Ethical leadership impact on human resource practices and the trust relationship of leaders
Shearrow, Dawn A.
University of Wisconsin--Whitewater
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Essay 1: Organizations continue to be challenged with ethical dilemmas that call into question not only the moral fiber of the organization but the ethical behavior of the individual leaders within the organization. Such dilemmas persist in attracting practitioners and scholars to gather contributing evidence to provide potential preventative solutions and practices. This dissertation focuses on ethical leadership (EL) as it relates to the organization and the leader–leader relationship. The first discovery is made by proposing that the ethical climate of an organization is impacted by ethical practices of human resource management (HRM) functions specifically the performance appraisal (PA) process and how human resource professionals’ (HRPs) leadership influences the behavior within the organization. The second area of investigation proposes social learning theory (SLT) as a theoretical foundation for investigating the moderating effect that EL has on the trust relationship between leaders within an organization. This research addresses two key issues. First, it contributes to further understanding how organizations and their leaders impact ethical dilemmas by focusing on the HRM functions, specifically the PA process, within the organization and establishing ethical accountability. Second, organizations can begin to recognize how critical the leader—leader relationship is in influencing behavioral outcomes, such as trust, recognizing that role modeling is a critical part of establishing and defining the level of trust between leaders. Essay 2: Ethical leaders must strive to be role models in a world where divisive and corrupt behavior takes center stage distracting from the truth. Organizations rely on their leaders to serve as role models, ensuring that their behaviors are in alignment with the foundational framework established. The trust relationship between organizations and their leaders is just as crucial as the trust relationship among leaders. Social learning theory (SLT) is used as a theoretical foundation for explaining the moderating effects that ethical leadership (EL) has on the trust (cognitive and affective) relationship between faculty and administrative leaders within higher education institutions (HEIs). It is argued that the increase of leader collaborative decision making (CDM), the frequency of leader interaction (LI), and RC(RC) of leaders will positively impact the trust relationship such that the moderating effect of EL will provide a greater level of trust among leaders. Data were collected from surveys of faculty and administrators serving in leadership roles in HEIs to examine the trust relationship that exists between leaders as well as the perception of EL. Findings support two hypotheses indicating the potential for further research using a larger sample size to provide additional insight supporting theoretical positioning.