The effect of core ethical values on ethical leadership, organisational justice, ethical climate and leader effectiveness

Wolmarans, Janneke (2014-04)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study arose from a high need to determine the factors contributing to leader effectiveness in South African organisations by identifying the determinants thereof. The purpose of the study furthermore was to identify the determinants of unethical and counterproductive behaviours in the workplace. There is a belief that leaders should set aside ethical standards to succeed in the rough-and-tumble world of business. In contrast, evidence has revealed that ethical leaders can frequently be seen as more effective in organisations. Since the purpose of this study was to examine factors contributing to perceived leader effectiveness within South African organisations, the relationship between perceived effective leadership, ethical climate, organisational justice, ethical leadership and core ethical values was investigated. The aim was to provide further theoretical and empirical evidence that effective ethical leadership can be realised through instilling an ethical organisational climate in which integrity, altruism and fairness are exhibited and encouraged. A theoretical model was developed to explain the structural relationships between the latent variables and effective leadership within organisations. Substantive hypotheses were formulated in order to determine the validity of the propositions made in the literature review, with the objective of testing the proposed ethical climate structural model. The sample was selected from of employees of a large retail company mainly situated in the Western Cape but with branches all over South Africa and in the rest of Africa. The selection consisted of 224 first-line and middle management employees. Each of the respondents completed the Leader Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ), the Ethical Climate Scale (ECS), the Justice Scale, the Leadership of Ethics Scale (LES), the Revised Behavioural Integrity Scale (BIS-R) and Langley’s Value Scale. The hypotheses and the structural model were empirically tested using various statistical methods. Reliability analysis was completed on all the measurement scales and satisfactory reliability was found. The content and structure of the measured constructs were examined by means of confirmatory factor analysis and the results indicated that good fit was achieved for all the refined measurement models. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was subsequently used to determine the extent to which the conceptual model fitted the data obtained from the sample and to test the relationships between the constructs. The results revealed that integrity and altruism have a direct and positive influence on ethical leadership. Support furthermore was found for the influence of ethical climate on leader effectiveness. The results however indicated that support could not be found for the relationship between organisational justice and leader effectiveness. Conversely, it was found that ethical leadership has a direct and positive influence on leader effectiveness. In addition, organisational justice also exhibited a positive influence on ethical climate. On the other hand, ethical leadership did not have a positive influence on ethical climate. Finally, support was found for the influence of ethical leadership on organisational justice. Final conclusions were drawn from the results obtained and recommendations for future research are made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het ontstaan uit ‘n dringende behoefte om die faktore wat bydra tot leier-doeltreffendheid in Suid-Afrikaanse organisasies te bepaal, deur die determinante daarvan te identifiseer. Verder was die doel van die studie om die determinante van onetiese en teenproduktiewe gedrag in die werkplek te identifiseer. Daar is ʼn bewering dat leiers hul etiese standaarde eenkant toe moet skuif om in die hedendaagse besigheidswêreld suksesvol te wees. In teendeel is dit egter bewys dat etiese leiers in organisasies dikwels as meer effektief beskou kan word. Met die doel van hierdie studie om die faktore te bestudeer wat bydra tot waargenome leier doeltreffendheid in Suid-Afrikaanse organisasies, is die verwantskap tussen waargenome leier doeltreffendheid, etiese klimaat, organisatoriese geregtigheid, etiese leierskap en kern etiese waardes in hierdie studie ondersoek. Die studie het gepoog om addisionele teoretiese en empiriese bewyse te lewer dat etiese leiers die persepsie van doeltreffende leierskap indirek kan beïnvloed deur die skep van ‘n etiese organisasieklimaat waarin integriteit, altruisme en billikheid ten toon gestel en bevorder word. ‘n Teoretiese model is ontwikkel om die strukturele verwantskappe tussen die latente veranderlikes en doeltreffende leierskap in organisasies te verklaar. Substantiewe hypotheses is geformuleer om sodoende die geldigheid van die voorspellings uit die literatuurstudie te bepaal. Die doel hiervan was om die voorgestelde etiese klimaat strukturele model te toets. Die steekproef het bestaan uit werknemers van ‘n groot kleinhandel maatskappy wat hoofsaaklik in die Wes-Kaap geleë is, maar takke regoor Suid-Afrika en in die res van Afrika het. Die steekproef is saamgestel uit 224 eerste-vlak en middel-bestuur werknemers. Elke respondent het die Leader Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ), die Ethical Climate Scale (ECS), die Organisational Justice Scale, die Leader of Ethics Scale (LES), die Revised Behavioural Integrity Survey (BIS-R) en die Altruism Scale ingevul. Die hipoteses en die strukturele model is empiries getoets met behulp van verskeie statistiese metodes. Betroubaarheidanalise is op al die metingskale uitgevoer en bevredigende betroubaarheid is gevind. Die inhoud en struktuur van die gemete konstrukte is deur middel van bevestigende faktor-ontledings ondersoek en die resultate het aangedui dat integriteit en altruisme ‘n direkte en positiewe invloed op etiese leierskap het. Ondersteuning is ook gevind vir die invloed van etiese klimaat op leier doeltreffendheid. Die resultate het egter aangedui dat ondersteuning nie vir die verband tussen organisatoriese geregtigheid en leier doeltreffendheid nie gevind kon word. Daarteenoor is daar gevind dat etiese leierskap ‘n direkte en positiewe invloed op leier doeltreffendheid het. Boonop het organisatoriese geregtigheid ook ‘n positiewe invloed op etiese klimaat getoon. Daarteenoor het etiese leierskap nie ‘n positiewe invloed op etiese klimaat gehad nie. Laastens is ondersteuning gevind vir die invloed wat etiese leierskap op organisatoriese geregtigheid het. Finale gevolgtrekkings is afgelei van die resultate wat verkry is en aanbevelings is vir toekomstige navorsing gemaak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86357
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