Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 229–242 | Cite as

The Curvilinear Relationship Between Ethical Leadership and Team Creativity: The Moderating Role of Team Faultlines

  • Shenjiang Mo
  • Chu-Ding Ling
  • Xiao-Yun XieEmail author
Original Paper


In this study, we built and tested a theoretical model to determine how ethical leadership affects team creativity among teams composed of different characteristics. Following social learning theory and an antecedent–benefit–cost framework, we conducted analyses of multisource data from 50 team supervisors and 186 employees, which revealed an inverted U-shaped relationship between ethical leadership and team creativity. The teams exhibited more creativity when there was a moderate level of ethical leadership than when there were very low or very high levels. Moreover, from an interactional perspective, we found that team faultlines significantly moderated the curvilinear relationship between ethical leadership and team creativity such that the inverted U-shaped relationship was more significant among teams with weak team faultlines. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.


Ethical leadership Team creativity Team faultlines Curvilinear Interactional approach 



This research was supported in part by Grant No. 71372056 awarded to Xiao-Yun Xie, Grant No. 71302102 awarded to Shenjiang Mo, and Grant No. 71232012 awarded to Zhongming Wang from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Management and MarketingHong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong

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