Keeping Teams Together: How Ethical Leadership Moderates the Effects of Performance on Team Efficacy and Social Integration

Sean R. Martin, Kyle J. Emich, Elizabeth J. McClean, Col Todd Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research has demonstrated a strong relationship between team performance and team members’ team efficacy beliefs and perceptions of social integration. Performing well increases the feelings of collective ability that comprise team efficacy and the feelings of psychological connectedness that make up social integration, while performing poorly erodes them. In this article, we draw from the social cognitive base of ethical leadership theory to argue that ethical leadership moderates the relationship between team performance and team efficacy beliefs, and between team performance and social integration, such that these important team attitudes are buffered against the negative effects of poor performance when leaders act ethically. Alternatively, when leaders act less ethically, team efficacy and social integration break down following poor performance. We test our hypotheses in a field study of U.S. military teams actively engaged in competition. The data support our arguments. We find that ethical leadership weakens the relationships among team performance and team efficacy and social integration, respectively, such that ethical leaders preserve team efficacy and social integration when their teams do not perform well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Ethical leadership
  • Social integration
  • Team efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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