Ethics-related mentoring and protégé ethical behaviour
: exploring the moderating role of mentor prototypicality and the mediating role of protégé moral motivation

  • Corinna Busch

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Although practitioners have strong incentives to select for and develop ethical managers, andscholars are increasingly interested in the study of ethical leadership in a post-Enron world,most of the research has dealt with the consequences of ethical leadership, but hasneglected to examine the antecedents to ethical leadership. This doctorate study addressesthis gap by investigating the conditions under which, and the mechanisms through which,mentoring at work can influence protégés’ ethical leadership behaviour and other ethicsrelatedoutcomes. To start research in this area, the prerequisite was to develop and test anew instrument to measure ethics-related mentoring – an additional dimension of mentoringthat is separate and distinct from the well-established mentoring functions in the literature(i.e., career-related mentoring, psychosocial mentoring, and role modelling). FollowingHinkin’s (1998) guidelines for scale development and validation, the first study included aseries of semi-structured interviews with key informants with the purpose of identifying anddefining the attitudes and behaviours associated with ethics-related mentoring. Thegenerated pool of items underwent a test of content (face) validity with subject-matter expertratings. A scale development study was then conducted to develop and validate the ethicsrelatedmentoring scale. This scale was then put to use in a time-lagged field study. Drawingon Bandura’s (1977, 1986, 1991) social cognitive theory, it was suggested that protégéperceptions of ethics-related mentoring influences protégé’s moral motivation which, in turn,impact his/her development of ethical behaviour. The moderating effect of mentorprototypicality on the relationship between ethics-related mentoring and moral motivationwas further examined. Analyses revealed that the proposed mediated moderationrelationships were not significant. However, strong interaction effects of both mentoringsubscales with mentor prototypicality on protégé moral motivation and directly on all outcomevariables (i.e., ethical leadership, OCB altruism, and turnover intentions) were seen.
Date of Award20 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJonathan Crawshaw (Supervisor), Yves Guillaume (Supervisor) & Alison Legood (Supervisor)


  • Ethical role-modelling
  • ethical guidance
  • ethical leadership
  • scale development
  • mediated moderation

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