Date of Conferral







John K. Schmidt


Ethical breaches in many organizations can be traced to failures in ethical leadership, which undermine trust. If a leader's ethical behavior in their private life and settings is perceived as influencing workplace ethics, it may in turn affect organizational trust levels and the development of trust. A quantitative study based on the social learning and moral theory was conducted to determine whether a difference exists between a leader's self-perceptions of their ethical behaviors inside and outside of the workplace, and whether it affects their perceived personal trustworthiness. Participants' (N = 94) scores on work and nonwork versions of the ethical leadership scale were compared using a paired-samples t test, which determined no significant differences in their ethical behaviors inside and outside of the workplace. Then multiple regression analyses were conducted, which indicated that the model containing both independent variables regarding ethical behavior inside and outside the workplace significantly predicted changes in the dependent variable personal trustworthiness: F (7, 86) = 6.025, p < .001. The model explained 27% of the variance in personal trustworthiness. The model also significantly predicted changes in scores related to propensity to trust; F (10, 83) = 3.692, p < .001. The model explained 23% of the variance in propensity to trust. This research will aid leaders in understanding more about the perception of their own ethics and how this plays into the cultivation of trust. It also has implications that may influence leadership among all types of work environs, including government organizations and industry.