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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 260-266

Modeling the ethical leadership and the organizational trust with the organizational learning in the work environment


1 Department of Health Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication2-Sep-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Azade Alavi
Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.189666

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  Abstract 

Introduction: Ethical leadership is one of the approaches that has seriously come to the literature of leadership and management in the late 20th century. The change of the organizational knowledge and the allocation of knowledge which are the goals of the organizational learning are not possible without the organizational trust. Leadership's behaviors and the leaders have an important role in the organizational learning. Hence, the current research aims at investigating, for the first time, the relationship among the ethical leadership's variables, organizational trust, and the organizational learning in the job environment. Methods: The current research was descriptive-correlational. The statistic community of the research includes all the staffs at the Isfahan University of Medicine faculties (831 people). After conducting pilot and confirming reliability and validity, the sample was calculated on the basis of the accidental-classified method, using the volume identifying formula and 202-person Cochran formula. To analyze the data with SPSS Inc. Released 2007 (SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago, SPSS Inc.), two methods of descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were used. In the inferential statistics section, these tests were used: Independent T, binomial, Pearson correlation coefficient, and multiple and linear regression. Results: The evidence coming from the data analysis revealed that there is a significant and positive relationship among the ethical leadership, organizational learning, and organizational trust as well as between the organizational trust and organizational learning (P < 0.01). In addition to it, the results of the regression analysis showed that the ethical leadership and organizational trust have the ability to significantly predict the organizational learning (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Environment with the ethical in modern organizations, all the leadership styles have critical values; however, the role of the ethical leadership is very prominent. Especially at universities that aim at promoting the culture of the organizational learning and organizational trust, the ethical leadership must be paid attention to. The existence of the ethical leadership style will result in developing values because this ethic-based characteristic in the leaders will gradually be conveyed to the staffs. Finally, in such an environment, automatically, the organizational trust, and the organizational learning will increase as the dominant ethical values suggest such concepts as trust and learning.

Keywords: Ethical leadership, job setting, modeling, organizational learning, organizational trust


How to cite this article:
Anbari E, Yarmohammadian MH, Alavi A. Modeling the ethical leadership and the organizational trust with the organizational learning in the work environment. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:260-6

How to cite this URL:
Anbari E, Yarmohammadian MH, Alavi A. Modeling the ethical leadership and the organizational trust with the organizational learning in the work environment. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Nov 12];2:260-6. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/4/260/189666


  Introduction Top


Professional and ethical values may be in contrast to/opposition to the organizational and managerial values at such institutes as universities. Hence, today, to be assured that whether the people, team, and educational organizations' values have been understood and investigated correctly, and are in accordance with the professional values and in parallel with advocating the munificence, esteem and people's inflorescence, the concept of ethical leadership is especially paid attention to.[1] Ethical leadership is one of the approaches that has seriously come into the leadership literature and management in the late 20th century.[2] Ethical leadership is one of the ethical behaviors' branches which has recently converted into an important issue in organizations. Of course, so far, no study has been done on this variable in the area of research.[3] In this kind of leadership, the accepted ethical values for every person such as justice, impartiality, honesty, rectitude are the focus of attention and concentration. A manager or administrator provides the humane and legal ways of meeting needs of staffs in a purposeful community by establishing the humane and inmost relations with the staffs to reach the social and individual growth and development horizons. As each manager or administrator is under the supervision of the staffs in his job setting, it is natural that he will be chosen by the staffs for saddling with values and ethical principles such as impartiality, justice, and equity.[4],[5] There are some strategies on teaching ethical leadership in the literature and texts which refer to knowledge, attitude, and necessary skills in this important area. Furthermore, there is a special attention to the importance of educating managers and educational leaders in the area of ethical leadership skills.[1] In this research, the role and attention of the ethical leader will be discussed regarding three dimensions: Individual goals, interests, individual's anxiety, ideas, and values. One of the problems of today organizations is the lack of trust among the staffs and managers. Trust is usually considered as those beliefs and expectations that people like to show to others in a predictable way but not necessarily for their personal benefits.[6] In our organizations, especially the public organizations, there is a remarkable gap among staffs, managers, and their demands. As a result of this gap, decisions usually encounter managerial problems as the staffs are strict in doing the decisions. On the contrary, the managers do not trust the staffs and do not have them participated in making decisions; all of these bring about an atmosphere not be trusted in the organization.[7] The previously done research has shown that trust plays an important and critical role in advocating lots of external and internal activities and processes which provide organizations with competition-based advantage is learning in the modern mental patterns of business. Hence, the focus of the modern mental pattern is learning. Therefore, the organizations are more successful that learn sooner, faster, and better than their competitors. It is precisely due to this fact that the concepts of learning organization and the organizational learning have been proposed in the recent years and increasingly grown up. Hence, the organizations attempt to learn in the direction of the competition-based advantage rather than keep on their traditional behaviors and movements which could have included education in its best status so that they can change into an organization that always learn. Learning occurs at three levels: Individual level, group level, and organizational level.[8],[9] The current article will discuss the three levels all. According to Farhang's conceptual model, the change of organizational knowledge and sharing knowledge, which are the goals of organizational learning, it is not possible without organizational trust between the staffs and the university head, because trust develops the experimental atmosphere, experience, dividing, and sharing knowledge at universities. As a result, the more trusted and cooperative the universities' atmosphere is, the more, the managers, and staffs do for sharing the organizational knowledge which leads to increasing the organizational learning in the organization.[10] Huber has also reported that the development of cooperative knowledge would be more if the level of trust is higher.[11] Cullen et al. believed that without commitment and trust in a union, learning, which is one of the major benefits of alliance, won't occur.[12] Killen emphasized more knowledge in an environment caused high level of trust too.[13] Leadership and leaders also play an important role in organizational learning. Rosete's research results showed that the organizations must pay attention to the method of teaching the leaders about their role in the organizational learning. The leaders must create an environment for the organizational learning to find its right place in the organization.[14] Devereaux, in his research revealed that the increase in the open communications, cooperation, growing, and development is among the leadership's duties trust mutual insight in which talks and negotiations are promulgating the organizational learning.[15] In investigating the relation between the ethical leadership and organizational trust, the followers' understanding of what the ethical leadership includes plays an important role in establishing a trustworthy relation between the leaders and the followers. According to the data, the better, and the leader performs as the followers feel it is the better performance, the more trustworthy the leader would be. Therefore, the relation between the ethical leadership's behaviors and trust will be under the effect of the observed and demanded leadership's behavior.[16] Hence, the present research aims at investigating for the first time, the relation between the ethical leadership variables and organizational trust with the organizational learning in the job setting.


  Methods Top


This study is descriptive-correlational. The statistic community comprises of all the official and contractual staffs at the nine fold faculties of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (831 people). After conducting pilot and confirming reliability and validity, the sample was calculated on the basis of the accidental-classified method, using the volume identifying formula and 202-person Cochran formula. To evaluate the ethical leadership, a 15-question questionnaire was used, which itself had already been used in a piece of research titled as the relationship between the ethical leadership and psychological health of the job setting with the organizational trust.[17] The way of answering these questions was on the basis of Likert 5-degree scales (from not at all like me =1 to very interested =5). To evaluate the organizational trust, a researcher-made questionnaire was used, which had already been used in a kind of research titled as the evaluation of the making trust indexes from Al Zahra Hospital staffs' point of view.[18] The questionnaire was scored on the basis of Likert's continuum (very much, somewhat, neutral, not much, and rarely). This questionnaire was changed into having 20 questions and revised. To evaluate the organizational behavior, a questionnaire was used which had already been used in a kind of research titled as the investigation of the state of the organizational learning in Noor and Ali Asqar Hospitals at Isfahan City.[19] The primary questionnaire comprised 43 questions which evaluated three dimensions of learning: Individual learning, team learning, and organizational learning. The number of the questions, then, reduced to 27 and revised. The reliability of the questionnaires was tabulated, calculated, and confirmed by α-Cronbach according to what has been tabulated. According to this table, the coefficient of α-Cronbach of the three above mentioned questionnaires was more than 0.7 which shows the appropriate solidarity of the questions. In addition, the reliability of each of the dimension was mentioned in the questionnaire, the amount of the α-Cronbach was more than 0.7 and the reliability of each dimension was confirmed as well. The formal and content validity of the three questionnaires – ethical leadership, organizational trust, and organizational learning was confirmed by a number of professors at management and information faculty of Isfahan University. Collecting the necessary data and using the appropriate statistic techniques, the data were classified and analyzed. To analyze with SPSS Inc. Released 2007 (SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago, SPSS Inc.), the two methods of descriptive and inferential statistics were applied. In descriptive statistics, using the frequency distribution table, descriptive histogram bar, mean and comparing it in different sections, and standard deviation and variance, the answers were evaluated. In the inferential statistics section, such tests as independent, binomial, Pearson correlation coefficient and multiple, and regression applied.


  Results Top


The first hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between ethical leadership and organizational learning

In [Table 1], Pearson correlation coefficients calculated by the investigation of the relationship between the ethical leadership and its dimensions on one hand and the organizational learning on the other were represented. According to this table, the relationship between the ethical leadership and organizational learning has been significant (P< 0.05); hence, the main hypothesis saying that there is a relationship between the ethical leadership (personal goals, interests, and personal anxieties, ideas, and values) and organizational learning is confirmed. This relationship with “the organizational learning” is more than any other ethical leadership dimensions among the “personal interests and anxieties” dimensions.
Table 1: The correlation coefficients between the predicting variables and its dimensions and the criterion variable

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The second hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between the organizational trust and its dimensions and organizational learning

In [Table 1], Pearson correlation coefficients calculated by the investigation of the relationship between the organizational trust and its dimensions on one hand and the organizational learning on the other were represented. According to this table, the relationship between the organizational trust and organizational learning has been direct and significant (P< 0.05). Hence, the main hypothesis stating that there is a relationship between the organizational trust and its dimensions on one hand and the organizational learning on the other is confirmed.

The third hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between the ethical leadership and organizational trust

According to [Table 1], the relationship between the ethical leadership and its dimensions on one hand and the organizational trust on the other is direct and significant (P< 0.05). Hence, the main hypothesis claiming that there is a relationship between the ethical leadership (personal goals, interests, and anxieties, ideas, and values) and the organizational trust is confirmed. The ethical leadership's dimensions, regarding the personal interests and anxieties are the most related to the organizational trust. In other words, the more attention the manager pays to the staffs' personal interests and anxieties, the more trust there would be.

The fourth hypothesis: Ethical leadership is able to predict the organizational learning

As [Table 2] data have shown, which have been done with enter method and regression analysis, the predictable variable of this hypothesis that is the ethical leadership, explains 33.2% of the organizational learning variance. Hence, the observed F is significant at the level P< 0.05. Therefore, the regression is generalizable to the statistic community.
Table 2: The multiple correlation coefficient of the predicting variable in predicting the criterion variable

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Regarding the significant relationship between the variables of the current research, this section has discussed the identification of the organizational learning prediction ability by using the ethical leadership. In other words, the ethical leadership is the independent variable while the organizational learning is the dependent variable which itself is under the influence of the ethical leadership. The results have been presented in [Table 3]. As it is seen, the personal interests and anxieties dimension have had the prediction ability of 0.318% for the organizational learning; hence, this is significant in terms of statistics (P< 0.05). However, the other two dimensions with the predictable ability of 0.012 and 0.008, respectively, have had no considerable and significant effect in predicting the organizational learning (P > 0.05). In other words, the best organizational learning predictor has been the personal interests and anxieties. In general, a formula that can be presented out of the organizational learning prediction is as follows:
Table 3: The results of the linear regression of the criterion variable effect on the predicting variable

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Organizational learning =0.012 Personal goals +0.318 personal interests and anxieties +0.008 ideas and values

The fifth hypothesis: Ethical leadership is able to predict the organization's staffs' trust

As [Table 2] data have shown, which have been done with enter method and regression analysis, the predicting variable of this hypothesis which is the ethical leadership explains the variance 37.2% of the organizational trust. Hence, the observed F has been significant at the P< 0.05 level. Therefore, the regression is generalizable to the statistic community. Regarding the significant relationship between the organizational trust and ethical leadership, this section has determined the organizational learning prediction ability by using the ethical leadership. In other words, the ethical leadership is considered as an independent variable while the organizational trust as a dependent variable which itself is under the influence of the ethical leadership. By using the regression analysis, the amount of trust prediction ability has been identified whose results have been presented in [Table 3]. According to this table, the interests and anxieties dimension have had the prediction ability of 0.113 on the organizational trust which was considered as significant statistically (P< 0.05). However, the other two dimensions that are the personal goals, ideas, and values with the prediction ability of 0.040 and 0.111, respectively, have had no considerable ability in predicting the organizational trust (P > 0.05). In other words, the best organizational trust predictor has been the interests and anxieties dimension. In general, a formula which can be presented out of the organizational leadership trust prediction ability is as follows:

Organizational trust =0.040 Personal goals +0.256 personal interests and anxieties +0.111 ideas and values

The sixth hypothesis: Organizational trust is able to predict the staffs' organizational learning

As [Table 2] data shows, which have been done with enter method and regression analysis, the predictor variable of this hypothesis, which is the organizational trust explains 70.9% of the organizational learning variance; hence, the observed F has been significant at the P< 0.05 level. Therefore, the regression is generalizable to the statistic community. Regarding the significant relationship between the organizational trust and organizational learning, this section determines the organizational learning prediction ability by using the organizational trust. In other words, the organizational learning has been considered as an independent variable and the organizational trust as a dependent variable which itself is under the influence of the ethical leadership and by using the regression analysis, the amount of trust prediction ability was determined, the results of which were presented in [Table 3]. According to this table, all the aspects of the organizational trust have been effective on the organizational learning (P < 0.05) in such a way that the precision with the prediction ability 0.322 was the most effective while constancy with the prediction ability 0.125 was the least effective. In general, the formula which can be presented out of the organizational learning prediction ability is as follows:

Organizational learning =0.159 Honesty +0.266 qualification +0.125 constancy +0.147 loyalty +0.322 precision

Finally, regarding the cause-effect relation in the theoretical model of the research, the following model was made [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Model of ethical leadership and the organizational trust with the organizational learning

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  Discussion and Conclusion Top


The research results showed that the ethical leadership can underlie the development of the organizational trust and learning. Although leadership and ethics are interwoven to each other, the ethical leadership is different from the general leadership.[20] When the ethical leaders make a relationship with their followers around the ethical principles issues, they develop the transparent ethical criteria and use rewards and punishments; in the first step, they promote their confidence, because trust is a key part of the successful relations between the leaders and the followers, which itself provides the cooperation means, helps the differences managing intensifies the information sharing, and increases the reciprocal acceptance, by which and by the ethical leaders as individuals who are bound to the principles, acceptable and honest and make moderate decisions,[17] the organizational trust will be fortified. The more the organizations' atmosphere, especially the educational organizations, is with trust, the managers and staffs perform more than ever regarding the share of knowledge. This leads to promoting the organizational learning in the organization. On the other hand, in an atmosphere full of trust, the staffs avoid doing nongenerative and useless behaviors stemming from distrust and start doing generative jobs, which provides the base for growing learning.[21] It can be stated that the ethical leaders with characteristics and concepts as honesty, being bound to the ethical principles and values, cooperation with the staffs in solving problems, using their influence to the organization's benefits, paying attention to the ideas, values, and needs bring about encouraging staffs to learn, develop learning environment and culture, removing learning obstacles and encourage all the staffs and persons in the organization for developing, conveying, interpreting, and maintaining information. The results of this study, regarding its theme, are compatible with the following studies. Regarding the relationship between the ethical leadership and the organizational learning, Khan et al. and Elzami in 2012 found out that there is a direct and significant relationship between the style of the ethical leadership and the organizational learning.[22],[23] King found out that the leadership's behaviors are related to the organizational learning.[24] Regarding the relationship between the organizational trust and the organizational learning, Choupani et al. (2010), found out that the organizational trust is one of the effective factors on increasing learning.[25] Farhang et al., in 2010, found out that there is a significant relationship among the horizontal trust component (the trust among the workers themselves) and the vertical trust component (the trust between the workers and the manager) and institutional (nonpersonal organizational trust) and learning.[10] Ebrahimi et al., in 2010, stated that the organizational trust has a positive impact on the staffs' tendency toward sharing knowledge.[26] Ribiere concluded that the organizational trust is considered as a main factor in the organizational production and knowledge. In general, the researchers believe that trust makes information distributed in the organization all over and makes all the individuals share the organizational knowledge, which is compatible with the research results.[27] Regarding the ethical leadership and the organizational trust, Avatefimonfared, in 2012, in a kind of research in a large tire-making production company, found out that there is a significant relationship between the ethical leadership and the organizational trust.[17] In addition, other researchers' findings showed that the increase in the ethical leadership leads to increasing the organizational trust.[28],[29],[30] This research findings comprise important concepts for the educational organizations such as universities as it shows the leaders' ethical behavior not only is right and basic but also it will comprise remarkable direct and indirect advantages for the leader and the organization.


  Conclusion Top


In the organizations, those in charge should use this style of leadership, which is among the modern leadership, as soon and appropriate as possible.[31] In the modern organizations, all the styles of the leadership have a vital value, but the role of the ethical leadership is prominent among them. Especially in the academic organizations which are looking for the promotion of the organizational learning and organizational trust, the ethical leadership must be specially paid attention to. The existence of the ethical leadership style brings about an environment with ethical values because this ethics-based characteristic in the leaders will gradually be sent to the staffs as the dominant ethical values suggest such concepts as trust and learning. The organizational trust and the organizational learning are also two important elements in the modern organizations especially at universities because universities themselves attempt to teach the students these concepts; therefore, they must be observable practically at universities.

Recommendations

There is a little research about the ethical leadership. Moreover, this is the first study which discusses the relationship between the three items: The ethical leadership, the organizational trust, and the organizational learning. However, it is necessary to mention that the current research aims at investigating, for the first time in Iran, the relationship among such variables as the ethical leadership, the organizational trust, and the organizational learning in an educational organization like universities. Regarding the research results, the universities are recommended to provide the organizational trust and learning by cultivating the ethical leadership, because the organizational trust and learning both make the staffs promote and move toward learning under the shade of trust and calmness. Hence, the researchers are recommended to study the same subject at other universities in the country so that they can raise the validity of the results. The relationship between the ethical leadership and other variables can be studied too. Furthermore, the concepts related to the ethical leadership can also be studied in the health and care and educational organizations and hospitals.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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