Elon research highlighted in special issue on leadership integrity

Two separate papers by Elon faculty were recently published in a special issue of Leadership Quarterly (volume 24, issue 3), one of the premier academic journals for leadership research. The issue’s theme was leadership integrity.


Chris Leupold, associate professor of psychology and faculty leadership fellow, and his collaborators examined the moderating effect of hierarchical leadership level on the relationship between leader integrity and leader performance. The general finding was that integrity was found to be very important for determining executives’ performance; however, integrity was less predictive of middle-level managers’ performance. Bill Gentry of the Center for Creative Leadership and Elon’s 2012-2013 Isabella Cannon Leadership Visiting Scholar co-authored this paper, titled “Integrity’s Place Among the Character Strengths of Middle-level Managers and Top-level Executives.”

Rob Moorman, professor of management and Elon’s Holt Professor of Leadership, and his colleagues authored a paper titled, “Perceived Leader Integrity: Supporting the Construct Validity and Utility of a Multi-dimensional Measure in Two Samples.” The aim of this research was to demonstrate how leaders’ behavior consistency and perceived morality are relevant and distinct aspects of integrity; and how this conceptualization of leader integrity was predictive of positive outcomes such as job satisfaction and performance.

The Leadership Quarterly: An International Journal of Political, Social and Behavioral Science, is a multi-disciplined journal that examines leadership from across a variety disciplines. It is published in affiliation with the International Leadership Association and has a 5-year impact factor of 4.295. Follow the link to Link to Leadership Quarterly’s special edition on leader integrity: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/10489843/24/3


Abstract for “Integrity’s Place Among the Character Strengths of Middle-level Managers and Top-level Executives”

One purpose of this study was to extend integrity research in organizations into the ranks of middle management. We therefore examined whether middle-level managers’ behavioral manifestations of integrity related to ratings of their performance. Results of hierarchical regression analysis indicated that direct report ratings of a middle-level manager’s integrity were positively related to boss ratings of that manager’s performance. A second purpose of this study was to understand differences in integrity’s relative importance to performance among other character strengths, and as a function of context (e.g., managerial level). We extend research in this area by showing, through relative weight analysis, that integrity was relatively less important to middle-level managers’ current performance compared to other character strengths (e.g., social intelligence). In contrast, integrity was relatively more important for the performance of top-level executives — roles middle-level managers may hold in the future. Implications of these results for future research and practice as well as the current study’s limitations are discussed.

Abstract for “Perceived Leader Integrity: Supporting the Construct Validity and Utility of a Multi-dimensional Measure in Two Samples”

The empirical study of perceived leader integrity has lagged its intuitively appealing role as a fundamental characteristic of effective leaders. Following theoretical examinations of the definition of integrity and previous work arguing that perceived integrity emerges from judgments of leader consistency and leader morality, we developed a multidimensional measure that includes both perceived morality and consistency items. In a first sample of university students, confirmatory factor analyses and results from regression analyses relating the dimensions to direct measures of leader integrity and trust offer partial support for the utility of including dimensions of moral behavior and consistency (represented by behavioral integrity). Further, we replicated these findings in a second sample of working professionals and found support for our hypotheses showing that dimensions assessing behavioral integrity and moral behavior related to leader effectiveness, job satisfaction, work engagement, and intent to quit as mediated by trust in the leader.