In this study we examined the relationship between ethical leader behavior and organizational trust, satisfaction with organizational outcomes, and perceived organizational effectiveness. A survey of working adults revealed that perceptions of ethical leadership are positively related to collective trust levels. Those who believed that their leaders acted as moral persons and moral managers rated their organizations as more competent, open, concerned for employees, and reliable while identifying more strongly with their employers. They also reported higher satisfaction with organizational outcomes and considered their organizations to be more effective. Direct supervisors were perceived as more ethical than CEOs. These findings provide further evidence that ethical leaders also function as effective leaders. Implications for the study and practice of leadership are identified.
Previously published in International Leadership Journal, Winter 2012, pp. 3-19