Rethinking ethical leadership, social capital and customer relationship

Qinqin Zheng (School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China)
Miao Wang (School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China)
Zhiqiang Li (China Executive Leadership Academy, Pudong, Shanghai, China)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 19 July 2011



Practical wisdom from Chinese classical traditions is still an enlightening resource for contemporary management. Based in traditional Chinese perspectives, this paper aims to explore the influence of ethical leadership and social capital on customer relationship.


The authors conduct a survey of senior executives in 215 Chinese companies. Structural model testing and hierarchical regressions are used to analyze the data.


The empirical analysis affirms the authors' hypotheses that both ethical leadership and social capital have significant influence on customer relationship.

Research limitations/implications

The results imply that traditional Chinese perspectives on contemporary management research have a potentially important impact.

Practical implications

It may also be valuable for Chinese firms to incorporate classical traditions into their daily practice: to enhance ethical leadership and obtain more social capital.


This study is a modest step towards an integration of traditional perspectives into research on the role of ethical leadership, and social capital, in maintaining good customer relationship in China.



Zheng, Q., Wang, M. and Li, Z. (2011), "Rethinking ethical leadership, social capital and customer relationship", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 No. 7/8, pp. 663-674.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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