Do business ethics pay off? The influence of ethical leadership on organizational attractiveness

Maria Strobel, Andranik Tumasjan, Isabell Welpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The ability to attract highly qualified employees constitutes a significant competitive advantage, and is ultimately linked to an organization's economic success. Creating and maintaining organizational attractiveness is therefore crucial to organizations. While previous research has demonstrated that an organization's ethical conduct (e.g., corporate social responsibility) enhances its attractiveness for potential employees, there is no empirical evidence on whether the ethical behavior of an organization's leaders can also affect organizational attractiveness. Using both experimental and correlational data we investigate the influence of leader ethical behavior on organizational attractiveness and examine the underlying mechanisms behind this relationship. In line with our hypotheses, ethical leader behavior leads to significantly higher ethical leadership ratings and to significantly higher ratings of organizational attractiveness. Furthermore, higher ethical leadership ratings were associated with stronger intentions to pursue employment with the respective organization. This effect was simultaneously mediated by organizational prestige and the general attractiveness of the organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-224
Number of pages12
JournalZeitschrift fur Psychologie / Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Employer brand
  • Ethical leadership
  • Organizational attraction
  • Organizational attractiveness
  • Recruitment


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