When Leadership Goes Unnoticed: The Moderating Role of Follower Self-Esteem on the Relationship Between Ethical Leadership and Follower Behavior

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Department or Administrative Unit


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The authors examined the effects of ethical leadership on follower organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and deviant behavior. Drawing upon research related to the behavioral plasticity hypothesis, the authors examined a moderating role of follower self- esteem in these relationships. Results from a field study revealed that ethical leadership is positively related to follower OCB and negatively related to deviance. We found that these relationships are moderated by followers’ self-esteem, such that the relationships between ethical leadership and OCB as well as between ethical leadership and deviant behavior are weaker when followers’ self-esteem is high than low. Implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.


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Journal of Business Ethics