Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 137, Issue 4, pp 743–755 | Cite as

The “Right” and the “Good” in Ethical Leadership: Implications for Supervisors’ Performance and Promotability Evaluations

  • Chaim LetwinEmail author
  • David Wo
  • Robert Folger
  • Darryl Rice
  • Regina Taylor
  • Brendan Richard
  • Shannon Taylor


Substantial research demonstrates that ethical leaders improve a broad range of outcomes for their employees, but considerably less attention has been devoted to the performance and success of the leaders themselves. The present study explores the extent to which being ethical relates to leaders’ performance and promotability. We address this question by examining ethical leadership from the two ethical perspectives most common in Western traditions—i.e., the “right” and the “good”—and whether one might be more closely associated than the other with performance and promotability evaluations. Results from 117 employee-supervisor-manager triads show that supervisors with a deontological outlook are more likely to be seen as ethical leaders (given current conceptualizations of the construct) and that utilitarian leaders are more likely to earn higher performance evaluations (above these current conceptions). We discuss the implications of these findings for research on ethical leadership.


Deontology Ethics Ethical leadership Leadership Performance Promotability Utilitarianism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chaim Letwin
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Wo
    • 2
  • Robert Folger
    • 3
  • Darryl Rice
    • 4
  • Regina Taylor
    • 5
  • Brendan Richard
    • 3
  • Shannon Taylor
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Management and EntrepreneurshipSuffolk UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  3. 3.Department of ManagementUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Management, Farmer School of BusinessMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  5. 5.Management & Marketing Department, Heider College of BusinessCreighton UniversityOmahaUSA

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