Ethical leadership and follower voice and performance: The role of follower identifications and entity morality beliefs

W. Zhu, H. He, L. Trevino, M. Chao, W. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Previous studies have established the relationship between ethical leadership and a variety of positive follower outcomes. Follower organizational identification has been found to mediate the relationship between ethical leadership and follower job performance. In this research, we incorporate a second distinct and theoretically important type of social identification process, relational identification with the leader, along with organizational identification, and examine their mediating effects on follower performance and voice outcomes. Further, we bring the implicit theory of morality to the behavioral ethics literature and examine follower morality beliefs as a moderator. Using a Romanian sample of 302 followers under the supervision of 27 leaders, we found that ethical leadership has an indirect effect on follower job performance and voice (through the mediating mechanisms of both organizational and relational identifications) and that these relationships are stronger for followers who held the implicit theory that a person's moral character is fixed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-718
JournalThe Leadership Quarterly
Issue number5
Early online date31 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Leadership Quarterly. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Leadership Quarterly, [VOL 26, ISSUE 5, (2015)] DOI: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2015.01.004

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Ethical leadership
  • Relational identification
  • Organizational identification
  • Voice
  • Implicit theory of morality


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