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Title: Follow the leader : the cascading effect of supervisory ethical leadership behavior on employee work outcomes : action research in an academic setting
Author: Davis, Glenville A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 593X
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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In recent times, ethics has proven to be a prominent topic of discussion in contemporary business operations. The subject of ethical leadership continues to make headlines worldwide. The Bahamas like many countries is not exempt from its share of ethical indiscretions. This action research study was built on existing literature such as Brown et al (2005) and Ruiz et al (2011) and provides new insight into the effects of ethical leadership with specific emphasis on supervisor ethical leadership (SEL) and its impact on employee work outcomes within the College of The Bahamas. The research culminated with the creation of actionable knowledge through the design of an ethics training course that originated from the knowledge and input of a focus group discussion among members of the College of The Bahamas In addressing ethics within the College of The Bahamas and to demonstrate the importance of supervisor ethics and its impact on worker outcomes, the researcher employed a phenomenological research methodology to hear from the multiple voices of employees within the institution. He utilized data from a focus group chosen from among workers at the college to help to shed light on the impact of ethics within the institution. To establish methodological rigor the researcher used a survey instrument to gather data from workers in corporate Bahamas and later gathered data from among 30 workers at the college. He then conducted regression analysis to analyze information regarding the impact of ethics on worker outcomes. He later used the results from both surveys which revealed that SEL positively impacted worker outcomes in the corporate arena and in COB to spark discussions among the focus group comprised of 5 faculty members of the college. He utilized thematic analysis to evaluate and interpret the data based on the lived experience of the focus group members. The following themes emanated from the focus group discussion, (a) supervisors as ethical leaders, (b) lack of ethical awareness among employees, (c) absence of a code of ethics, (d) the role of trust, (e) SEL affects employee outcomes and (f) the need for ethics training. The discussion from the focus group revealed that there was an inherent lack of ethical awareness among members at the college and that ethics training was needed to build alertness and trust among workers and that supervisor ethics influence worker outcomes. The results of the focus group discussion then led to the creation and implementation of an ethics course for workers at the college. In summary, the results from this study have implications for the College of The Bahamas as it revealed that ethics was not a given among educators but should be prioritized and reemphasized as means of maintaining a good moral environment. This study was important because it represented a first of its kind in the College of The Bahamas where employees were given an opportunity to provide empirical data regarding the ethical conduct of their leaders. The findings have crucial implications for leaders in the college in that they have a responsibility to make ethics an ongoing conversation. With the introduction of the new ethics course, supervisors can now be made aware of the impact of their actions on those whom they lead, and employees now have sound knowledge on the ethical direction of the college. Furthermore, this represents the beginning of a deeper conversation that will culminate in designing a formal code of ethics for the College of The Bahamas, using inputs from members within the institution.
Supervisor: Hanly, Jim ; Akbar, Hammad Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral