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Continuities and Extensions of Ethical Climate Theory: A Meta-Analytic Review


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  • Kelly Martin


  • John Cullen


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    Using traditional meta-analytic techniques, we compile relevant research to enhance conceptual appreciation of ethical climate theory (ECT) as it has been studied in the descriptive and applied ethics literature. We explore the various treatments of ethical climate to understand how the theoretical framework has developed. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive picture of how the theory has been extended by describing the individual-level work climate outcomes commonly studied in this theoretical context. Meta-analysis allows us to resolve inconsistencies in previous findings as well as confirm the central tenets of the overall ethical climate framework. In addition, we consider the ethical climate relationships in the larger context of theâ\x90£theoretical framework, using path analysis to test the structural relationships. Overall, our results provide evidence of the relationships between ethical climate perceptions and individual-level work outcomes. Based on our analyses, we offer future research directions important for further development of ECT. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 69 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 175-194

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:69:y:2006:i:2:p:175-194

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    Keywords: ethical climate; ethical decision-making; meta-analysis; organizational climate; path analysis; work climate;


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    1. Ostroff, Cheri, 1993. "The Effects of Climate and Personal Influences on Individual Behavior and Attitudes in Organizations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 56-90, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Wayne O’Donohue & Lindsay Nelson, 2009. "The Role of Ethical Values in an Expanded Psychological Contract," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(2), pages 251-263, December.
    2. Kathy Dean & Jeri Beggs & Timothy Keane, 2010. "Mid-level Managers, Organizational Context, and (Un)ethical Encounters," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 51-69, November.
    3. Treviño, Linda Klebe & den Nieuwenboer, Niki A. & Kreiner, Glen E. & Bishop, Derron G., 2014. "Legitimating the legitimate: A grounded theory study of legitimacy work among Ethics and Compliance Officers," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 186-205.
    4. William E. Shafer & Zhihong Wang, 2011. "Effects of ethical context and Machiavellianism on attitudes toward earnings management in China," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 26(5), pages 372-392, May.
    5. Yau-De Wang & Hui-Hsien Hsieh, 2012. "Toward a Better Understanding of the Link Between Ethical Climate and Job Satisfaction: A Multilevel Analysis," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(4), pages 535-545, February.
    6. Mojca Duh & Jernej Belak & Borut Milfelner, 2010. "Core Values, Culture and Ethical Climate as Constitutional Elements of Ethical Behaviour: Exploring Differences Between Family and Non-Family Enterprises," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 473-489, December.
    7. Linda Thorne, 2010. "The Association Between Ethical Conflict and Adverse Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 269-276, March.
    8. Shafer, William E., 2008. "Ethical climate in Chinese CPA firms," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(7-8), pages 825-835.
    9. Jay Mulki & Jorge Jaramillo & William Locander, 2008. "Effect of Ethical Climate on Turnover Intention: Linking Attitudinal- and Stress Theory," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(4), pages 559-574, April.
    10. Johannes Brinkmann, 2009. "Putting Ethics on the Agenda for Real Estate Agents," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 65-82, August.
    11. Jay Mulki & Jorge Jaramillo & William Locander, 2009. "Critical Role of Leadership on Ethical Climate and Salesperson Behaviors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 125-141, May.
    12. William Lesch & Johannes Brinkmann, 2011. "Consumer Insurance Fraud/Abuse as Co-creation and Co-responsibility: A New Paradigm," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 17-32, April.
    13. William E. Shafer & Richard S. Simmons, 2011. "Effects of organizational ethical culture on the ethical decisions of tax practitioners in mainland China," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(5), pages 647-668, June.
    14. Lora Reed & Deborah Vidaver-Cohen & Scott Colwell, 2011. "A New Scale to Measure Executive Servant Leadership: Development, Analysis, and Implications for Research," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(3), pages 415-434, July.
    15. Mitchell Neubert & Dawn Carlson & K. Kacmar & James Roberts & Lawrence Chonko, 2009. "The Virtuous Influence of Ethical Leadership Behavior: Evidence from the Field," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 90(2), pages 157-170, December.
    16. Roland Kidwell & Franz Kellermanns & Kimberly Eddleston, 2012. "Harmony, Justice, Confusion, and Conflict in Family Firms: Implications for Ethical Climate and the “Fredo Effect”," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 106(4), pages 503-517, April.
    17. Soydan Soylu, 2011. "Creating a Family or Loyalty-Based Framework: The Effects of Paternalistic Leadership on Workplace Bullying," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 217-231, March.
    18. K. Parboteeah & Hsien Chen & Ying-Tzu Lin & I-Heng Chen & Amber Lee & Anyi Chung, 2010. "Establishing Organizational Ethical Climates: How Do Managerial Practices Work?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(4), pages 599-611, December.
    19. William E. Shafer & Zhihong Wang, 2010. "Effects of ethical context on conflict and commitment among Chinese accountants," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(4), pages 377-400, May.
    20. William E. Shafer, 2009. "Ethical climate, organizational-professional conflict and organizational commitment: A study of Chinese auditors," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(7), pages 1087-1110, September.


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