Follower perception and reporting of unethical leadership: An exploratory study utilizing mixed methodology

by Tharpe, Jenifer D., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 109 pages; 3250059


Recent research on leadership suggests that instead of being a solo act, leadership is an interactive process. In situations where the leaders become unethical, the literature has proposed that the follower needs to take action to stop these events from happening. In order to determine whether it is reasonable for the followers to stand up and try to stop unethical leadership, the research needs to look at what is happening to the people who have the courage and take the responsibility to take a stand. This mixed-methodology study found that over half of full-time employees perceive unethical leadership in their organizations. This unethical leadership was reported to either the leader or another authority figure about 60% of the time. The participants who reported the unethical leadership to someone other than the problematic leader experienced detrimental consequences as a result. The following pattern emerged in the data: participants were left experiencing an emotional struggle; participants experienced a loss of confidence in self and others; participants felt that leaders were unable to effectively deal with unethical behavior; participants were less likely to report unethical behavior in the future; and organizations are likely to experience a loss of personnel related to the unethical behavior.

AdviserWilliam Reed
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3250059

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