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Identifier 000426544
Title Αναζητώντας την εννοιολογική και ψυχομετρική υπόσταση του ηθικού ηγέτη στην εργασία : κατασκευή της ΚΛίμακας ΗΘΙκής ηγεσίαΣ (ΚΛΗΘΙΣ)
Alternative Title Development of the theoretical and psychometrical framework for ethical leadership : construction of the Questionnaire of Ethical Leadership (QueL)
Author Μητροπούλου, Ειρήνη-Μαρίνα
Thesis advisor Τσαούσης Ιωάννης
Reviewer Ξανθοπούλου Δέσποινα
Πετρίδης Κωνσταντίνος
Abstract This doctoral dissertation aimed at delineating the concept of ethical leadership at work by addressing two specific objectives. The first objective was to propose and test an overacrhing conceptual framework for ethical leadership at work. Based on the first objective, the second objective was to develop a reliable and valid psychometric tool, capable for evaluating ethical leadership at work. The increasing frequency of unethical events in organizations and their subsequent detrimental economic, organizational and psychological impact, has increased research interest in understanding ethical behaviors in the workplace. This interest focused mainly on those who exert authority / leadership in organizations. Leaders impact greatly on the organization’s functioning and employees’ efficiency. In this context, existing leadership models, such as transformational, transactional, charismatic, authentic and spiritual / transcendental leadership, tried to incorporate ethical aspects. However, this approach has been considered incomplete, since work scandals and unethical practices continue to appear in organizations. This research interest towards ethical practices has consequently generated new leadership frameworks, one of which is the ethical leadership framework. Several definitions of ethical leadership have emerged. These definitions largely disagree on what is ethical leadership. For example, certains frameworks defined ethical leadership as a unidimensional concept, while others proposed several different dimensions. Even when different approaches share the same number of dimensions, these dimensions present significant differences regarding their theoretical content. This lack of concensus regarding the dimensionality of ethical leadership, prevented the advancement of the construct and its nomological network, while it also hindered the development of a sound psychometric tool for assessing ethical leadership at work. All the psychometric tools that have been developed for the assessment of ethical leadership vary regarding the number and type of factors included in their framework. Furthermore, the debate of whether followers or leaders provide more accurate evaluations of ethical leadership, has also obstructed the psychometric advancement of the concept. Existing ethical leadership tools are observer-rated, since employee data were considered to be more objective and less biased. However, research on rating methods revealed that both self (i.e., leader) and observer (i.e., follower) ratings are subject to bias. Yet, observer-ratings appear may be inadequate in fully capturing the concept of leadership, because important leadership practices, such as meetings with stakeholders, networking and organizing are not fully conceived by followers. Thus, the need for developing more integrated rating methods that allow for both self- and observer-evaluations seems imperative. In pursuit of the first objective, namely the definition of the concept of ethical leadership, two empirical studies were conducted. During the first empirical study (Chapter 4), an extensive literature review was performed to identify all the dimensions that are included in the different definitions of ethical leadership at work that were proposed in the litereature. In total, 27 different dimensions of ethical leadership at work have emerged. Those dimensions namely are: ‘honesty’, ‘sincerity’, ‘integrity’, ‘reward of ethical behavior’, ‘altruism’, ‘ethical strategy’, ‘clarification of ethical role’, ‘ethical behaviors role-model’, ‘humility’, ‘application of ‘green policies’, ‘ethical self-control’, ‘ethical vision’, ‘ethical responsibility’, ‘ethical vigilance’, ‘ethical possibility’, ‘development of ethical vision’, ‘power distribution’, ‘ethical culture’, ‘ethical encouragement’, ‘forwarding ethical training’, ‘ethical determination’, ‘collaboration’, ‘ethical evaluation’, ‘ethical influence of stakeholders’, ‘trust’, ‘ethical insight’ and ‘ethical guidance’. These 27 dimensions of ethical leadership were further assessed for their content validity by both leaders and followers (Chapter 4). The assessment of the content validity analysis for the 27 dimensions confirmed that all 27 dimensions have unique qualities and are important for the definition of the concept by both leaders and followers. In the second empirical study (Chapter 5), the identification of a conceptual structure among those 27 distinct dimensions was inverstigated. The identification of the conceptual structure and more specifically of the first-order factors, enables a clearer comprehension of the concept and facilitates the construction of the new psychometric tool. First, exploratory factor analysis was conducted to explore the underlying factors of the construct. In total, 258 leaders from several Greek organizations participated to the study. The results of the analysis suggested that the ethical leadership framework was better identified by a) a general ‘ethical leadership’ factor and b) two sub-factors named ‘telos’ and ‘ethos’. ‘Telos’ refers to the teleological philosophical approach, according to which everything has a moral purpose, since the dimensions that loaded on this factor present moral behaviors. ‘Ethos’ refers to the qualities of a person's character that are in harmony with the ethical principles he/she manifestes in life, since the dimensions that loaded significantly on this factor focus on the moral characteristics of the personality of the leader. The second objective of thιs doctoral dissertation focused on the development of a reliable and valid psychometric tool for assessing the proposed ethical leadership framework. The new, self-rated psychometric tool is the Questionnaire of ethical Leadership (QueL) consists 27 items; each item includes a brief functional definition regarding the basic characteristics of the 27 distinct dimensions of ethical leadership. In the third empirical study (Chapter 6), confirmatory factor analysis was employed to cross-validate the factor structure of the new factorial framework. In total 390 leaders from various Greek organizations participated to the study. Results from the analysis indicated that the bifactor model of ethical leadership showed significantly better fit in comparison to the one-factor, two-factor and the hierarchical model. To further validate the factorial structure of the QueL, the measurement invariance of the scale across informants (leaders vs. followers) was examined (Chapter 7). Measurement invariance is a statistical technique that has never been used before for the cross-validation of the bifactor ethical leadership structure model among different work groups (i.e. leaders and followers). Before running the analysis, an alternative observer-rated format of the QueL was created and administered to approximately 650 employees, while the self-rated format of QueL was administered to approximately 650 leaders. Results from the analysis indicated small decrements across all compared models, suggesting that the QueL bifactor model exhibits invariance across leader and follower. In pursue of the second objective, evidence was provided to support the validity and reliability of the QueL, following a systematic process using multiple independent samples of leaders and followers in the fifth study (Chapter 8). More extensively, using data from 314 followers, QueL was significantly related, yet distinct, to ethical leadership, behavioural integrity and interpersonal trust at work, confirming its concurrent validity. It was also demonstrated that QueL exhibits convergent validity; positive correlations were found with transformational and transactional leadership, ethical climate, organizational citizenship behaviour and followers’ commitment; negative correlations were found with laissez-faire leadership, interpersonal and organizational deviant behaviors and abusive supervision. Moreover, it was found that QueL exhibits discriminant validity against other ethical scales (e.g., ELS). Our results further supported the incremental validity of the QueL over and above transformational leadership in explaining behavioral integrity, interpersonal trust at work and abusive supervision, and confirming that ethical leadership is conceptually related yet distinct to those attitudes and behaviors as predicted. Moreover, the QueL showed non-significant correlations with leaders’ gender, education level, and work personality, highlighting that leaders may be considered ethical regardless of these factors. These results validate the sound psychometric principles of the QueL. In conclusion, the complexity of the concept of ethical leadership has been reflected in the nomonological framework of the bifactor model, which consists of a general factor named ‘ethical leadership’ and two sub-factors named ‘telos’ and ‘ethos’. This conceptual model ‘bridges’ the gap among the existing theoretical frameworks and while the new scale exhibits robust psychometric characteristics that can be used for developing the construct’s nomonological network, and for a range of practical applications, personnel selection, training, and career development.
Language Greek
Issue date 2019
Collection   School/Department--School of Social Sciences--Department of Psychology--Doctoral theses
  Type of Work--Doctoral theses
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