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Ethical leadership in organizations: evidence from the field

Meghna Goswami ( Indian Institute of Management Jammu , Jammu, India)
Rakesh Kumar Agrawal ( Indian Institute of Management Kashipur , Kashipur, India)
Anil Kumar Goswami (Defence Research and Development Organisation, New Delhi, India)

International Journal of Ethics and Systems

ISSN: 2514-9369

Article publication date: 30 December 2020

Issue publication date: 22 January 2021




Owing to the significant and critical role of ethical leadership in organizations, this study aims to explore and understand the perceptions about ethical leadership in organizations. It empirically investigates whether the individual attributes of gender, age, work experience, executive level and qualification of members and other demographic variables, such as industry and sector, affect the perception of members toward ethical conduct of their supervisors.


This is a quantitative study where the analysis is based on the data collected from 419 members of 3 different industries, namely, public sector research and development organizations, information technology organizations and academic universities and colleges.


The results reveal that perception of ethical leadership does not vary across gender and qualification of members but varies across age, work experience, management level, industry and sector.

Practical implications

This study helps to understand the importance and role of various individual attributes that affect the perception of ethical leadership by followers. This study will make leaders to be more aware and behave in ethical manner with respect to different groups of followers.


Because of occurrence of many scandals and fraudulent behaviors in organizations, business ethics has caught the attention of policy makers, corporate organizations and academic. Ethical leadership is very crucial for organizational success on a sustainable basis. To the best of authors’ knowledge, this study is among the early studies conducted to investigate the influence of the individual attributes and other demographic variables on the perception of members toward ethical conduct of their supervisors.



Goswami, M., Agrawal, R.K. and Goswami, A.K. (2021), "Ethical leadership in organizations: evidence from the field", International Journal of Ethics and Systems, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 122-144.



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