Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 299–310 | Cite as

The Moral Judgment Relationship Between Leaders and Followers: A Comparative Study Across the Taiwan Strait

  • Yi-Hui HoEmail author
  • Chieh-Yu Lin


Ethics is central to leadership because of the impact leaders have on establishing organizational values and engaging followers to accomplish mutual goals. The ethical concerns of leaders may influence ethical decision-making of their followers. This paper attempts to investigate the relationship between leaders and followers on moral judgment, and make a comparison between China and Taiwan on the leader–follower moral judgment relationship. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey on purchasing professionals in China and Taiwan. The development of moral judgment was measured using the defining issues test. Research findings indicate that followers exhibit higher level of moral judgment while their leaders have higher level of moral judgment. A positive moral judgment relationship exists between leaders and followers. The comparative study between China and Taiwan reveals that Chinese purchasing professionals are more easily influenced by their workplace leaders than their Taiwanese counterparts. Power distance would strengthen the leader–follower moral judgment relationship. The present research makes contributions toward the ethics literature by providing empirical insight into the relationship between leader moral judgment and follower moral judgment. This paper also suggests implications and opportunities for future research.


Moral judgment development Ethical leadership China Taiwan 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International BusinessChang Jung Christian UniversityTainan CityTaiwan ROC

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