Forthcoming: Issue 4 – 2012 – The Journal of Change management – Special issue on ethical leadership – Guest editors: Steven Grover, Thierry Nadisic, David Patient.


Does fair and ethical leadership make a difference?

Recent corporate scandals have led many people to question the role of un/ethical leadership in corporate misbehavior. Organizational scholars contribute to our understanding of ethical leadership by investigating and theorizing within the organizational justice, trust, business ethics, and leadership literatures. Unfortunately, work relating to ethical leadership from these different subfields has rarely been brought together. This special issue is an attempt to take a step in that direction by bringing together five articles that propose links among leadership, ethics, integrity, organizational justice, and trust. Existing theoretical definitions are explored and new theory is proposed, based on exploratory qualitative and quantitative studies, from North American and several European jurisdictions. Because of the central role that leadership, ethics, justice, and trust can play in how we experience and manage workplace change, the topic is well suited for the readership of the Journal of Change Management in the form of a special issue.

The papers

The five papers comprising the special issue on the intersection of ethics, justice, and leadership extend and integrate different perspectives on fair and ethical leadership. In “Toward the Measurement of Perceived Leader Integrity: Introducing a Multidimensional Approach,” Moorman and colleagues explore how followers make attributions of leader integrity. In “The Interplay between HR Practices and Perceived Behavioural Integrity in Determining Positive Employee Outcomes,” Innocenti and colleagues examine the crucial role of leaders and managers in bringing human resource practices alive in terms of their impact on employees. This research adds to the relatively few studies looking at the effect of employee perceptions of leader behavioral integrity on employee attitudes. In “Trust and leadership,” Klaussner proposes a theoretical model of trust emergence in leader-follower relationship, integrating trust, integrity, and fairness. The final two papers further explore the contextual nature of judgments regarding ethics, leadership, and justice. Heres and Lasthuizen investigate how ethical leadership is viewed differently by managers in public versus private firms in “What’s the Difference? Ethical Leadership in Public, Hybrid, and Private Sector Organizations.”  In the final paper, “Managers’ Corporate Social Responsibility Perceptions and Attitudes across Different Organizational Contexts within the Non-profit—For-profit Organizational Continuum”,  Athanasopoulou looks at effects of context and culture on an important aspect of ethical behavior/leadership: corporate social responsibility (CSR).


The Complex Combination

The five papers in this special issue bring to the fore the role of complexity and therefore the importance of analyzing ethical phenomena from multiple perspectives. Ethical leadership is one area, perhaps among many, that can benefit from collaborative perspectives among “trust” researchers, “justice” researchers, and “leadership ethics” researchers.