Exploring Antecedents of Leader Integrity in Public Organizations: Qualitative Research

Document Type : Research Paper


1 academic member

2 academic member of Tehran university


Leader`s integrity is a critical factor for the success of the leadership and foundation of trust-building in the organization. The main objective of this study is to explore the nature and antecedents of leader`s integrity in public organizations. With applying theme analysis method for this purpose, deep interviews conducted. First, relying on existing literature, the nature of the phenomenon was specified. Then interview data were coded and the relationship between categories and themes were discovered as an "antecedents of Leader integrity". This model contains individual factors: managers' personality traits (self-esteem, commitment and responsibility, Machiavellianism), moral intelligence and managerial moderator factors (job characteristics and managerial skill and ability) and organizational moderator factors: (moral role models, expectations of management, transparency of policies, laws and practices and whistleblowers activities within the organization).


Main Subjects

Abedi Jafari, H., Taslimi, H., Taslimi M., Faghihi, A. & Sheykhzade, M. (2011). Purpose analysis and purposes themes: a simple and effective method for determining the patterns in qualitative data. Strategic Management Thoughts, 5(2), 151-198. (in Persian)
American Heritage (Integrity), (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.wordnik.com/ words/integrit, Accesse october 20, 201.5.
 Avolio, B. J., Gardner, W. L., Walumbwa, F. O., Luthans, F. & May, D. R. (2004). Unlocking the mask: A look at the process by which authentic leaders impact follower attitudes and behaviors. The Leadership Quarterly, 15(6), 801-823.
Bandsuch, M.R. (2009). Understanding integrity across generations in china: implications for personnel choices in Chinese corporations. Journal of International Business Ethics, 2(2), 21-38.
Bauman, D. C. (2013). Leadership and the three faces of integrity. The Leadership Quarterly, 24 (3), 414- 426.
Becker, T.E. (1998). Integrity in organizations: beyond honesty and conscientiousness. The Academy of Management Review, 23(1), 154-161.
Benetti, C. & Kambouropoulos, N. (2006). Affect-regulated indirect effects of trait anxiety and trait resilience on self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(2), 341-352.
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2), 77-101.
Brown, M. E. & Trevio, L. K. (2006). Ethical leadership: A review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 595-616.
Brunsson, N. (1989). The Organization of Hypocrisy: Talk, Decisions and Actions in Organizations. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Brunsson, N. (1993). Ideas and actions: Justification and hypocrisy as alternatives to control. Accounting Organizations and Society, 18(6), 489-506.
Craig, B. & Gustafson, S.B. (1998). Perceived leader integrity scale: An instrument for assessing employee perceptions of leader integrity. The Leadership Quarterly, 9(2), 127-145.
Dehkhoda dictionary (Integrity meaning): Available from: https://www.vajehyab. com/Accessed october 20, 2015. (in Persian)
Dunn, C. P. (2009). Integrity Matter. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(2),102-125.
Gentry, W. A., Cullen, K. L., Sosik, J. J., Chun, J. U., Leupold, C. R. & Tonidandel, S. (2013). Integrity's place among the character strengths of middle-level managers and top-level executives. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(3), 395-404.
George, B. (2007). True north: discover your authentic leadership. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.
Global Integrity Report (2015). Available from: https://www.globalintegrity.org/ research/ Accessed october 20, 2015.
Golembiewski, R. & McConkie, M. (1975). The centrality of interpersonal trust in group processes. In C. Cooper (Ed.), Theories of Group Processes (pp. 131-185). New York: Wiley.
Hadavinejad, M., Danaeifard, H., Azar, A. & Khaef-elahi, A. A. (2010). Exploring the process of hypocritical behaviors in interpersonal communication at workplace using grounded theory. Strategic Management Thought, 4(1), 81-130. (in Persian)
Kannan-Narasimhan, R. & Lawrence, B. S. (2012). Behavioral Integrity: How Leader Referents and Trust Matter to Workplace Outcomes. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(2), 165-178.
Kelle, U. (2007). "Emergence" vs." forcing" of empirical data? a crucial problem of grounded theory reconsidered. Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung. Supplement, 6(12), 133-156.
Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (1993). Credibility. CA: San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Lennick, D. & Kiel, F. (2007). Moral Intelligence: Enhancing Business Performance and Leadership Success. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School.
Locke, E. A. (1999). The Essence of Leadership: The Four Keys to Leading Successfully. New York: Lexington Books.
Lussier, R.N. & Achua, C.F. (2004). Leadership: Theory, application, skill development. Mason, Ohio? Thomson /South-Western.
Martin, G.S., Keating, M. A., Resick, C. J., Szabo, E., Kwan, H. K. & Peng, C. (2013). The meaning of leader integrity: A comparative study across Anglo, Asian, and Germanic cultures. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(3), 445-461.
Moorman, R.H. & Grover, S. (2009). Why Does Leader Integrity Matter to Followers? An Uncertainty Management-Based Explanation. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(2), 102-114.
Moorman, R. H., Darnold, T. C., Priesemuth, M., Dunn, C. P. (2012). Toward the Measurement of Perceived Leader Integrity: Introducing a Multidimensional Approach, Journal of Change Management, 12(4), 1-16.
O’Reilly, K., Paper, D. & Marx, S. (2012). Demystifying grounded theory for business research. Organizational Research Methods, 15(2), 247-262.
Palanski, M.E. & Carroll, E.A. (2006). Behavioral integrity as an antecedent to leader emergence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of management, Atlanta, GA.
Palanski, M. E. & Yammarino, F. J. (2009). Integrity and leadership: A multi-level conceptual framework. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(3), 405-420.
Palanski, M.E. & Yammarino, F.J. (2007). Integrity and leadership: clearing the conceptual confusion. European Management Journal, 25(3), 171-184.
Parry, K.W. & Proctor-Thomson, S.B. (2002). Perceived integrity of transformational leaders in organisational settings. Journal of Business Ethics, 35(2), 75-96.
Rahimi, H., Madani, S. A. & Mohammidian, A. (2014). The relationship between moral intelligence and social capital with students responsibility (Case study: Kashan University).  Culture at the Islamic University 5(1), 104-128.
(in Persian)
Robbins, S. J. T. (2007). Organizational behavior ( 12 ed.): NJ: Prentice Hall.
Ross Jr., W. T. & Robertson, D. C. (2000). Lying: The impact of decision context. Business Ethics Quarterly, 10(2), 409-440.
Saghrvany, S., Mortazavi, S., Lagzian, M. & Rahimnia, F. (2014). Imposing a theory to data or theories emerged from the data: theorizing in the humanities with grounded theory methodology. Journal of foundations of education, 4(20), 45-72.
Schindler, P. T. C. (1993). The structure of interpersonal trust in the workplace. Psychological Reports, 73, 563-573.
Simons, T. (1999). Behavioral integrity as a critical ingredient for transformational leadership. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12(2), 89 – 104.
Simons, T. (2002). Behavioral integrity: the perceived alignment between managers’ words and deeds as a research focus. Organization Science, 13(1), 18-35.
Simons, T. (2008). The Integrity Dividend Leading by the Power of Your Word. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Simons, T., Tomlinson, E.C. & Leroy, H. (2011). Research on Behavioral Integrity: A Promising Construct for Positive Organizational Scholarship. The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship: Oxfprd university press.
Storr, L. ( 2004). Leading with integrity: a qualitative research study. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 18(6), 415-434.
Taleghani, G. R., Tabatabaei, Z. & Ghafary, A. (2014). Evaluation of individual and organizational factors influencing the corruption in Bank Sepah Qom province. Organizational Culture Management, 22(2), 235-253. (in Persian)  
Transparency International report, Iran. (2015). Available from: https:www. transparency.org/cpi2014/results. September 26, 2015.
Treviño, L. K., Hartman, L. P. & Brown, M. (2000). Moral person and moral manager: How executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership. California Management Review, 42(4), 128-142.
Vogelgesang, G. R., Leroy, H. & Avolio, B. J. (2013). The mediating effects of leader integrity with transparency in communication and work engagement/ performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(3), 405-413.
Weaver, G. R., Treviño, L. K. & Agle, B. (2005). Somebody I look up to: Ethical role models in organizations. Organizational Dynamics, 34(4), 313-330.
Webster, N.N.D. (Ed.) (1828). Available from: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/ Dictionary /integrity Accessed october 20, 2015.
Zarei Matin, H. (2009). Organizational behaviour management. Tehran: Agah publisher. (in Persian)