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Business Review - Balancing Ethics

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Matt Quade, Assistant Professor of Management, explinas that ethical leadership compounded by supervisor-induced stress can lead to employee deviance and turnover.

On its face or alone, ethical leadership, we would not say would have detrimental impact on things like deviance of employees or whether or not they'd want to leave. However, when paired with stress, specifically stress that's coming from that same leader, then it can kind of have a mitigating effect on those outcomes.

QUADE'S RESEARCH SHOWED THAT EMPLOYEE'S WHO RECEIVED CONFLICTING INFORMATION FROM A SUPERVISOR, WHO HAD TO GO THROUGH A LOT OF RED TAPE TO PERFORM THEIR JOB, OR OTHER ETHICAL QUANDRIES DON'T FEEL SUPPORTED AND ARE MORE LIKELY TO 

LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR ENAGE IN WORKPLACE DEVIANCES.

Specifically, the ways that those ethical leaders might be seen as sources of stress would be things like causing employees to take a long time to get their work done or making expectations unclear because they're having employees consider lots of different considerations. It also includes whether or not employees are receiving conflicting requests from leaders.

QUADE SAYS RESEARCH SHOWS ETHICAL LEADERSHIP IS VERY BENEFICIAL, BUT NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT THERE ARE BOUNDARIES TO THOSE BENEFITS.

The biggest thing we would encourage ethical leaders to do is to kind of strike a balance between promoting ethical behavior but also being a source of resources for your employees. So, have lots of conversations, and clarity, and boundaries, and timelines that really give employees flexibility and understanding of how to balance all of these requests. The clearer that leaders can make it about what is right and what is wrong in their eyes and in the organization's eyes can help reduce some of that stress and make that decision making quicker and more efficient.

THE BUSINESS REVIEW IS A PRODUCTION OF LIVINGSTON AND MCKAY AND THE HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY.

C.J. Jackson drives on sunshine and thrives on family, NPR and PBS. She is the assistant dean of communications and marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and host of public radio’s “Business Review.” Previously, she was director of marketing communications for a large, multinational corporation. C.J. has two daughters—Bri in San Antonio and Devon in Chicago—and four grandchildren. She lives with a little yellow cat named for an ancient Hawaiian tripping weapon.