Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 415-428

First online:

Measuring and Differentiating Perceptions of Supervisor and Top Leader Ethics

  • Janet L. KottkeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, California State University, San Bernardino Email author 
  • , Kathie L. PelletierAffiliated withDepartment of Management, California State University, San Bernardino

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We report the results of two studies that evaluated the perceptions of supervisor and top leader ethics. In our first study, we re-analyzed data from Pelletier and Bligh (J Bus Ethics 67:359–374, 2006) and found that the Perceptions of Ethical Leadership Scale from that study could be used to differentiate perceptions of supervisor and top leader ethics. In a second study with a different sample, we examined the relationships between (1) individual employees’ perceptions of top managers’ and immediate supervisors’ ethical tendencies, and (2) organizational climate, confidence in top leadership direction, commitment, and citizenship behavior. Results indicated that employee perceptions of top managers’ and supervisors’ ethics were significantly related to climate, top leadership direction, organizational commitment and the OCB dimension, civic virtue.


Immediate supervisor ethics Top leader ethics Organizational culture Ethics measurement