This research study examined Robert House's path-goal theory with the added dimension of ethics. It was a partial replication of empirical research conducted by F. P. DeCaro in 1983, Powell and Butterfield in 1984, and N. E. DeCaro in 2005. The DeCaros and Powell and Butterfield examined path-goal theory in a closed classroom environment utilizing a population of business majors enrolled in undergraduate programs. Those researchers administered the Ohio State University Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire XII (LBDQ-XII) by assigning the independent variable of task ambiguity and the dependent variables of consideration and initiating structure. In this study, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) was introduced as a contemporary business environment, the vehicle within which path goal theory was tested. Ambiguity of the task of compliance with SOX, for public companies with small capitalization, was imposed by an advocacy/participatory epistemology. The LBDQ-XII with an additional eight items of the Multidimensional Ethics Scale (MES), from the original thirty MES items by Reidenbach and Robin, was used as a survey instrument to acquire descriptions of leadership behavior. The questionnaire was administered to approximately 250 CEOs and their followers at firms with small capitalization from a business population of Standard & Poor's 600, to collect evidence in support of House's path goal theory. The descriptive research method employed tested the null hypothesis that the degree of task ambiguity has (or does not have) a significant impact on ethics, consideration, and initiating structure.
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