Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 771–789 | Cite as

Exploring the Influence of Abusive and Ethical Leadership on Supervisor and Coworker-Targeted Impression Management

  • Eden-Raye LukacikEmail author
  • Joshua S. Bourdage
Original Paper


The present study was conducted to explore the association between abusive supervision and ethical leadership and employees’ use of workplace impression management (IM) behavior. We investigated five assertive and three defensive IM behaviors and distinguished between IM directed at supervisors versus coworkers. Analysis of data from 288 working adults suggests that self-promotion, exemplification, and apologies were more frequently directed toward supervisors, while supplication, intimidation, ingratiation, and excuses were more frequently directed toward coworkers. Abusive supervision was associated with increased self-promotion, supplication, exemplification, intimidation, justifications, and excuses. Ethical leadership was associated with reduced intimidation, justifications, and excuses. Leader role modeling was a moderator strengthening the positive association between abusive supervision and supplication, intimidation, and excuses, while strengthening the negative association between ethical supervision and excuses. These findings and their implications are discussed.


Abusive supervision Ethical leadership Impression management Organizational politics 



This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (1029477).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

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.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

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


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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