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Ethical leadership and interpersonal citizenship behavior in the public sector

Long Le Hoang Nguyen (School of Government, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 7 August 2023

Issue publication date: 29 August 2023




This study aims to examine the impact of ethical leadership on the extra-role behavior toward individuals of employees in the public sector. In addition, the study examines the mediating roles of supervisor-subordinate guanxi and public service motivation.


Research data were collected from 222 public servants in local government, Vietnam. Study using partial least square SEM (PLS-SEM) method performed by SmartPLS 3.2.9.


Ethical leadership has a direct impact on OCBI. In turn, supervisor-subordinate guanxi holds mediating role in linking the relationship between ethical leadership and OCBI. Public service motivation mediates nexuses between ethical leadership, supervisor-subordinate guanxi and OCBI.

Research limitations/implications

To encourage public servants to engage in interpersonal citizenship behaviors, leaders must focus on fostering an ethical climate in the workplace by acting as an ethical model and encouraging ethical standards in daily work.


The study provides new insights on the mediating role of public service motivation, guanxi from the perspective of the leader's ethical aspect.



Funding: This research is funded by University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Nguyen, L.L.H. (2023), "Ethical leadership and interpersonal citizenship behavior in the public sector", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 246-260.



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