Date of Award

6-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Steven C. Rhodes

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra L. Borden

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter G. Northouse

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The existence of multiple organizational leaders, with different levels of authority, values, ethics, and ways to direct their employees can lead to the existence of distinct ethical climates within an organization. This research focuses attention on one particular potential antecedent of ethical climate: ethical leadership. The study was conducted in an affiliate of a multinational manufacturing organization in the Caribbean region. Using a sample of 203 subordinates who evaluated 27 managerial positions, the results confirm a positive relationship between ethical leadership and three of the ethical climates that emerged in the organization: caring, rules and law, and external stakeholders. Results also show the relationship between ethical leadership and ethical climate is not affected by a combined influence with the organization's departments.

Overall results highlight the importance of considering managers' ethical behaviors and ethics communications to design and implement communication strategies that effectively and consistently work throughout the organization's departments. The implications of the study underscore the importance of understanding the development of ethical climates as an employee's process in which employees diagnose and assess situations in accordance with their understanding, more than an exclusive organizational process.

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