the strongest predictor of self-rated leader happiness in Sample 1, but contrary to expectations, in Sample 2, only the TL components (Bass and Avolio 2000) were related to happiness and life satisfaction among both leaders and followers.

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