Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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Mainstream ethical leadership studies largely adopt Brown, Trevino, and Harrison’s (2005) conceptualization and operationalization. Ethical leadership has been found to predict positive individual and organizational outcomes. An examination of the mainstream literature reveals several weaknesses that include the lack of a well-developed theoretical framework, the marginalized role of communication in leadership processes, and a low correspondence between conceptualization and operationalization. In addition to these weaknesses, Chinese ethical leadership studies meet additional challenges regarding the relative impacts of universality and cultural specificity. The Chinese literature consists of empirical research adopting the mainstream Western ethical leadership construct, point-of-view articles stressing Chinese cultural roots, and research considering both universal and cultural characteristics. This paper argues that future development in Chinese ethical leadership research can begin by conceiving a construct model that denotes communication as a key leadership behavior, explicates the relative importance of universal versus cultural influences, and defines key cultural components.


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