Ethical Leadership and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour: the Mediating Role of Ethical Climate, Trust, and Justice

Tayyaba Ahmed Fatima, Dr. Danish Ahmed Siddiqui


This study analysed and showed that how the Top Managements’ Ethical Leadership Influences Organization Citizenship Behaviour (OCB). We proposed that Ethical leadership affects OCB by promoting ethical climate and trust in an Organization. Thus, such factors gives a rise to Procedural Justice Climate and Distributive Justice, which resulted in OCB. This theoretical framework was empirically tested by gathering data of 210 employees who are working in different sectors in Pakistan by means of close ended Likert scale type questionnaires. Numerous statistical techniques for instance descriptive statistics, (CFA) confirmatory factor analysis and (SEM) structural equation modelling were used to analyse the results. As proposed in our theory, the results indicates a positive impact of Top Management Ethical Leadership on Ethical Climate and Trust in an Organization. Moreover, the result also indicates a significant positive impact of trust on both Procedural Justice Climate & Distributive Justice. Furthermore, both of these completely intercedes the consequences of top management ethical leadership on organizational citizenship behaviour. From a different viewpoint, the impact of ethical climate on Procedural Justice Climate is significantly positive, however; the relationship between ethical climate and Distributive Justice was found to be insignificant. Hence, this investigation provides a credible theoretical description as well as observed support of a contrivance through which ethical leadership of top management boosts Organizational Citizenship Behaviour. Therefore, managers in organization can rise Firm level OCB by enhancing the overall environment of the corporation and participatory factors in an ethical manner.

Full Text:



Bal, P. M., De Lange, A. H., Ybema, J. F., Jansen, P. G., & Van Der Velde, M. E. (2011). Age and trust as moderators in the relation between procedural justice and turnover: A large-scale longitudinal study. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 66-86.

Blau, P. M. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley.

Brown, M. E., & Mitchell, M. S. (2010). Ethical and unethical leadership: Exploring new avenues for future research. Business Ethics Quarterly, 583-616.

Brown, M. E., & Treviño, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 595-616.

Brown, M. E., Treviño, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117-134.

Carlson, D. S., & Perrewe, P. L. (1995). Institutionalization of organizational ethics through transformational leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 829-838.

Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and Validity Assessment, 17. California: Sage.

Chin, W. W. (1998). The Partial Least Square Approach to Structural Equation Modelling, 295-336.

Choi, J. N., & Chang, J. Y. (2009). Innovation Implementation in the Public Sector: An Integration of Institutional and Collective Dynamics. Journal of Applied Psychology, 245-253.

Cook, J., & Wall, T. (1980). New work attitude measure of trust, organizational commitment and personal need non-fulfillment. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 39-52.

Cropanzano, R., Goldman, B., & Folger, R. (2003). Deontic justice: The role of moral principles in workplace fairness. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 1019-1024.

Dickson, M. W., Smith, B., Grojean, M. W., & Ehrhart, M. G. (2001). An Organizational Climate Regarding Ethics: The Outcome of Leader Values and the Practices That Reflect Them. The Leadership Quarterly, 197-217.

Ehrhart, M. G. (2004). Leadership and procedural justice climate as antecedents of unit-level organizational citizenship behavior. Personnel Psychology, 61-94.

Eisenberger, R., Karagonlar, G. K., Stinglhamber, F., Neves, P., Becker, T. E., & Gonzales-Morales, M. G. (2010). Leader-member exchange and affective organizational commitment:The contribution of supervisor’s organizational embodiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1085-1103.

Ferrin, D. L., & Dirks, K. T. (2002). Trust in Leadership: Meta-Analytic Findings and Implications for Research and Practice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 611-628.

Freeman, R. E., Gilbert, D. J., & Hartman, E. (1988). Values and the foundations of strategic management. Journal of business ethics, 821-835.

Gong, Y., Chang, S., & Cheung, S. Y. (2010). High performance work system and collective OCB: A collective social exchange perspective. Human Resource Management Journal, 119-137.

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2010). Multivariate Data Analysis, 7th Edition. Pearson.

Hair, J. F., Matthews, L. M., Matthews, R. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2017). PLS-SEM or CB-SEM: updated guidelines on which method to use. Int. J. Multivariate Data Analysis, 107-123. Retrieved from

Hoy, W. K., Hoy, W. K., & Tarter, C. J. (2004). Organizational justice in schools:No justice without trust. International Journal of Educational Management, 250-259.

Kalshoven, K., Den Hartog, D. N., & De Hoogh, A. H. (2012). Ethical leadership and followers’ helping and initiative: The role of demonstrated responsibility and job autonomy. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 1-30.

Kaptein, M. (2019). The Moral Entrepreneur: A New Component of Ethical Leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 1135-1150.

Lin, X., Che, H., & Leung, K. (2009). The role of leader morality in the interaction effect of procedural justice and outcome favorability. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1536-1561.

Lind, E. A. (2001). Fairness heuristic theory: Justice judgments as. In J. Greenberg, & R. Cropanzano, Advances in organizational justice, 56-88. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Lind, E. A., Tyler, T. R., & Huo, Y. J. (1997). Procedural context and culture: Variation in the antecedents of procedural justice judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 767-780.

Loi, R., Lam, L. W., & Chan, K. W. (2012). Coping with Job Insecurity: The Role of Procedural Justice, Ethical Leadership and Power Distance Orientation. Journal of Business Ethics, 361-372.

Luria, G., & Yagil, D. (2008). Procedural justice, ethical climate and service outcomes in restaurants. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 276-283.

Mayer, D. M., Kuenzi, M., Greenbaum, R., Bardes, M., & Salvador, R. B. (2009). How low does ethical leadership flow? Test of a tickle-down model. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 1-13.

Michael, E., & Brown, L. K. ( 2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117-134.

Moorman, R. H. (1991). Relationship Between Organizational Justice and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: Do Fairness Perceptions Influence Employee Citizenship? Journal of Applied Psychology, 845-855.

Mulki, J. P., Jaramillo, J. F., & Locander, W. B. (2009). Critical Role of Leadership on Ethical Climate and Salesperson Behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 125-141.

Naumann, S. E., & Bennett, N. (2000). A case for procedural justice climate: Development and test of a multilevel model. Academy of Management Journal, 881-889.

Neubert, M. J. (2009). The virtuous influence of ethical leadership behavior: Evidence from the field. Journal of Business Ethics, 157-170.

Pagliaro, S., Presti, A. L., Barattucci, M., Giannella, V. A., & Barreto, M. (2018). On the Effects of Ethical Climate(s) on Employees’ Behavior: A Social Identity Approach. Frontiers in Psychology, 1-10.

Pastoriza, D., Arin˜o, M. A., & Ricart, J. E. (2007). Ethical managerial behavior as an antecedent of organizational social capital. Journal of Business Ethics, 329-341.

Pillai, R., Schriesheim, C. A., & Williams, E. S. (1999). Fairness perceptions and trust as mediators for transformational and transactional leadership: A two-sample study. Journal of Management, 897-933.

Posner, B. Z., & Schmidt, W. H. (1992). Values and the American Manager: An Update Updated. California Management Review, 80-94.

Premeaux, S. (2009). The Link Between Management Behavior and Ethical Philosophy in the Wake of the Enron Convictions. Journal of Business Ethics, 13-25.

Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Robinson, S. L. (1996). Trust and Breach of the Psychological Contract. Administrative Science Quarterly, 574-599.

Robinson, S. L., & Rousseau, D. M. (1994). Violating the psychological contract: Not the exception but the norm. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 245-259.

Schminke, M., Ambrose, M., & Neubaum, D. O. (2005). The Effect of Leader Moral Development on Ethical Climate and Employee Attitudes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 135-151.

Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Sert, A., Elçi, M., Uslu, T., & Şener, İ. (2014). The Effects of Organizational Justice and Ethical Climate on Perceived Work Related Stress. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1187-1198.

Shin, & Yuhyung. (2012). CEO Ethical Leadership, Ethical Climate, Climate Strength, and Collective Organizational Citizenship. Journal of Business Ethics, 299-312.

Shin, Y., Sung, S. Y., Choi, J. N., & Kim, M. S. (2014). Top Management Ethical Leadership and Firm Performance: Mediating Role of Ethical and Procedural Justice Climate. Journal of Business Ethics, 43-57.

Singh, U., & Srivastava, K. B. (2016). Organizational Trust and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour. Global Business Review, 595-609.

Song, J. H., Kang, I. G., Shin, Y. H., & Kim, H. K. (2012). The Impact of an Organization’s Procedural Justice and Transformational Leadership on Employees’ Citizenship Behaviors in the Korean Business Context. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 424-436.

Tang, T. L. P., & Sarsfield-Baldwin, L. J. (1996). Distributive and Procedural Justice as Related to Satisfaction and Commitment. Houston, TX: Southwestern Psychological Association.

Trevin˜o, L. K., & Weaver, G. R. (2001). Organizational justice and ethics program ‘‘follow-through’’: Influences on employees’ harmful and helpful behavior. Business Ethics Quarterly, 651-671.

Treviño, L. K., Brown, M., & Hartman, L. P. (2003). A qualitative investigation of perceived executive ethical leadership: Perceptions from inside and outside the executive suite. Human Relations, 5-37.

Treviño, L. K., Butterfield, K. D., & McCabe, D. L. (1998). The ethical context in organizations: Influences on employee attitudes and behaviour. Business Ethics Quarterly, 447-476.

Tyler, T. R. (1994). Psychological models of the justice motive: Antecedents of distributive and procedural justice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 850-863.

Tyler, T. R., & Blader, S. L. (2003). The group engagement model: Procedural justice, social identity, and cooperative behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 349-361.

Vuuren, H. V., Dhurup, M., & Joubert, P. (2016). Justice In The Workplace: The Influence Of Procedural, Distributive And Interactional Justice On Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Among Employees In The Police Service. International Journal Of Economics And Finance Studies, 177-191.

Walumbwa, F. O., & Schaubroeck, J. (2009). Leader Personality Traits and Employee Voice Behavior: Mediating Roles of Ethical Leadership and Work Group Psychological Safety. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1275-1286.

Walumbwa, F. O., Hartnell, C. A., & Oke, A. (2010). Servant Leadership, Procedural Justice Climate, Service Climate,Employee Attitudes, and Organizational Citizenship Behavior:A Cross-Level Investigation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 517-529.

Whitener, E. M., Brodt, S. E., Korsgaard, M. A., & Werner, J. M. (1998). Managers as initiators of trust: An exchange relationship framework for understanding managerial trustworthy behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 513-530.

Wong, Y. T., Wong, C. S., & Ngo, H. Y. (2012). The effects of trust in organisation and perceived organisational support on organisational citizenship behaviour: a test of three competing models. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 278-293.

Xu, A. J., Loi, R., & Ngo, H. Y. (2014). Ethical Leadership Behavior and Employee Justice Perceptions: The Mediating Role of Trust in Organization. Journal of Business Ethics, 493-504.

Yener, M., Yaldiran, M., & Ergun, S. (2012). The Effect Of Ethical Climate On Work Engagement. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 724-733.

Zikmund, W. G., Babin, B. J., Carr, J. C., & Griffin, M. (2012, 12 03). Cengage learning US. Retrieved from


Copyright (c) 2019 Tayyaba Ahmed Fatima, Dr. Danish Ahmed Siddiqui

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


Copyright © Macrothink Institute  

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.