Ethical leadership in firms: antecedents and consequences

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University of Alabama Libraries

Recent ethical misconduct of leaders, in some high profile firms, has drawn increased attention to the reality that, ignorance on the ethics of leaders could threaten the survival of companies, and that ethical leadership may be a critical piece for company success. This dissertation aims to further our knowledge of ethical leadership by examining moral emotions as the antecedents (Model I) and employee creativity as the consequence (Model II) in two separate models. Specifically, drawing on empathy literature and moral affect theory of gratitude, Model I hypothesized that leaders' moral emotions (empathy and gratitude) should predict ethical leadership behaviors. Based on ethical leadership literature and theories of creativity, Model II hypothesized that ethical leadership, both directly and indirectly, should create high levels of psychological safety and certainty, and have an effective and positive influence on promoting employee creativity. Data collected from two semiconductor companies in China were used in the dissertation. Theoretical and practical implications as well as limitations and directions for future research were discussed.

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