Ethical leadership and unethical employee behavior: A moderated mediation model

Chenjing Gan1
1Business School, Ningbo University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Gan, C. (2018). Ethical leadership and unethical employee behavior: A moderated mediation model. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46, 1271-1284.

Volume 46 Issue 8 | e7328 | Published: August 2018 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7328

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I explored the role of employee moral justification as a cognitive mediator in the relationship between ethical leadership and unethical employee behavior, and then investigated employee moral identity as a moderator of this indirect relationship. I based my moderated meditation model on social learning theory and tested it by analyzing data collected from 271 employees of 17 firms in China at 2 time points separated by approximately 3 weeks. The results showed that the negative indirect relationship between ethical leadership and unethical employee behavior through moral justification was significant when employee moral identity was strong. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

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