Ethical Leadership and Creativity Among Employees: Does Leadership Trust and Organizational Climate Matter?

Main Article Content

Prince Addai
Esther Asiedu
Afia Nyarko Boakye
Bright Kumardzi


Purpose: Leaders encourage employee innovation for organizational effectiveness, but the perception of ethical leadership and factors like trust and organizational climate can influence this dynamic. This study assessed leadership trust and organizational climate as explanatory factors influencing the association between ethical leadership and creativity.
Design: Responses were sought from 354 employees from a multinational organization in manufacturing in Ghana. The respondents completed questionnaires that measured ethical leadership, employee trust in leadership, organizational climate, and creativity.
Findings: The findings using the PROCESS macro indicated a positive relationship between ethical leadership and creativity. The influence of ethical leadership on creativity was confirmed to be moderated by organizational climate and partially mediated by employees’ trust in leadership. The findings clearly highlight the eminence of leadership trust and organizational climate in explaining ethical leadership's impact on employees' creativity.
Practical Implications: The study implies that organizations aiming to enhance creativity and effectiveness should promote ethical leadership while considering the influence of trust and the overall work environment. This study is the first of its kind to assess the underlying mechanisms of leadership trust and organizational climate in explaining the linkage between ethical leadership and employee creativity.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Addai, P., Asiedu, E., Boakye, A. N., & Kumardzi, B. (2023). Ethical Leadership and Creativity Among Employees: Does Leadership Trust and Organizational Climate Matter?. SEISENSE Business Review, 3(1), 62-75.
Research Articles

Copyright (c) 2023 Prince Addai, Esther Asiedu, Afia Nyarko Boakye, Bright Kumardzi

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [PA], upon reasonable request.

Abdullah, S. (2021). The Effect of Ethical Leadership on Organizational Creativity in the Midst of Work from Home (WFH) System Due to Pandemic COVID-19. Available at SSRN: or DOI:

Acar, O. A., Tarakci, M., & van Knippenberg, D. (2019). Creativity and innovation under constraints: a cross-disciplinary integrative review. Journal of management, 45(1), 96 – 121. DOI:

Addai, P., Avor, J., Ofori, I. N. & Tweneboah, D. N. (2019). Relationship between ethical leadership and productive work behaviors: moderating role of organizational climate. Management Research Journal, 4(2), 1 – 8.

Addai, P., Mottey, R., Afrifah, M., & Boakye, A. O. (2022). Job Insecurity and Turnover Intentions among Banking Sector Employees: The Moderating Role of Organizational Support and Ethical Leadership. SEISENSE Journal of Management, 5 (1), 17-30. DOI:

Ahmad, I. & Gao, Y. (2018). Ethical leadership and work engagement: The roles of psychological empowerment and power distance orientation. Management decision, 56(9), 1991 – 2005. DOI:

Amabile, T. M. & Pratt, M. G. (2016). The dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation in organizations: Making progress, making meaning. Res. Organ. Behav., 36, 157–183. DOI:

Arokiasamy A. A. & Moslehpour, M. (2020). An examination of the impact of ethical leadership on individual creativity and organizational innovations in the ICT industry in Vietnam. Humanities & Social Sciences Reviews, 9(3), 540 – 552. DOI:

Asif, M., Miao, Q., Jameel, A., Manzoor, F., & Hussain, A. (2020). How ethical leadership influence employee creativity: A parallel multiple mediation model. Current psychology New Brunswick, N. J. DOI:

Asif, M., Qing, M., Hwang, J., & Shi, H. (2019). Ethical Leadership, Affective Commitment, Work Engagement, and Creativity: Testing a Multiple Mediation Approach. Sustainability, 11, 41 – 56. DOI:

Azam, O. & Rizvi, S. T. H. (2021). Narcissistic leadership and team creativity: Assessing the mediating role of information searching effort and moderating role of environmental uncertainty. Pak. J. Commer. Soc. Sci., 15, 405 – 425.

Baron, R. & Kenny, D. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173 – 1182. DOI:

Bell, E., Bryman, A., & Harley, B. (2018). Business research methods. Oxford university press.

Brown, M. E., Treviño, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical Leadership: A Social Learning Perspective for Construct Development and Testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97(2), 117 – 134. DOI:

Byun, G. & Lee, S. (2021). Social learning in empowering leadership: a moderated mediation analysis. Sustainability, 13, 121 - 137 DOI:

Caniëls, M. C. J., & Rietzschel, E. F. (2013). A special issue of creativity and innovation management. creativity and innovation management, 22(1), 100 – 102. DOI:

Chen, L., Liu, S., Wang, Y., & Hu, X. (2021). Humble leader behavior and team creativity: The team learning perspective. J. Manag. Psychol., 36, 272–284. DOI:

Chen, A. S. Y., & Hou, Y. H. (2016). The effects of ethical leadership, voice behavior and climates for innovation on creativity: A moderated mediation examination. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(1), 1–13. DOI:

Cheng, J., Bai, H., & Hu, C. (2019). The relationship between ethical leadership and employee creativity: The roles of error management climate and organizational commitment. Journal of Management & Organization, 12(3), 215 – 227.

Chughtai, A. (2016). Can ethical leaders enhance their followers’ creativity? Leadership, 12(2), 230 – 249. DOI:

Cigularov, K. P., Chen, P. Y., & Rosecrance, J. (2010). The effects of error management climate and safety communication on safety: A multi-level study. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 42(5), 1498 – 1506. DOI:

Crosley, V. (2014). Empirical study on the relationship between ethical leadership and organizational climate of innovation. Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Paper 1.

DeConinck, J. B. (2015). Outcomes of ethical leadership among salespeople. Journal of Business Research, 68(5), 1086 – 1093. DOI:

Demirtas, O. & Akdogan, A.A. (2015). The effect of ethical leadership behavior on ethical climate, turnover intention, and affective commitment. J. Bus. Ethics, 130, 59–67. DOI:

Duan, S., Liu, Z., & Che, H. (2018), Mediating influences of ethical leadership on employee creativity. Social Behavior and Personality an International Journal 46(2), 323 – 337. DOI:

Eluwole, K. K., Karatepe, O. M., & Avci, T. (2021). Ethical leadership, trust in organization and their impacts on critical hotel employee outcomes. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 102, 26 – 42. DOI:

Gu, Q., Liang, B., & Cooke, F. L. (2020). How does shared leadership affect creativity in teams? A multilevel motivational investigation in the Chinese context. Int. J. Hum. Resour. Manag. 2, 1–29.

Hayat, B., Umair, A., Muhammad Hasnat, B., Hassan, R., & Xin, S. (2020). Unraveling the effects of ethical leadership on knowledge sharing: The mediating roles of subjective well-being and social media in the hotel industry. Sustainability, 12(3), 8333. DOI:

Iqbal, Z. A., Abid, G., Contreras, F., Hassan, Q., & Zafar, R. (2020). Ethical leadership and innovative work behavior: The mediating role of individual attributes. Journal of Open Innovation, 6(3), 1 – 15. DOI:

Javed, B., Bashir, S., Rawwas, M. Y., & Arjoon, S. (2017). Islamic work ethic, innovative work behavior, and adaptive performance: the mediating mechanism and an interacting effect. Current Issues in Tourism, 20(6), 647–663. DOI:

Javed, B., Rawwas, B. Y. A., Khandai, S., Shahid, K., & Tayyeb, H. (2018). Ethical leadership, trust in leader and creativity: The mediated mechanism and an interacting effect. Journal of Management and Organization, 24(3), 388 – 405 DOI:

Karabey, C. N. & Aliogullari, Z. D. (2018). The impact of ethical leadership on member’s creativity and career success: the mediating role of leader-member exchange. Research Journal of Business and Management, 5(3), 202 – 211. DOI:

Lahroodi, R. (2007). Evaluating Need for Cognition: A Case Study in Naturalistic Epistemic Virtue Theory. Philosophical Psychology, 20(2), 227 – 245. DOI:

Lei, H., & Ha, A. T. (2020). How ethical leadership cultivates radical and incremental innovation: the mediating role of tacit and explicit knowledge sharing. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 35(5), 849–862. DOI:

Liu, X., Baranchenko, Y., An, F., Lin, Z., & Ma, J. (2021). The impact of ethical leadership on employee creative deviance: the mediating role of job autonomy. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 42(2), 219 – 232. DOI:

Ma, Y., Cheng, W., Ribbens, B. A., & Zhou, J. (2013). Linking ethical leadership to employee creativity: Knowledge sharing and self-efficacy as mediators. Society of Behavior and Personal International Journal, 41, 1409–1419. DOI:

Me, S. (2016). Impact of ethical leadership on employee creativity: Mediating role of trust and moderating role of creative self-efficacy. Jinnah Business Review, 4(2), 65-74 DOI:

Mendeley, R., Zotero, P. & RefWorks (2021). The relationship between ethical leadership and employees creativity: The moderating role of manager-employee relationship. Ethics in Science and Technology, 16(2), 108 – 114.

Park, J. H., Niu, W., Cheng, L., & Allen, H. (2021). Fostering creativity and critical thinking in college: A cross-cultural investigation. Frontier of Psychology, 13, 14 - 29 DOI:

Patterson, M., Warr, P., & West, M. (2004). Organizational climate and organization productivity: The role of employee effect and employee level. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77(2), 193–216. DOI:

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Moorman, R. H., & Fetter, R. (1990). Transformational leader behaviors and their effects on followers' trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors. The Leadership Quarterly, 1(2), 107–142. DOI:

Qian, J., Wang, B., Han, Z., & Song, B. (2017). Ethical leadership, leader-member exchange and feedback seeking: A double-moderated mediation model of emotional intelligence and work-unit structure. Front. Psychol., 8, 1174 DOI:

Quade, M. J., Perry, S. J., & Hunter, E. M. (2019). Boundary conditions of ethical leadership: Exploring supervisor-induced and job hindrance stress as potential inhibitors. J. Bus. Ethics, 158, 1165–1184 DOI:

Suifan, T. S., Abdallah, A. B., & Al Janini, A. (2018). The impact of transformational leadership on employees’ creativity: The mediating role of perceived organizational support. Management Research Review, 41(1), 113 – 132. DOI:

Tu, Y. & Lu, X. (2013). How Ethical Leadership Influences Employees’ Innovative Work Behavior: A Perspective of Intrinsic Motivation. Journal of Business Ethics, 116, 441–455

Wang, J., Kim, H. R., & Kim, B. J. (2021). From ethical leadership to team creativity: the mediating role of shared leadership and the moderating effect of leader-member exchange differentiation. Sustainability, 13, 11280. DOI:

Wang, Q., Zhou, X., Bao, J., Zhang, X., & Ju W. (2020). How is ethical leadership linked to subordinates taking charge? A moderated mediation model of social exchange and power distance. Frontier in Psychology, 12, 15 – 28. DOI:

Williamson, O. (1986). Transaction-cost economics: The governance of contractual relations. In J. Barney & W. Ouchi (Eds.), Organizational economics (pp. 98–129). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Yidong, T. & Xinxin, L. (2013). How ethical leadership influences employees’ innovative work behavior: A perspective of intrinsic motivation. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(2), 441-455. DOI:

Zahra, T. T. & Waheed, A. (2017). Influence of ethical leadership on innovative work behavior: an examination of individual-level psychological mediators. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences, 11(2), 448-470.

Zhou, J. & George, J. M. (2001). When job dissatisfaction leads to creativity: Encouraging the expression of voice. Academy of Management Journal, 44, 682–696. DOI: