Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 78, Issue 1–2, pp 153–164 | Cite as

Ethical Stewardship – Implications for Leadership and Trust

  • Cam CaldwellEmail author
  • Linda A. Hayes
  • Patricia Bernal
  • Ranjan Karri


Great leaders are ethical stewards who generate high levels of commitment from followers. In this paper, we propose that perceptions about the trustworthiness of leader behaviors enable those leaders to be perceived as ethical stewards. We define ethical stewardship as the honoring of duties owed to employees, stakeholders, and society in the pursuit of long-term wealth creation. Our model of relationship between leadership behaviors, perceptions of trustworthiness, and the nature of ethical stewardship reinforces the importance of ethical governance in dealing with employees and in creating organizational systems that are congruent with espoused organizational values.


stewardship leadership trust ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cam Caldwell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Linda A. Hayes
    • 2
  • Patricia Bernal
    • 2
  • Ranjan Karri
    • 3
  1. 1.John B. Goddard School of BusinessWeber State UniversityOgdenU.S.A.
  2. 2.School of BusinessUniversity of HostonVictoriaU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of ManagementUniversity of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfieldU.S.A.

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