High-profile cases of leaders’ ethical failure in different settings and sectors have led to increased attention to ethical leadership in organizations. In this review, I discuss the rapidly developing field of ethical leadership from an organizational behavior/psychology perspective, taking a behavioral and perceptual angle. After addressing the background of ethical leadership in this field, I discuss how ethical leadership has been defined, which behaviors and characteristics contribute to a leader being seen as ethical by followers, and how ethical leadership relates to other leadership styles. I also contrast ethical with unethical leader behaviors. Next, I address what the research to date tells us about the effects of perceived ethical leader behavior, the mechanisms through which this form of leadership affects followers, and what the role of the context is. Finally, I summarize the challenges the field currently faces, outline several future research directions, and discuss some practical implications of the work to date.


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