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The Impact of Leader Integrity on Subordinate Behaviour

Researcher Nicholas Lim

Supervisors Dr Graeme Ditchburn

Date: Completed 2012

Ethics Approval Number: 2011/067

Ethics in business and leadership has become an increasingly hot topic in global and local news. Research has observed that ethical leadership plays a significant role in the relationship between leaders and employee behaviours. This study examined the impact of Perceived Leader Integrity (PLI) on employee commitment (affective, continuance and normative) and performance (in-role, voice extra-role and helping extra-role). The sample contained 124 participants that were collected using on-line networks; University Alumni, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Key findings indicate that affective commitment plays a mediating role in the interaction between PLI and helping extra-role performance. Specifically, the evidence from this research has outlined the significant negative impact that the lack of integrity in leadership (negative presence) can have on employee extra-role performance and commitment. Moreover, employee’s affective commitment may act as a buffer when leaders who display a lack of integrity discourage helping extra-role performance behaviours.

Integrity and ethics are important elements of organisational culture and continued research in this area will aid the legitimisation and recognition of this. Future research could examine the differences between the presence of integrity, the presence of a lack of integrity and ambivalent/distant leaders. This research can contribute to selection processes, training and development initiatives, coaching material, performance management systems and strategic planning.