Effects of Machiavellian ethical leadership and employee power distance on employee voice

Won Jun Kwak1, Ji Hyun Shim2
1College of Business Administration, Soongsil University, Republic of Korea
2Graduate School for Women’s Human Resource Development, Sookmyung Women’s University, Republic of Korea
Cite this article:  Kwak, W. J., & Shim, J. H. (2017). Effects of Machiavellian ethical leadership and employee power distance on employee voice. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45(9), 1485-1498.

Volume 45 Issue 9 | e5896 | Published: October 2017 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.5896

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We investigated how employees respond to Machiavellian supervisors exerting ethical leadership. Participants were 252 matched supervisor–employee dyads, and we administered measures of supervisor ethical leadership, employee voice, employee power distance orientation, and supervisor Machiavellianism. Results revealed that Machiavellian supervisors’ ethical leader behaviors were perceived to be genuine by subordinate employees, and that ethical leadership promoted supervisors’ extrarole voice behaviors. Further, the effects of Machiavellian supervisors’ ethical leader behaviors on employee voice were intensified in the particular organizational context of higher, versus lower, employee power distance orientation. Given the major finding that ethical leader behaviors demonstrated by Machiavellian supervisors were effective whether or not they were genuine, ethical leadership training and development are suggested to help promote desirable employee work behaviors, including voice.

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