The “Right” and the “Good” in Ethical Leadership: Implications for Supervisors’ Performance and Promotability Evaluations

Chaim Letwin, David Wo, Robert Folger, Darryl Rice, Regina Taylor, Brendan Richard, Shannon Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Substantial research demonstrates that ethical leaders improve a broad range of outcomes for their employees, but considerably less attention has been devoted to the performance and success of the leaders themselves. The present study explores the extent to which being ethical relates to leaders’ performance and promotability. We address this question by examining ethical leadership from the two ethical perspectives most common in Western traditions—i.e., the “right” and the “good”—and whether one might be more closely associated than the other with performance and promotability evaluations. Results from 117 employee-supervisor-manager triads show that supervisors with a deontological outlook are more likely to be seen as ethical leaders (given current conceptualizations of the construct) and that utilitarian leaders are more likely to earn higher performance evaluations (above these current conceptions). We discuss the implications of these findings for research on ethical leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-755
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Deontology
  • Ethical leadership
  • Ethics
  • Leadership
  • Performance
  • Promotability
  • Utilitarianism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'The “Right” and the “Good” in Ethical Leadership: Implications for Supervisors’ Performance and Promotability Evaluations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this