Promote Ethical Leadership | My Assignment Tutor

The Journal of Values-Based LeadershipVolume 12Issue 1 Winter/Spring 2019 Article 11January 2019Accountability and Moral Competence PromoteEthical LeadershipKassem A. GhanemLawrence Technological University, [email protected] A. CastelliLawrence Technological University, [email protected] this and additional works at: of the Business Administration, Management, and Operations Commons, and the BusinessLaw, Public Responsibility, and Ethics CommonsThis Article is brought to you for free and open access by the College of Business at ValpoScholar. It has been accepted for inclusion in The Journal ofValues-Based Leadership by an authorized administrator of ValpoScholar. For more information, please contact a ValpoScholar staff member [email protected] CitationGhanem, Kassem A. and Castelli, Patricia A. (2019) “Accountability and Moral Competence Promote Ethical Leadership,” The Journalof Values-Based Leadership: Vol. 12 : Iss. 1 , Article 11.Available at: at: and MoralCompetence Promote EthicalLeadership AbstractKASSEM A. GHANEM,WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA Accountability and moral competence are two factors that mayhave a positive effect on ethical leadership in organizations. Thisstudy utilized a survey methodology to investigate therelationship among accountability, moral competence, andethical leadership in a sample of 103 leaders from a variety ofindustries and different countries. Accountability was found to bea significant positive predictor of ethical leadership. Moralcompetence was also found to moderate this relationship suchthat increases in moral competence enhanced the positive effectsof accountability on ethical leadership. The results of the studysuggest that organizations can increase ethical leadershipthroughout the company via accountability (especially selfaccountability) and moral competence by training their leadersto use self-monitoring behaviors and increasing moral education.IntroductionIn today’s rapidly changing business environment, leaders must make ethical decisions on aregular basis (Hsieh, 2017; Khokhar & Zia-ur-Rehman, 2017) and function as ethical leadersto promote, sustain, and maintain ethical behavior in followers (Jeewon, Jung Hyun, Yoonjung,Pillai, & Se Hyung, 2018; Kalshoven, Den Hartog, & De Hoogh, 2011; Northouse, 2013).Continual scandals in business and public sectors over the last decades have increasedinterest in ethical leadership (Khokhar & Zia-ur-Rehman, 2017; Marquardt, Brown, & Casper,2018). The increase in the importance of ethics in business and management has led manyscholars to focus on ethical leadership behavior (Ardelean, 2015; Eubanks, Brown, & Ybema,2012; Javed, Rawwas, Khandai, Shahid, & Tayyeb, 2018; Mayer, Kuenzi, Greenbaum, Bardes,& Salvador, 2009; Northouse, 2013; Resick et al., 2011; Trevino, den Nieuwenboer, & KishGephart, 2014). Moreover, it has provided opportunities for researchers to investigatemethods that produce increased knowledge of ethical behavior in organizations that canresult in facilitating and sustaining the development of ethical leadership behavior. Volatilityin today’s global economy confronts organizational leaders with numerous complex ethicaldilemmas, and makes ethical decision-making an important component of leadershipbehavior. To sustain ethical leadership behavior in business and management, organizationsneed to decrease the likelihood that the leader will engage in inappropriate conduct (Beu &Buckley, 2001; Newman, Round, Bhattacharya, & Roy, 2017) by adopting mechanisms forenhancing ethical leadership behavior.PATRICIA A. CASTELLI,SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN,U.S.A.2One mechanism for enhancing ethical leadership behavior addressed in the literature isaccountability (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999; Petrick & Quinn, 2001; Sikka, 2017). Accountabilityinvolves assessing individual’s beliefs and feelings, and observing and evaluating theperformance and behavior of self and others (Dhiman, Sen, & Bhardwaj, 2018; Lerner &Tetlock, 1999). Accountability is an important construct for supporting ethical leadershipbehavior in today’s global economy, and is one of the central constructs to promote businessethics (Nunn & Avella, 2017; Petrick & Quinn; 2001). Accountability requires leaders todevelop ethical perspectives compatible with the social order (Steinbauer, Renn, Taylor, &Njoroge, 2014). One of the important roles that ethical leaders have in an organization is topromote, support, and maintain ethical behavior. An ethical leader, in this study, is a leaderwho effectively promotes ethical behaviors such as ethical guidance, fairness, integrity,people orientation, power sharing, role clarification, and concern for sustainability throughethical climate (Kalshoven et al., 2011). The intra-organizational scope of accountabilityinvolves accountability of a leader by self and others (Bergsteiner, 2011). In selfaccountability, the leader is accountable to him/herself, and is able to develop a sense of selfaccountability for his/her behavior to increase self-awareness (e.g., Lerner & Tetlock, 1999)with no presence of others in the decision context (Peloza, White, & Shang, 2013). In otheraccountability, the leader perceives anyone other than self as evaluating his/her behavior(Royle, 2006). Accordingly, accountability is a construct that involves an assessment of anindividual’s beliefs and feelings and an assessment of the behavior of others. Moreover,accountability involves monitoring and evaluating the performance and behavior of self (e.g.,Lerner & Tetlock, 1999).A second mechanism for enhancing ethical leadership addressed in the literature is moralcompetence. Oftentimes, ethics and morals are used interchangeably; however, they areclearly different. Ethics refer to behaviors or decisions made by individuals within externalvalues that are compatible with the social order system, whereas morals refer to internalprinciples that help individuals recognize what is right or wrong (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015).Moral competence involves making moral decisions and judgments (Kohlberg, 1964), andsolving problems and conflicts using universal moral principles (Lind, 2015) regardless ofculture or country of origin. The theory of moral competence was inspired by the moraldevelopment theory developed by Kohlberg (1958, 1969) to explain how an individualreasons when making moral judgments, and where moral judgment illustrates the process bywhich an individual decides that his/her course of action is morally right or wrong (Loviscky,Trevino, & Jacobs, 2007). Kohlberg (1964) defined moral competence as “the capacity tomake decisions and judgments which are moral (i.e., based on internal principles) and to actin accordance with such judgments” (p. 425). Kohlberg goes on to differentiate among thevarious levels of moral reasoning whereas lower levels are associated with socialconsequences (fear of getting caught), to higher principles (universal values). Lind (2015)extends Kohlberg’s definition of moral competence emphasizing the link between moralcompetence and ethical behavior. Specifically, Lind defined moral competence “as the abilityto solve problems and conflicts on the basis of universal moral principles through thinkingand discussion, but not through violence, deceit, and power” (p. 4).Purpose of the StudyTo help sustain ethical leadership behavior, organizations and leaders may want to considerutilizing accountability as an instrument to promote ethical behavior. The level of moral3competence in a leader may play a critical role in moderating relationships among ethicalleadership behavior, self-accountability, and other-accountability. Within this context, thepurpose of this quantitative study was to investigate (1) whether accountability of self andothers affects ethical leadership behavior, (2) whether the relationship betweenaccountability and ethical leadership is moderated by the leader’s moral competence, and (3)whether the relationship between accountability and ethical leadership is moderated by theleader’s, gender, age, education, leadership experience, or leadership role in the organization.To address the need to increase ethical behavior in business, this study investigated therelationships among accountability, moral competence, and ethical leadership. A sample oforganizational leaders completed an online survey that measured ethical leadership,accountability and moral competence. Inferential statistics were used to investigate (1)accountability as a predictor of ethical leadership, (2) moral competence as a moderator ofthe relationship between accountability and ethical leadership, and (3) leader demographiccharacteristics such as gender, age, educational level, leadership experience, and leadershiprole as moderators of the relationship between accountability and ethical leadership. Resultsfrom this study contribute to the existing literature on ethical leadership and ethical behaviorby helping business owners and organizational executives increase ethical leadership byaddressing accountability and moral competence in their organizations. Study results mayalso help organizations develop strategies for selecting ethical leaders, developing ethicalleaders, and identifying the most effective strategies to reinforce ethical behaviors inorganizations (Walumbwa & Schaubroeck, 2009).Methods, Conceptual Framework, and HypothesesThe research methodology was a quantitative cross-sectional survey design with moderatingvariables. The analysis utilized hypothesis testing in the form of multiple linear regression inwhich the dependent variable, ethical leadership, was regressed on the independent variable,accountability. An interaction term of accountability x the moderator variable (moralcompetence, and either gender, age, education, leadership experience, and leadership role)were also included in the regression analysis. LinkedIn Group members with self-reportedlevels of management experience were invited to participate in the survey. Study participantscompleted a web-based survey that measured accountability, ethical leadership, and moralcompetence.Research VariablesThis study investigated the relationship between accountability and ethical leadership in asample of senior, middle and lower level managers, and the moderating effects of the leader’smoral competence and demographic variables on the relationship between accountability andethical leadership. Accountability is an independent variable (IV) comprised of two factors,self-accountability and other-accountability. The IV affects the dependent variable (DV),ethical leadership, which is comprised of seven factors: ethical guidance, fairness, integrity,people orientation, power sharing, role clarification, and sustainability. To explore the impactof variables that could moderate the effect of accountability on ethical leadership, moralcompetence is included in the model as a moderator (MOD). Furthermore, the demographicvariables gender, age, education, leadership experience and leadership role are included inthe model as moderators (MOD). The conceptual model is shown in Figure 1.4Accountability and Ethical LeadershipAccountability is very important for supporting ethical leadership in today’s global economy(Beu 2000; Lagan & Moran, 2006; Sikka, 2017) and is one of the central constructs to protectbusiness and organizational ethics. Leaders with accountability provide attention to thedevelopment of ethical perspectives within organizational components. Leaders need tomake ethically accountable decisions in rapidly changing business environments (Steinbaueret al., 2014; Sims & Felton, 2006) and within these spheres, they face decisions andimplement actions to create an ethical environment and promote a community’s interests.Accountability has the potential to sustain ethical and personal development. Lerner andTetlock (1999) concluded that when an individual becomes aware of the accountabilitycondition, the specific coping strategy relevant to the condition is embraced. An individual whois held accountable is likely to be aware of the accountability requirements in order to becompatible with the expectations of the accountable. Thus, the individuals are likely to behavein an acceptable manner. Lerner and Tetlock also added that self-criticism and effortfulthinking (i.e., self-accountability) will be selected most often when individuals are aware of theaccountability conditions. The individuals are likely to engage in a wide assessment of theirbehaviors and judgments. Paolini, Crisp, and McLntyre (2009) found that when individualswere notified that they would be held accountable for their decisions regarding stereotypechange and generalizations, both information processing and judgment vigilance increased.Accountability helps organizations to implement ethical behavior in order to cope with theincreasing demand for transparency and ethical performance measurement (Gilbert &Rasche, 2007). Accountability holds organizational leaders directly responsible to their publicin order to enable those leaders to be in line with the social and organizational requirementsFigure 1: Conceptual Model of the Study5(Schatz, 2013). Cox (2010) considered that accountability for the management of healthcarestrengthens the opportunities of accepting responsibility for a patient’s care by encouragingnurses and other medical professionals to acquire knowledge, skills and experience that allowthem to perform the task or role required of them while respecting the requisite legal andsocial standards. For example, medical professionals are accountable for their professionalactions and accountability acts as an external control that judges their actions. However, intheir qualitative study, Mansouri and Rowney (2014) found that accountability forprofessionals goes beyond fear of external control and material incentives; it refers to thesense of self-accountability, and concern for the public interest and ethical behavior.Therefore, accountability encourages ethical leadership behavior within organizations wherethe leaders need to be fair and principled decision-makers and also behave ethically in theirpersonal and professional lives (e.g., Brown & Treviño, 2006).Self-accountability and ethical leadership. The concept of self-accountability is seen asinternal motivators such as personal qualities and ethics. These motivators provide innerprinciples and goals set by individuals (Dhima et al., 2018; Schlenker & Weigold, 1989). Fromthe perspective of ethical leadership, self-accountability occurs when an ethical leader isaccountable to himself/herself when there is no one else to observe, monitor, or hold him/herresponsible. When a leader has a well-developed sense of self-accountability, the leader hasthe ability to hold himself/herself accountable for his/her behavior in order to increase selfobserving of their behavior (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999). Frink and Klimoski (1998) suggest apossible relationship between self-accountability and ethical guidance since selfaccountability includes personal (i.e., leader’s) ethics and values, goals, and obligations. Thisaligns with values-based leadership since shared values helps promote goal obtainment. Withrespect to social exchange theory, leaders influence others based on the reciprocalrelationship of obligation.Accordingly, the subordinates feel obligated to return beneficial behaviors when they believethat their leaders have been good and fair to them. Therefore, when self-accountability ofleaders is high, the subordinates will be more likely to practice ethical behaviors (e.g., Peloza,White, & Shang, 2013; Wachter, 2013). Self-accountability can also serve as the driver forensuring justice and fairness within the organizational boundaries (Hunt, 2007) and throughself-awareness, helps leaders better understand what their behaviors may elicit (e.g.,Hollander, 2013; Musah, 2011). Self-accountability comprises aspects of integrity andhonesty (Artley, 2001) that help regulate ethical behavior. There is a possible relationshipbetween self-accountability and people orientation. People orientation is based on howleaders affect organizational processes through caring for others, empowering others, anddeveloping others (Page & Wong, 2000). Caring for subordinates is one of the outcomes ofaccountability (Kalshoven et al., 2011; Lagan & Moran, 2006).Self-accountability might also enhance a power-sharing approach between leaders and theirsubordinates since the nature of self-accountability strengthens a bond of trust andcooperation between leadership and subordinates. According to Mordhah (2012), selfaccountability helps leaders avoid oppression and empower their subordinates by allowingthem to participate in decision-making. As a leader is accountable to himself/herself, theleader is able to develop a sense of self-observation for their behavior (Lerner & Tetlock,1999). This sense enables the leader to be transparent and to engage in open communicationwith subordinates in order to explain what is expected of them and clarify role expectations.6According to Neubert, Wu, and Roberts (2013), ethical leadership inspires ethical conduct inits true sense by practicing and managing ethics, and holding every one of subordinatesaccountable for their own behavior. Self-accountability has also a positive influence onsustainability (Cotte & Trudel, 2009). Peloza et al. (2013) stated that self-accountable peopleset their decisions and choices according to ethical and sustainability criteria.Other–Accountability and Ethical Leadership. Other-accountability represents anaccountability relationship with others within a work setting. Other-accountability involves anobligation to explain and justify one’s past conduct to another person(s) and can be a way toadhere to the ethical guidance of organizational leaders. Accountability stimulates leaders toadhere to ethical behavior, practice self-accountability and commit to the general interests(Mkandawire, 2010). The pressure of accountability may motivate leaders to develop aneffective decision-making process that helps to reduce the potential unpopular orquestionable decisions (McLaughlin, 1995). Thus, the leaders will be able to clarify the likelyconsequences of possible unethical behavior by subordinates. Accountability helpsorganizational leaders to implement ethical behavior in order to cope with the increasingdemand for transparency and ethical performance measurement (e.g., Gilbert & Rasche,2007; Kimura & Nishikawa, 2018). Other-accountability can be a way to achieve fairness andjustice within organizations; whereas accountability links justice perceptions to organizationaland leadership performance (Park, 2017). For example, accountability for the managementof healthcare strengthens the opportunities of accepting responsibility and achieving fairnessfor a patient’s care by encouraging nurses and other medical professionals to acquireknowledge, skills, and experience that allow them to perform the task or role required of themwhile respecting the requisite legal standard (e.g., Cox, 2010).Leadership accountability is the expectation that leaders are accountable for a quality oftasks’ performance, increasing productivity, mitigating adverse aspects of organizationaloperations, and promising that performance is managed with integrity (Artley, 2001). Otheraccountability also increases a power-sharing approach between leaders and theirsubordinates and may improve ethical behavior, encourage a culture of open communicationand lay the foundation for trust with subordinates (e.g., Bane, 2004). Where the nature ofaccountability strengthens a bond of trust and cooperation within organizational components(Schillemans, 2008). Caring for subordinates is one of the outcomes of accountability (Lagan& Moran, 2006). Caring for subordinates’ feelings is an important behavior of ethical leaders.In this regard, as self-accountable leaders, other-accountable ethical leaders are able to showextra role of people-orientation through their behavior. Lagan and Moran (2006) consideredthat the organizational framework of leadership ethical accountability includes displayingethical principles, promoting a culture of equality of wages compared with performance,managing the development of ethical strategies to reduce the negative consequences onproduction and performance, and advancing the employee’s well-being.Other-accountability might also enhance role clarification of leaders to their subordinates.Being accountable of others implies that leaders must accept responsibility for their conductand actions in a transparent manner. Consequently, ethical leaders are able to inspire ethicalconduct of their subordinates by holding every one accountable for their own behaviors(Neubert et al., 2013). Finally, other-accountability affects sustainability since it holdsorganizational leaders directly accountable to the public and this enables those leaders to bein line with public requirements (e.g., Schatz, 2013). The concept of accountability7underscores both the right and the corresponding responsibility of employees and communityto expect and ensure that organizations act in the best interests of the society (e.g., Malena,Forster, & Singh, 2004). Other-accountability also encourages organizational leaders to makedecisions within the framework of firm-level governance mechanisms (Filatotchev, 2012),which forms a fundamental base of leadership responsibility and accountability to communityand environment. This study hypothesized that self- and other-accountability would be apositive predictor of ethical leadership.Hypothesis 1: Accountability as measured by self- and other-accountability is a significantpositive predictor of ethical leadership.Moral Competence as an Antecedent to Ethical LeadershipMoral competence is critical for supporting ethical leadership in today’s global economy. Aleader’s character should be based on a strong foundation of high ethical standards. This isvital in today’s global economy where leaders must embrace ethics, as well as leadershipeffectiveness (e.g., expertise, techniques, knowledge), to be successful (Sankar, 2003). Moralcompetence is a cornerstone of the moral developmental cognitive family. Moral cognition ofa leader is depicted as an antecedent of effective leadership. When leaders are able todemonstrate a high moral judgment in their decisions, they will have greater opportunities toexhibit ethical leadership behaviors to their employees (e.g., Mulla & Krishnan, 2014).Mendonca (2001) states that leaders are responsible for identifying the levels oforganizations’ moral environment where these levels are reflected by the moral developmentof the leader. Therefore, leaders’ moral development has an important impression on anorganization’s ethical climate. Schminke, Ambrose, & Neubaum (2005) argued thatenhancing the ethical climate within organizations would be effective with leaders who fullyutilize their moral development through translating their capability for moral competence intomoral actions.Interaction between moral competence and accountability. Accountability has the potential tosustain ethical and moral development. Lerner and Tetlock (1999) concluded that selfcriticism and effortful thinking will be selected most often when individuals are aware of theaccountability conditions. The individuals are likely to engage in a wide assessment of theirbehaviors and judgments. Paolini et al. (2009) found that when individuals were notified thatthey would be held accountable for their decisions regarding stereotype change andgeneralizations, both information processing and judgment vigilance increased. In this regard,Lerner and Tetlock (1999) proposed that self-critical and effortful thinking is most likely to beactivated when decision-makers learn prior to forming any opinions that they will beaccountable to an audience (a) whose views are unknown, (b) who are interested in accuracy,(c) who are interested in processes rather than specific outcomes, (d) who are reasonably wellinformed, and (e) who have a legitimate reason for inquiring into the reasons behindparticipants’ judgments.Beu (2000) found that decision-makers with higher levels of moral cognitive will behave moreethically than those with lower levels. Beu also found that the correlation between moralcognitive and ethical behavior, in the context of accountability, was significant. Therelationship between moral cognitive (i.e., moral competence) and ethical leadershipappeared to be particularly strong for individuals who are high in moral utilization. The ideabehind moral utilization is that individuals differ not only in their moral cognitive capacity, but8also in the degree to which they actually utilize their capacity in ethical decision-making.Consequently, this paper suggests the levels of moral competence change the relationshipbetween accountability and ethical leadership behavior.This study proposes that the accountability of ethical leaders who have low moral competencemay differ from the accountability of leaders who have high moral competence. The behaviorof ethical leaders with low moral competence requires observing and evaluating by others inorder to reduce the likelihood that the leader will engage in inappropriate performance.Leaders’ behavior at this lower level of moral competence should be subject to evaluation byothers and subject to the objective conditions based on this evaluation (e.g., rewards andpunishments, laws, rules, etc.) (Beu & Buckley, 2001). In contrast, when leaders possess ahigh moral competence their ethical leadership may be accountable by self. Therefore, it washypothesized that at low levels of moral competence there is a strong relationship betweenother-accountability and ethical leadership, whereas at high level of moral competence thereis a strong relationship between self-accountability and ethical leadership (e.g., Brown &Trevino, 2006).Hypothesis 2: The relationship between accountability and ethical leadership ismoderated by moral competence.Demographic VariablesThe impact of demographic variables on the ethical decision-making process is a widelyresearched issue in the ethical leadership literature (Pierce & Sweeney, 2010). The literatureinvolves some studies with empirical examination that discuss the effect of demographicvariables such as gender, age, education, leadership experience, leadership roles on ethicalbehavior, and decision-making (e.g., Barbuto Jr., Fritz, Matkin, & Marx, 2007; Eagly &Johannesen-Schmidt, 2001, Fiedler,1994; Pierce & Sweeney, 2010). However, the literaturelacks studies with empirical examination regarding the effect these demographic variables onaccountability and thus on the relationship between accountability and ethical leadershipbehavior. This study proposed that the relationship between accountability and ethicalleadership may be different for leaders with varying demographic characteristics. Therefore,accountability may predict ethical leadership based on a leader’s demographiccharacteristics.Variables such as leader’s gender, age, educational level, experience and the role of theleader may play a significant role in affecting accountability when predicts ethical leadershipbehavior. These demographic variables were selected for this study given literature supportof their potential to have an impact on the relationship between accountability and ethicalleadership. For example, Barbuto Jr. et al. (2007) considered that demographic variables suchas gender, age and educational level could be used to predict some leadership behaviors.Although Fiedler (1994) found that leadership experience does not appear to predictleadership performance, Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt (2001) discussed the leadership roleof leaders in organizations defined by their specific position in a hierarchy (e.g., seniormanagement, middle management, and lower management) as potentially impactingleadership behavior. To investigate the role of demographic variables in the accountabilityethical leadership behavior relationship, the moderating effect of leader’s gender, age,educational level, experience, and the role of the leader was tested.9Hypothesis 3: The relationship between accountability and ethical leadership ismoderated by gender, age, education, leadership experience, or leadership role.Study SampleThe study sample consisted of 103 participants from Asia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East,and the United States who were senior, middle and lower level managers in theirorganizations. The sample for this study was recruited from among the population of globalprofessionals actively working in leadership positions or those who had experience working inleadership positions (i.e., a professional who has/had subordinates who reported to them).Professionals in current or prior leadership positions were recruited based on Saari and Judge(2004) who found that professionals have a strong effect on an organization’s performanceand have superior latitude in how they perform assigned tasks. Leaders were recruited viaLinkedIn groups ( and email referrals. Castelli, Egleston, and Marx (2013)described LinkedIn as an effective social media network for collecting survey data, Castelli etal. also provided steps for how to join LinkedIn professional groups, post research surveys inLinkedIn groups, engage people to participate, and improve participation rate. Eligibleparticipants were those who provided their voluntarily consent to participate in the study, andthose who self-identified themselves as a professional actively working in leadership positionsor those who had experience working in leadership positions. The sample was comprised of awide range of international senior, middle and lower leaders working in organizations from avariety of industries including manufacturing, education, government, health, informationtechnology, and energy.MeasuresThe survey instrument comprised of 81 questions divided into five sections: (1) ethicalleadership (24 items), (2) self-accountability (10 items), (3) other-accountability (12 items),(4) moral competence (26 items), and (5) demographics (9 items). The web-based survey wasadministered via SurveyMonkey. The survey instrument contained copyrighted scales forwhich the researcher obtained written permission. Ethical leadership was measured using 24items from Ethical Leadership at Work (ELW) questionnaire. The ELW asked respondentsabout seven specific ethical leadership behaviors: ethical guidance (3 items), fairness (4items), integrity (3 items), people orientation (5 items), power sharing (4 items), roleclarification (2 items), and sustainability (3 items). All ethical leadership items were scored ona 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Strongly disagree) to 7 (Strongly agree). Accountabilitywas measured using Horsfall’s (1996) 10-item measure of self-accountability and Umphress’s(2003) 12-item measure of other-accountability.The 10 items of self-accountability asked about a leader’s ability to achieve personal andorganizational success through self-empowerment and improvement. The 12 items of otheraccountability asked about a leader’s ability to provide satisfactory justifications for his/heractions and behaviors on the job to their superior(s). All accountability items were scored ona 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Strongly disagree) to 7 (Strongly agree). Moralcompetence was measured in this study using Lind’s (2016a) 26-item Moral CompetenceTest (MCT) measure of moral competence. The MCT measures a leader’s moral ability to judgetwo ethical dilemma stories: a worker’s story (13 items) and a doctor’s story (13 items). Eachstory asks participants if they agree or disagree with the worker’s or doctor’s action from eachrespective story (1 item), followed by 6 pro items and 6 contra items scored along a 9-point10Likert scale ranging from -4 (I strongly reject) to 4 (I strong accept). The MCT is scored inaccordance with each participant’s own pattern of responses on the 12 pro and contraworker’s story items and the 12 pro and contra doctor’s story items. The scoring formulagenerates a moral competence score (the C-score) in the range of 0-100, where 0 reflects lowmoral competence and 100 reflects high moral competence.Data AnalysisData analysis began with exporting the raw survey data from SurveyMonkey into MicrosoftExcel for cleaning by deleting rows with missing data. Cleaned data were analyzed usingdescriptive and inferential statistics via Minitab 18. Psychometric properties of the surveywere evaluated using structural equation modeling via Mplus 8. Inferential statistics werebased on general linear modeling (GLM) procedures (e.g., ANOVA, multiple linear regression);structural equation modeling was used for confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). For eachstatistical procedure, all available data were used. For all inferential statistics, significancewas calculated at the 90% confidence level (i.e., alpha was set at p < 0.10 level, two-tail testsof statistical significance). Study participants in this study provided data for both the IV(accountability) and the DV (ethical leadership).ResultsDemographic Characteristics of the SampleTables 1 and 2 present the demographic characteristics of the sample in terms of gender,age, education, leader role, leader experience, country, and industry. As shown in Table 1, thesample (N = 103) included more males than females (64.1% males to 33% females with 2.9%with no response). The age of the respondents was distributed to six categories: 18-29 years(8.7%), 30-39 years (22.3%), 40-49 years (33%), 50-59 years (28.2%), 60 years and up(4.9%), and 2.9% did not respond. These results showed that a large percentage ofparticipants was in the 40-59 years of age class (61.2%) compared with the 18-39 years ofage class (31% of the participants). Similarly, 64% of the participants earned a Master’sdegree or higher. The largest distribution of the leadership role of leaders were in the middlelevel (35%) compared to the senior level (32%) and the lower level (14.6%). The experienceof the leaders was almost the most in the categories of 1-4 and 5-9 years of experience. Asshown in Table 2, the largest percentage of participants was from the United States (48.5%),with 23.3% from the Middle East, 22.3% from Canada, and the remainder were from Europeand Asia.Although the majority of participants came from the U.S., accountability was and still is ahuman need across all places and times both geographically and throughout history. Ingeneral, most cultures and countries share the importance of accountability as a socialsystem that is needed to create predictability, order, and control. However, the nature ofaccountability systems can vary in some countries according to the norms of political andeconomic systems of each country (e.g., Gelfand, Lim, & Raver, 2004). In the increasinglyglobal business environment, the organizational practices, including accountability, havebecome very similar and tend to follow the Western model of managerial practices. Growth ofthe West’s free market and democratic ideologies throughout the world are enhancing themanagerial norms and standards of practices which have been greatly influenced by Westerntraditions and values (Zhou, Poon, & Huang, 2012).11Finally, the sample was comprised of leaders from a variety of industries, with approximately30% working in manufacturing, followed by education (22.3%), healthcare (12.6%),government (11.7%), professional (8.7%), energy (3.9%), information (3.9%), and 6.8% didnot respond.Table 1: Characteristics of Sample by Gender, Age, Education, Leader Role, and LeaderExperienceNote: Sample frequency is expressed as % of all participants, N = 103.**p < 0.01, *p < 0.05 Chi-square test for equality of distribution.Table 2: Characteristics of Sample by Country and Industry Characteristic n % Characteristic n %Total Sample103100.0Leader RoleGenderLower15*14.6Male66**64.1Middle3635.0Female3433.0Senior3332.0No response32.9No Response1918.4AgeLeader Experience18-299**8.71 – 4 years2827.230-392322.35 – 9 years2726.240-493433.010 – 14 years1918.550-592928.215 – 19 years1312.660+54.920 years or more1615.5No Response32.9EducationHigh school degree2**1.9Associate’s degree87.8Bachelor’s degree2423.3Master’s degree3332.0Doctoral degree3332.0No Response32.9 Characteristic n %Total Sample103100.0CountryAsia2**1.9Canada2322.3Europe43.9Middle East2423.3US5048.5IndustryEducation23**22.3 12Note: Sample frequency is expressed as % of all participants, N = 103.**p < 0.01 Chi-square test for equality of distribution.Reliability and ValidityThe psychometric properties of the scales measuring ethical leadership and accountabilitywere evaluated statistically in the study sample using Cronbach’s coefficient alpha test ofinternal consistency and CFA test of construct validity. The criterion value for reliability wasset at 0.7 (Hinkin, 1998), and criterion values for construct validity were set at factor loadingssignificant at p < 0.05, chi-square/df < 2, RMSEA (90% CI) ≤ 0.08, and CFI ≥ 0.90 (Bagozzi &Yi, 1998; Bentler, 1990, 2007; Loehlin, 1998). The psychometric properties of Lind’s (2016a)26-item measure of moral competence were not evaluated statistically in the study samplebecause the measure does not conform to the assumptions of normal distributions (i.e., themoral competence C-index is derived from each participant’s total response variation). Inregard to ethical leadership, while the original 24-item scale used to measure ethicalleadership was found to be reliable (alpha = 0.846), the scale required modification afterevaluating the psychometric properties of the combined seven factors comprising ethicalleadership such that two items were dropped to optimize reliability and validity: one item wasdropped from the factor people orientation and one item was dropped from the factor powersharing. The modified 22-item ethical leadership scale had good reliability (alpha = 0.858),and five of the seven factors also had good reliability with alphas > 0.80 (ethical guidance,integrity, power sharing, role clarification, and sustainability).Although reliability of the fairness and people orientation factors were found to be lower thanthe criterion alpha value, analysis of the psychometric properties found it was necessary toinclude them in the full measure of ethical leadership to optimize construct validity. Resultsof CFA found all factor loadings were significant, chi-square/df was < 2, the lower end of theRMSEA confidence interval was < 0.08, and CFI was > 0.90. These results support the use ofthe 22-item ethical leadership scale along with its seven factors in the study hypothesis tests.In regard to accountability, the two scales measuring accountability required modification tooptimize reliability and validity: two items were dropped from the factor self-accountability andfour items were dropped from the factor other-accountability. The modified 16-itemaccountability scale and its two factors had good reliability (alphas > 0.7) and good constructvalidity (all factor loadings were significant, chi-square/df was < 2, and the lower end of theRMSEA confidence interval was < 0.08). These results support the use of the 16-itemaccountability scale along with its two factors (8-item self-accountability, and 8-item otheraccountability) in the study hypothesis tests.Inferential StatisticsHypothesis one (H1) tested accountability and its two constitutive factors (self-accountabilityand other-accountability) as significant positive predictors of ethical leadership. H1 was tested Energy43.9Government1211.7Health1312.6Information43.9Manufacturing3130.1Professional98.7No Response76.8 13by regressing ethical leadership and its seven factors on accountability and its two factors.First, accountability was tested as a predictor of ethical leadership and its seven factors (seeTable 3). Next, the two factors of accountability were tested as predictors of ethical leadershipand its seven factors (see Table 4). As shown in Table 3, accountability was found to be asignificant positive predictor of ethical leadership at the 90% level of significance (Z = 1.66, p< 0.10).The unstandardized regression coefficient suggests a one-unit change in accountability isestimated to predict an increase in ethical leadership of 0.155. Accountability was also foundto be a significant positive predictor at the 99% level of significance of the ethical leadershipfactor ethical guidance (Z = 2.71, p < 0.01), and at the 95% level of significance of the ethicalleadership factor power sharing (Z = 2.47, p < 0.05). The unstandardized regressioncoefficients suggest a one-unit change in accountability is estimated to predict an increase inethical guidance of 0.455 and an increase in power sharing of 0.410. The R-square foraccountability as a predictor of ethical leadership, ethical guidance and power sharing is


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *