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Developing ethical leadership for business organizations: A conceptual model of its antecedents and consequences

Avnish Sharma (Institute of Business Management, GLA University, Mathura, India)
Rakesh Agrawal (IIM Kashipur, Kashipur, India)
Utkal Khandelwal (Institute of Business Management, GLA University, Mathura, India)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 2 September 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the growing construct of ethical leadership and its related concepts that focus on the importance of the moral aspect of leadership. It focuses on the idea of ethical leadership, personality attributes of ethical leaders and develops a conceptual framework including various propositions related to the antecedents and outcomes of ethical leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a review paper based on a synthesis of leadership literature from existing research journals and articles on ethical leadership. Authors analyzed selected papers on ethical leadership to propose a conceptual framework that shows the antecedents and outcomes of ethical leadership.

Findings

An ethical leader is one who strongly believes in following the right set of values and ideals in their decisions, actions and behavior. One has to be honest with high integrity, with people orientation and communicates assertively. Among the other attributes of an ethical leader, one needs to be responsible for taking unbiased decisions in benefit and overall interest of people and organization. This ethical leadership plays a vital role in developing positive outcomes such as followers’ organizational commitment and organizational identification. Trust in leadership can moderate this relationship.

Practical implications

This paper offers opportunities for researchers to explore discoveries in leadership style and also helps to understand the ways the organizations can develop ethical leaders at the workplace. An effective and efficient leader integrates ethics with leadership and thus makes its presence felt and emerges as a role model to play a more positive and valuable role in an organization.

Originality/value

This paper helps the strategist and educators to conceptualize ethical leadership and its framework including leaders’ ideal traits, similarities and differences of ethical leadership with other leadership styles and its role in developing positive outcomes in an organization. It presents a framework of ten testable propositions about ethical leadership that are relevant for both the practitioners and the scholars.

Keywords

Citation

Sharma, A., Agrawal, R. and Khandelwal, U. (2019), "Developing ethical leadership for business organizations: A conceptual model of its antecedents and consequences", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 712-734. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-10-2018-0367

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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