Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 415–428 | Cite as

Measuring and Differentiating Perceptions of Supervisor and Top Leader Ethics

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Immediate supervisor ethics Top leader ethics Organizational culture Ethics measurement 

References

  1. Allen, N. J., & Meyer, J. P. (1990). The measurement and antecedents of affective, continuance, and normative commitment to the organization. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 63(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 181–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bentler, P. M. (1995). EQS: Structural equations program manual. Encino: Multivariate Software, Inc.Google Scholar
  4. Blau, P. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 595–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, M. E., Treviño, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97(2), 117–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, F., Curran, P. J., Bollen, K. A., Kirby, J., & Paxton, P. (2008). An empirical evaluation of the use of fixed cutoff points in RMSEA test statistic in structural equation models. Sociological Methods and Research, 36(4), 462–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clegg, C., Unsworth, K., Epitropaki, O., & Parker, G. (2002). Implicating trust in the innovation process. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 75(4), 409–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Craig, S. B., & Gustafson, S. B. (1998). Perceived leader integrity scale: An instrument for assessing employee perceptions of leader integrity. Leadership Quarterly, 9(2), 127–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis, A. L., & Rothstein, H. R. (2006). The effects of the perceived behavioral integrity of managers on employee attitudes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 67(4), 407–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dirks, K. T., & Ferrin, D. L. (2002). Trust in leadership: Meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 611–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ellis, K., & Shockley-Zalabak, P. (2001). Trust in top management and immediate supervisor: The relationship to satisfaction, perceived organizational effectiveness, and information receiving. Communication Quarterly, 49(4), 382–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Greller, M. M., & Herold, D. M. (1975). Sources of feedback: A preliminary investigation. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 13(2), 244–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Griffis, S. E., Goldsby, T. J., & Cooper, M. (2003). Web-based and mail surveys: A comparison of response, data, and cost. Journal of Business Logistics, 24(2), 237–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hays, S. W., & Kearney, R. (2001). Anticipated changes in human resource management: Views from the field. Public Administration Review, 61(5), 585–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ilies, R., Nahrgang, J. J., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Leader-member exchange and citizenship behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(1), 269–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. James, L. R., Hater, J. J., Gent, M. J., & Bruni, J. R. (1978). Psychological climate: Implications from cognitive social learning theory and interactional psychology. Personnel Psychology, 31(4), 781–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jones, A. P., & James, L. R. (1979). Psychological climate: Dimensions and relationships of individual and aggregated work environment perceptions. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 23(2), 201–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Koh, H. C., & Boo, E. H. Y. (2001). The link between organizational ethics and job satisfaction: A study of managers in Singapore. Journal of Business Ethics, 29(4), 309–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kottke, J. L., Pelletier, K. L., & Agars, M. D. (accepted for publication). Measuring follower confidence in top leadership direction. Leadership and Organization Development.Google Scholar
  23. Lawler, E. E., Hall, D. T., & Oldham, G. R. (1974). Organizational climate: Relationship to organizational structure, process and performance. Organizational Behavior and Performance, 11, 139–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. LePine, J. A., Erez, A., & Johnson, D. E. (2002). The nature and dimensionality of organizational citizenship behavior: A critical review and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(1), 52–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mathieu, J. E., & Zajac, D. M. (1990). A review and meta-analysis of the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of organizational commitment. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 171–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McLean, B., & Elkind, P. (2004). The smartest guys in the room: The amazing rise and scandalous fall of Enron. New York: Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  27. Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human Resource Management Review, 1(1), 61–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1997). Commitment in the workplace. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Mize, K. J., Stanforth, N., & Johnson, C. (2000). Perceptions of retail supervisors’ ethical behavior and front-line managers’ organizational commitment. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 18, 100–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Niehoff, B. P., Enz, C. A., & Grover, R. A. (1990). The impact of top-management actions on employee attitudes and perceptions. Group and Organization Studies, 15(3), 337–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.Google Scholar
  32. Nyberg, D. (2008). The morality of everyday activities: Not the right, but the good thing to do. Journal of Business Ethics, 81, 587–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Organ, D. W. (1988). Organizational citizenship behavior: The good soldier syndrome. Lexington: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  34. Organ, D. W. (1997). Organizational citizenship behavior: It’s construct clean-up time. Human Performance, 10(2), 85–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Parker, C. P., Baltes, B. B., Young, S. A., Huff, J. W., Altmann, R. A., Lacost, H. A., et al. (2003). Relationships between psychological climate perceptions and work outcomes: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24(4), 389–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parry, K. W., & Proctor-Thomson, S. B. (2001). Perceived integrity of transformational leaders in organizational settings. Journal of Business Ethics, 35(2), 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Patsuris, P. (2002). The corporate scandal sheet. Retrieved September 29, 2011 from http://www.forbes.com/2002/07/25/accountingtracker.html.
  38. Patterson, M. B., West, M. A., Shackleton, V. J., Dawson, J. F., Lawthom, R., Maitlis, S., et al. (2005). Validating the organizational climate measure: Links to managerial practices, productivity and innovation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(4), 379–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pelletier, K. L., & Bligh, M. C. (2006). Rebounding from corruption: Perceptions of ethics program effectiveness in a public sector organization. Journal of Business Ethics, 67(4), 359–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pelletier, K. L., & Kottke, J. L. (2009). Déjà vu all over again: Progress and reversals in battling government corruption. Journal of Leadership, Accountability, and Ethics, 7(3), 78–93.Google Scholar
  41. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Moorman, R. H., & Fetter, R. (1990). Transformational leader behaviors and their effects on followers’ trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Leadership Quarterly, 1(2), 107–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Revell, J., & Burke, D. (2003). The fires that won’t go out. Fortune, 148(8), 139–142.Google Scholar
  44. Schein, E. H. (1990). Organizational culture. American Psychologist, 45, 109–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schwepker, C. H. (1999). The relationship between ethical conflict, organizational commitment and turnover intentions in the sales force. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 19(1), 43–49.Google Scholar
  46. Settoon, R. P., Bennett, N., & Liden, R. C. (1996). Social exchange in organizations: Perceived organizational support, leader-member exchange, and employee reciprocity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(3), 219–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Simons, T. L. (1999). Behavioral integrity as a critical ingredient for transformational leadership. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12(2), 89–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sims, R. L., & Brinkmann, J. (2002). Leaders as moral role models: The case of John Gutfreund at Salomon brothers. Journal of Business Ethics, 35, 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sims, R. L., & Kroeck, K. G. (1994). The influence of ethical fit on employee satisfaction, commitment and turnover. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(12), 939–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Spector, P. E. (1987). Method variance as an artifact in self-reported affect and perceptions of work: Myth or significant problem? Journal of Applied Psychology, 72(3), 438–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Spector, P. E. (2006). Method variance in organizational research: Truth or urban legend? Organizational Research Methods, 9(2), 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Steiger, J. H. (1980). Tests for comparing elements of a correlation matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 87(2), 245–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  54. Therkelsen, D. J., & Fiebich, C. L. (2003). The supervisor: The linchpin of employee relations. Journal of Communication Management, 8(2), 120–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Toffler, B. L., & Reingold, J. (2003). Final accounting: Ambition, greed, and the fall of Arthur Andersen. New York: Broadway Books.Google Scholar
  56. Vardi, Y. (2001). The effects of organizational ethical climates on misconduct at work. Journal of Business Ethics, 29(4), 325–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Velthouse, B., & Kandogan, Y. (2007). Ethics in practice: What are managers really doing? Journal of Business Ethics, 70(2), 151–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Vey, M. A., & Campbell, J. P. (2004). In-role or extra-role organizational citizenship behavior: Which are we measuring? Human Performance, 17(1), 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Victor, B., & Cullen, J. B. (1988). The organizational bases of ethical work climates. Administrative Science Quarterly, 33(1), 101–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Viswesvaran, C., Deshpande, S. P., & Joseph, J. (1998). Job satisfaction as a function of top management support for ethical behavior: A study of Indian managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 365–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vitell, S. J., & Davis, D. L. (1990). The relationship between ethics and job satisfaction: An empirical investigation. Journal of Business Ethics, 9(6), 489–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wiley, C. (1998). Re-examinating perceived ethics issues and ethics roles among employment managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(2), 147–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zahra, S. A., Priem, R. L., & Rasheed, A. A. (2007). Understanding the causes and effects of top management fraud. Organizational Dynamics, 36(2), 122–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State University, San BernardinoSan BernardinoUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementCalifornia State University, San BernardinoSan BernardinoUSA

Personalised recommendations