Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 51–60 | Cite as

Relationships Among Employee Perception of Their Manager’s Behavioral Integrity, Moral Distress, and Employee Attitudes and Well-Being



Hypothesized relationships among reports by employees of moral distress, their perceptions of their manager’s behavioral integrity (BI), and employee reports of job satisfaction, stress, job engagement, turnover likelihood, absenteeism, work-to-family conflict, health, and life satisfaction were tested using data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce (n = 2,679). BI was positively related to job satisfaction, job engagement, health, and life satisfaction and negatively to stress, turnover likelihood, and work-to-family conflict, while moral distress was inversely related to those outcomes. The magnitudes of relationships with job satisfaction, job engagement, and life satisfaction were greater with BI than with moral distress. Moral distress mediated the relationships between BI and the employee outcomes, supporting the view that employee’s perceptions of their manager’s BI might influence the employee’s behaviors as well as their attitudes.


Behavioral integrity Employee attitudes Job satisfaction Job engagement Managerial ethics Moral distress Person–environment fit Stress 


  1. Adams, J. S. (1963). Toward an understanding of inequity. Journal of Abnormal and Social, Psychology, 67, 422–436.Google Scholar
  2. Amstad, F. T., Meier, L. L., Fasel, U., Elfering, A., & Semmer, N. K. (2011). A meta-analysis of work–family conflict and various outcomes with a special emphasis on cross-domain versus matching-domain relations. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16(2), 151–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Cameron, K. S. (2011). Effects of virtuous leadership on organizational performance. In S. I. Donaldson, M. Csikszentmihalyi, J. Nakamura, S. I. Donaldson, M. Csikszentmihalyi, & J. Nakamura (Eds.), Applied positive psychology: Improving everyday life, health, schools, work, and society (pp. 171–183). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  5. Christian, M. S., Garza, A. S., & Slaughter, J. E. (2011). Work engagement: A quantitative review and test of its relationships with task and contextual performance. Personnel Psychology, 64(1), 89–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen-Charash, Y., & Spector, P. E. (2001). The role of justice in organizations: A meta-analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 278–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Colquitt, J. A., Conlon, D. E., Wesson, M. J., Porter, C. O., & Ng, K. Y. (2001). Justice at the millennium: A meta-analytic review of 25 years of organizational justice research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 425–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Craig, S. B., & Gustafson, S. B. (1998). Perceived leader integrity scale: An instrument for assessing employee perceptions of leader integrity. The Leadership Quarterly, 9, 127–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cropanzano, R., & Walumbwa, F. O. (2010). Moral leadership: A short primer on competing perspectives. In M. Schminke (Ed.), Managerial ethics: Managing the psychology of morality (pp. 21–52). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  11. Davis, A. L., & Rothstein, H. R. (2006). The effects of the perceived behavioral integrity of managers on employee attitudes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 67, 407–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dineen, B. R., Lewicki, R. J., & Tomlinson, E. C. (2006). Supervisory guidance and behavioral integrity: Relationships with employee citizenship and deviant behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 622–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eatough, E. M., Chang, C., Miloslavic, S. A., & Johnson, R. E. (2011). Relationships of role stressors with organizational citizenship behavior: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(3), 619–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edwards, J. R. (1993). Problems with the use of profile similarity indices in the study of congruence in organizational research. Personnel Psychology, 46(3), 641–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edwards, J. R., & Parry, M. E. (1993). On the use of polynomial regression equations as an alternative to difference scores in organizational research. Academy of Management Journal, 36(6), 1577–1613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Evanston, IL: Peterson.Google Scholar
  17. Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist, 44, 513–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoffman, B. J., Woehr, D. J., Maldagen-Youngjohn, R., & Lyons, B. D. (2011). Great man or great myth? A quantitative review of the relationship between individual differences and leader effectiveness. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84(2), 347–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jameton, A. (1984). Nursing practice: the ethical issues. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  20. Johnson, J. L., & O’Leary-Kelley, A. M. (2003). The effects of psychological contract breach and organizational cynicism: Not all social exchange violations are equal. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 627–647.Google Scholar
  21. Jones, T. M. (1995). Instrumental stakeholder theory: A synthesis of ethics and economics. Academy of Management Review, 20, 404–437.Google Scholar
  22. Kaplan, H. B. (1983). Psychological distress in sociological context: Toward a general theory of psychosocial stress. In H. B. Kaplan (Ed.), Psychosocial stress: Trends in theory and research (pp. 195–264). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D., & Johnson, E. C. (2005). ‘Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: A meta-analysis of person-job, person-organization, person-group, and person-supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58, 281–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lay, K. (July 1, 2000). Code of ethics. Memorandum. Retrieved August 30, 2011 from
  25. McLean, B., & Elkin, P. (2003). The smartest guys in the room: The amazing rise and scandalous fall of Enron. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  26. Mesmer-Magnus, J. R., & Viswesvaran, C. (2006). How family-friendly work environments affect work/family conflict: A meta-analytic examination. Journal of Labor Research, 27, 555–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Orlitzky, M., Schmidt, F. L., & Rynes, S. L. (2003). Corporate social and financial performance: A meta-analysis. Organization Studies, 24(3), 403–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Palanski, M. E., & Yammarino, F. J. (2007). Integrity and leadership: Clearing the conceptual confusion. European Management Journal, 25(3), 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Palanski, M. E., & Yammarino, F. J. (2009). Integrity and leadership: A multi-level conceptual framework. Leadership Quarterly, 20(3), 405–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Palanski, M. E., & Yammarino, F. J. (2011). Impact of behavioral integrity on follower job performance: A three-study examination. Leadership Quarterly, 22(4), 765–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Preacher, K. J. & Leonardelli, G. J. (2010). Calculation for the Sobel test: An interactive calculation tool for mediation tests.
  33. Prottas, D. J. (2008). Perceived behavioral integrity: Relationships with employee attitudes, well-being, and absenteeism. Journal of Business Ethics, 81, 313–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Reed, L., Vidaver-Cohen, D., & Colwell, S. (2011). A new scale to measure executive servant leadership: Development analysis, and implications for research. Journal of Business Ethics, 101, 415–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rittenmeyer, L., & Huffman, D. (2009). How professional nurses working in hospital environments experience moral distress: A systematic review. JBI Library of Systematic Reviews, 7, 1234–1291.Google Scholar
  36. Robbins, J. M., Ford, M. T., & Tetrick, L. E. (2011). Perceived unfairness and employee health: A meta-analytic integration. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(2), 235–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Saks, A. M. (2006). Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21, 600–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schluter, J., Winch, S., Holzhauser, K., & Henderson, A. (2008). Nurses’ moral sensitivity and hospital ethical climate: A literature review. Nursing Ethics, 15, 304–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Simons, T. (2009). The integrity dividend and “doing good.” In J. Friedland (Ed.), Doing well and good; The human side of the new capitalism (pp. 151–166). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  40. Simons, T. L. (1999). Behavioral integrity as a critical ingredient for transformational leadership. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12, 89–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Simons, T. (2002). Behavioral integrity: The perceived alignment between managers’ words and deeds as a research focus. Organization Science, 13, 18–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Simons, T., Friedman, R., Liu, L. A., & Parks, J. M. (2007). Racial differences in sensitivity to behavioral integrity: Attitudinal consequences, in-group effects, and “trickle down” among black and non-black employees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 650–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Suhonen, R., Stolt, M., Virtanen, H., & Leino-Kilpi, H. (2011). Organizational ethics: A literature review. Nursing Ethics, 18, 285–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vardi, Y., & Weitz, E. (2004). Misbehavior in organizations: Theory, research, and management. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  45. Verquer, M. L., Beehr, T. A., & Wagner, S. H. (2003). A meta-analysis of relations between person–organization fit and work attitudes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 473–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

Personalised recommendations