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Promoting green behavior through ethical leadership: a model of green human resource management and environmental knowledge

Saima Ahmad (Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Talat Islam (Institute of Business Administration, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Misbah Sadiq (Department of Economics and Finance, College of Economics and Management, Al Qasimia University, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Ahmad Kaleem (Department of Management, Central Queensland University-Melbourne Campus, Melbourne, Australia)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 17 February 2021

Issue publication date: 2 June 2021




This paper aims to investigate the influence of supervisor's ethical leadership style on subordinates' green or pro-environmental work behavior in the presence of green human resource management (GHRM) as a mediator and environmental knowledge as a moderator.


A questionnaire-based was distributed to 427 supervisor–subordinate dyads working in various Pakistani organizations. Structural equation modeling was used to determine the mechanisms and boundary conditions in the relationship between supervisor's ethical leadership style and subordinates' green behavior.


Structural equation modeling supported a partial mediating role of GHRM in the influence of ethical leadership on green work behavior. Further, the findings revealed that employee's environmental knowledge can magnify the indirect impact of ethical leadership, via GHRM, on green behavior.

Research limitations/implications

Cross-sectional survey data are typically associated with common method bias. To counter this bias, we collected data from dual sources, namely, supervisors and their subordinates. The research findings have implications in deepening the understanding of the impact of ethical leadership in improving environmental performance of the organization.


This is the first study that utilizes multi-sourced data to examine the mediating role of GHRM and the moderating role of environmental knowledge in the relationship between ethical leadership and green behavior at work.



Acknowledgment: The authors are thankful to all the participants, volunteers, reviewers and Editor for their valuable suggestions.Funding: There was no funding for this study.


Ahmad, S., Islam, T., Sadiq, M. and Kaleem, A. (2021), "Promoting green behavior through ethical leadership: a model of green human resource management and environmental knowledge", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 531-547.



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