Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 249–260 | Cite as

Internalized Moral Identity in Ethical Leadership

  • Rebekka SkubinnEmail author
  • Lisa Herzog


The relevance of leader ethicality has motivated ethical leadership theory. In this paper, we emphasize the importance of moral identity for the concept of ethical leadership. We relate ethical leadership incorporating an internalized moral identity to productive deviant workplace behavior. Using qualitative empirical data we illustrate the relevance of critical situations, i.e., situations in which hypernorms and organizational norms diverge, for the distinction of ethical leaders with or without internalized moral identities. Our paper takes a multidisciplinary approach integrating insight from management as well as humanities and social sciences toward a comprehensive sense of ethical leadership.


Moral identity Deviant workplace behavior Ethical leadership Internalization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Management, Institute of Human Resource ManagementLeibniz University HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Sozialforschung and Cluster Normative OrdersGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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