Ethical leadership and whistleblowing: Collective moral potency and personal identification as mediators

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Fa-wang Zhang
Jian-qiao Liao
Jin-ming Yuan
Cite this article:  Zhang, F., Liao, J., & Yuan, J. (2016). Ethical leadership and whistleblowing: Collective moral potency and personal identification as mediators. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(7), 1223-1232.


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Given the prevalence and concealment of misconduct in the workplace, whistleblowing has become an important organizational control mechanism. In this study, we focused on the process by which ethical leadership influences employees to blow the whistle internally. We collected data via a survey administered to the respondents, who were leader–member dyads in a large branch of the central bank in southern China. Hierarchical linear modeling results revealed that ethical leadership was positively related to internal whistleblowing by subordinates. We controlled for ethical climate and found that collective moral potency as a component of the ethical environment, and employees’ personal identification with their supervisors fully mediated the relationship between ethical leadership and internal whistleblowing. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed and directions for future research are suggested.

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