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Leadership styles, justice and whistle-blowing intention: testing a mediation model

Smita Gupta (Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India)
Kanika T. Bhal (Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 10 December 2020

Issue publication date: 15 July 2021

608

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to focus on justice perceptions as the operating mechanism for leadership to impact whistle-blowing intention (WBI). Consequently, it aimed to test the mediating role of justice perception through which ethical leadership (EL) and servant leadership (SL) lead to WBI.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered from 136 employees of IT companies in India through a questionnaire survey to test the proposed relationships.

Findings

The analysis showed that both EL and SL predict employees’ WBI via justice as the mediating mechanism.

Research limitations/implications

Formal and informal mechanisms by leaders should focus on ensuring that justice is not only done but also perceived by their subordinates in such a way that just being an ethical or servant leader by itself might not result in pro-social behavior like whistle-blowing.

Originality/value

Many studies have shown the effect of SL and EL on outcomes like whistle-blowing; however, this study comprises that justice perception might play a critical mediating role through which both leadership styles impact normative/prosocial behavior like whistleblowing. Understanding the role of leadership and justice perception can offer valuable insights into one’s WBI and tendencies, thus increasing the amount of variance in the WBI that researchers can explain.

Keywords

Citation

Gupta, S. and Bhal, K.T. (2021), "Leadership styles, justice and whistle-blowing intention: testing a mediation model", European Business Review, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 622-641. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBR-03-2020-0068

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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