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Changes in perceptions of ethical leadership: Effects on associative and dissociative outcomes.
Journal of Applied Psychology  (IF7.429),  Pub Date : 2021-01-01, DOI: 10.1037/apl0000496
Thomas W. H. Ng, Mo Wang, Dennis Y. Hsu, Chang Su

From employees' point of view, changes in ethical leadership perceptions can signal important changes in the nature of the employment relationship. Guided by social exchange theory, this study proposes that changes in ethical leadership perceptions shape how employees appraise their exchange relationship with the organization and affect their pride in or contempt for the organization. Changes in these associative/dissociative emotions, in turn, precipitate changes in behaviors that serve or hurt the organization, notably voice and turnover. Experimental data collected from 900 subjects (Study 1) and field data collected from 470 employees across 4 waves over 14 months (Study 2) converged to show that changes in ethical leadership perceptions were related to same-direction changes in employees' pride in the organization and to opposite-direction changes in their contempt for the organization above and beyond the effect of the present ethical leadership level. Changes in pride were in turn related to same-direction changes in functional voice, whereas changes in contempt were related to same-direction changes in dysfunctional voice. The field study also provided evidence that when pride increased (decreased), employees were less (more) likely to leave the organization 6 months after. These results suggest that changes in ethical leadership perceptions are meaningful on their own, that they may alter employees' organization-targeted behaviors, and that changes in associative/dissociative emotions are the mediating mechanism. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).