Leading well is not enough: a new insight from the ethical leadership, workplace bullying and employee well-being relationships

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: While research on the influence of ethical and unethical behaviour on employee well-being abound, we still know little of how well-being is shaped under the dual positive and negative behavioural influences in the workplace. To address this limitation, this paper aims to investigate the relative effects of ethical behaviour of leadership and unethical bullying behaviour on employee well-being through the application of the conservation of resources theory. Design/methodology/approach: This study was conducted in the context of Pakistan by seeking views of 330 employees in academic work settings. Findings: The data analysis revealed that occurrence of unethical behaviour plays a more potent role than ethical behaviour in shaping employee well-being. These findings lend support to the conservation of resources theoretical perspective by reiterating the salience of resource loss over resource gain in shaping employee well-being. Originality/value: This study offers a new insight into the management literature by highlighting that combating workplace bullying not only conserves employee well-being, but also allows organisations to capitalise more fully on the positive process enabled by leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-180
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Conservation of resources theory
  • Employee well-being
  • Ethical leadership
  • Workplace bullying

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