- Ethical leader behavior and leader effectiveness: the role of prototypicality and trust
- International Journal of Leadership Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 5 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
The study examines factors that mediate the impact of ethical leader behavior on leader effectiveness. Little is known about how ethical leadership impacts leader effectiveness. We hypothesized that prototypicality and trust sequentially mediate the relationship between ethical leader behavior and perceived leader effectiveness. The group prototype forms an ideal representation of the group’s identity, prescribing appropriate attitudes and behaviors. Ethical leaders are role models and thus are likely to be seen as the group prototype. In turn, prototypes are more trusted and effective. We investigated whether ethical leader behavior overall and different specific ethical leader behaviors (fairness, power sharing, and role clarification) influence prototypicality and, in turn, trust in the leader and leader effectiveness. This model was tested in a field study among 244 employees. Results showed that the relationship between overall ethical leader behavior and leader effectiveness is mediated by prototypicality and trust. For the separate dimensions of ethical leadership, we found full mediation by prototypicality and trust for the relationship between fairness and effectiveness and partial mediation for the relationship between role clarification and leader effectiveness. As expected, the relationship between power sharing and leader effectiveness was not significant.
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