Leaders’ actions often speak louder than words, and when a pattern of incongruity between leaders’ espoused values and their actions is perceived by subordinates, the individual and organizational consequences can be significant. Behavioral integrity (BI), defined as a perceived pattern of alignment (or misalignment) between a target’s words and deeds (Simons, 2002: 19), has recently emerged as an interesting organizational construct, predicting a number of important outcomes. BI represents a potentially critical antecedent to trust formation, and may be an important cognitive mechanism in other related areas of interest (i.e., cynicism, deviant behavior, accountability, and political skill). This dissertation conceptually discusses potential antecedents to BI perceptions (i.e., managers’ political skill and felt accountability intensity), and empirically examines the causal paths relating subordinates’ BI perceptions to their trust in their managers, cynicism toward the organization, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, task performance, and deviant behavior. In addition, it proposed that organizational cynicism mediated the relationship between trust and attitudinal, but not behavioral, outcomes. The structural equation model confirmed BI’s role as a significant antecedent of trust, which, in turn, was related to cynicism, commitment, and deviant behavior. In addition, cynicism demonstrated the hypothesized distinction between attitudinal and behavioral outcomes by mediating only the role between trust and both job satisfaction and commitment, but not between trust and deviant behavior or performance.
This study answered a number of calls from different research streams, empirically tested BI relationships heretofore only conceptually proposed, and expanded the boundaries of BI literature to include cynicism and objectively-measured deviant behavior. Additionally, it provided further evidence for the unique role of organizational cynicism in trust-based outcomes. Finally, this study examined a number of exploratory constructs (i.e., effort, tension, political skill, and LMX) in an effort to initiate future BI-related research.