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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 357–376 | Cite as

Perceived Ethical Leadership Affects Customer Purchasing Intentions Beyond Ethical Marketing in Advertising Due to Moral Identity Self-Congruence Concerns

  • Niels Van QuaquebekeEmail author
  • Jan U. Becker
  • Niko Goretzki
  • Christian Barrot
Original Paper

Abstract

Ethical leadership has so far mainly been featured in the organizational behavior domain and, as such, treated as an intra-organizational phenomenon. The present study seeks to highlight the relevance of ethical leadership for extra-organizational phenomena by combining the organizational behavior perspective on ethical leadership with a classical marketing approach. In particular, we demonstrate that customers may use perceived ethical leadership cues as additional reference points when forming purchasing intentions. In two experimental studies (N = 601 and N = 336), we find that ethical leadership positively affects purchasing intentions because of customers’ concerns for moral self-congruence. We show this by means of both mediation and moderation analyses. Interestingly, the effect of perceived ethical leadership on purchasing intentions holds over and above the ethical advertising claims (e.g., cause-related marketing) that are commonly used in marketing. We conclude by discussing the possible ramifications of ethical leadership beyond its effects on immediate employees.

Keywords

Ethical leadership Moral identity Purchasing intention Advertising Marketing Self-congruence Ethics Moral Cause-related marketing 

Notes

Funding

This study was not funded by a third party.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in these studies that involved human participants aligned with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee, as well as with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

All individual participants in the studies provided informed consent.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Van Quaquebeke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan U. Becker
    • 1
  • Niko Goretzki
    • 1
  • Christian Barrot
    • 1
  1. 1.Management DepartmentKühne Logistics UniversityHamburgGermany

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