Engagement and positive experience at work: an ethical leadership perspective
Academy of Management
School of Business and Law
Ethical leadership encompasses actions that support behaving ethically in terms of relating to others, the natural environment, and personal conduct, and it has positive influence in a variety of settings. The present paper examines the role of ethical leadership in the public service by examining how it affects bullying and how it promotes public service motivation, which is the altruistic motivation to engage in public service to the benefit of society. A theoretical model is created and tested with a sample of 500 public service workers from the United States using structural equation modeling. The results support the model. Ethical leadership positively relates to public service motivation of followers and negatively to perceptions of bullying. Together, ethical leadership, public service motivation and reduced workplace bullying positively relate to engagement and job satisfaction. The primary contribution of the paper is that it introduces ethical leadership to the public service sector and begins to disentangle the mutual positive influence of ethical leadership and public service motivation on employee work attitudes. A secondary contribution is that it reinforces the negative influence of ethical leadership on bullying perceptions in the organizations.