Ethical leadership and followers' behavioural change: a critical literature review of ten peer-reviewed articles

Given the definition of ethical leadership, which most of the authors refer to by Brown, Trevino and Harrison (2005), which is 'the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships and the promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making', reported by Walumbwa et al. (2011, pg.204), what is the reaction that employees have to ethical leadership and what is their behavioural change, if there is any? This question arises from the fact that very little research seems to have been done on the ethical leaders' followers' experience and emotions. In my literature review of ten peer-reviewed articles, searched on the University of Sunderland library website and through Google Scholars, I have identified three major themes which seem to be evidence of little attention paid to followers and I have drawn my conclusions.

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Rethinking the Adaptive Leadership model through the Italian Adaptive Leadership Behavior Questionnaire

Since Heifetz designed the adaptive leadership framework in 1994, the academic literature has benefitted from many qualitative research studies focusing on specific adaptive challenges and how the adaptive leadership framework can be practically used to face these. It seems very few have dealt with adaptive leadership through the quantitative lens and have attempted to measure adaptive leadership behaviors or tested Heifetz’s adaptive leadership six-dimensional model. In response, my PhD research aimed to measure the perception of adaptive leadership behaviors across the Italian corporate context and to investigate whether Heifetz’s adaptive leadership model can apply to the Italian culture. Findings and contribution to knowledge can be read in the thesis: Novellini, P. (2023) Rethinking the Adaptive Leadership model through the Italian Adaptive Leadership Behavior Questionnaire, PhD thesis, University of Sunderland.

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