Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity

I will be summarising the article Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity: Knowledge Sharing and Self-Efficacy as Mediators by Yueru Ma, Weibo Cheng, Barbara A. Ribbens, and Juanmei Zhou. This article has effectively linked ethical leadership to employee creativity in a very distinct and clear manner. Using knowledge sharing and self-efficacy as examples to foster positive results, the article shows the positive impacts emanating from ethical leadership. Throughout the article, the authors have passionately justified their position on ethical leadership arguing that employees are more likely to respond positively to humane supervision.

A good relationship between leaders and employees has been displayed as the most effective way to influence and foster high levels of creativity. This article has dealt with a number of ethical issues that impede creativity among employees. It is interesting to learn that through ethical leadership, followers are motivated and self-efficacy is greatly improved. Concisely, the authors have defined employees’ creativity as a product of ethical leadership, which improves knowledge sharing and self-efficacy.

The research has sort to define the role of ethical leadership in facilitating knowledge sharing and employee creativity in an organisation. The authors suggest that ethical leadership is more efficient in an organisation in terms of improving employees’ satisfaction and the working environment (Ma, Cheng, Ribbens, & Zhou, 2013). For the employees to be motivated and willing to improve their services, the working conditions and environment within the organisation must be conducive. Ethical leadership promotes a harmonious environment for employees, therefore, creating a conducive environment for improved service delivery.

Learning points

The following are some of the learning points that can be drawn from the article:

  1. Effective leadership and its role on employee creativity
  2. Employees’ creativity and the challenges attached to the process
  3. How to foster and develop employee creativity in an organisation
  4. Characteristics and a definition of ethical leadership
  5. The role of knowledge sharing
  6. The role of self-efficacy

Employees’ creativity and the challenges attached to the process

Can hamper their ability to deliver since it creates a stressful working environment (Ma, et al., 2013, p.1410). It is a fact that the process of implementing employees’ creativity is a challenging event in many organisations. The leadership style adopted in a particular organisation, therefore, sets the precedence on how employees’ creativity will be received. At this point, employees stumble upon conflict difficulties and ethical dilemmas.

Leadership styles are very important and they greatly influence the employees’ creativity. When the employees share their new ideas, the reception of their input by their leaders greatly determines their future efforts and level of creativity. When an employee is ignored while he/she tries to make suggestions to improve work, his/her disappointment affects not only that specific individual but also the entire workforce (Van Buren, 2013). This will eventually breed laxity and demoralisation on the employees.

Effective leadership

Has a prime role in increasing employees’ creativity hence avoiding laxity and fostering growth in an organisation (Ma, et al., 2013, p. 1409). According to the article, ethical leadership is one of the best models of leadership that has proven to provide very positive results in an organisation. The article argues that ethical leadership is based on social exchange and social learning. These two processes are important in enhancing employees’ attitudes and behaviours.

According to the article, the best leadership style influences the behaviour and attitudes of the employees. This is so because employees’ effectiveness greatly depends on their attitude towards their work. Ethical leadership has proven to be one of the most effective leadership styles therefore using it must definitely influence productivity (Van Buren, 2013).

Fostering employee creativity

Is imperative in an organisation because it allows growth and development (Ma, et al., 2013, p.1411). Ethical leadership is known for fostering employee creativity. Ethical leadership involves fair and moderate decision-making hence creating a social exchange relationship between the workers and the leaders. This creates a harmonious working environment hence enhancing employees’ confidence and creativity.


Is greatly influenced by ethical leadership. Ethical leaders show support to their employees and encourage them to become creative in their work (Ma, et al., 2013, p.1413). This enhances the employees’ self-confidence helping them to trust their personal abilities. Ethical leadership motivates and strengthens employees’ behavioural patterns.

Critical analysis

While ethical knowledge sharing can be linked to ethical leadership as a mediator, it would be a critical mishap to assume that it is an ethical matter. As the authors have clearly argued, individuals will only share knowledge with others in accordance with self-interest. Therefore, this is based on the assessment of the mutual costs and benefits. This simply means that selfish interests influence sharing of knowledge in an organisation.

If in any case the employees’ willingness to share knowledge is based on how they benefit from doing so, then knowledge sharing ceases to be an ethical phenomenon. The article has dwelt too much on the impacts of ethical leadership on the employees. Definitely, there must be some impacts of the same on the leaders as well. The article creates an imbalance by giving a one-sided effect of ethical leadership without considering its implications on the leaders. Allowing employees to be creative and to come up with new ideas might undermine the goals and objectives of an organisation (Van Buren, 2013). The organisation can easily lose its focus and divert its attention from its main goals.

In addition, presenting research findings for an issue of global interest in leadership cannot be based on participants from a single nation. This research used participants from four Chinese companies all in the same locality. At least the research should have pursued other regions of the world to create balanced and more accurate results.

Applying ethical leadership in the UAE

The Arab Emirates is a highly religious region with a population of extremely devout individuals. Ethical leadership in the UAE therefore should be assimilated easily. However, the greatest task is to be acquainted with the religious and cultural settings in the region. In this area, religion is actually a culture. Therefore, to foster ethical leadership one must be familiar with the ethics and conducts that are acceptable within this culture.

Some aspects of life such as banking and trading have distinct religious procedures. The Muslim community does not allow any kind of financial trading that attracts interests and that is why their banking system is different from regular banking. The culture also does not allow women to hold leadership positions. Therefore, while applying ethical leadership in the UAE, one has to consider such cultural disparities.

Lesson learnt

The article is very informative especially on techniques of dealing with employees and on how to influence them to be productive. It gives an insight into how an organisation can grow only by allowing its employees to implement their creativity. The article teaches that great achievements can be reached without necessarily having a creative and innovative leader. Also, among the lessons learned is the fact that good leadership is based on inclusive communication rather than giving orders.


Ma, Y., Cheng, W., Ribbens, B., A., & Zhou. (2013). Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity: Knowledge Haring and Self-Efficacy as Mediators. Society for Personality Research, 41(9), 1409-1420.

Van Buren, J. A. (2013). Ethical Leadership. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


BusinessEssay. (2022, January 13). Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity. Retrieved from


BusinessEssay. (2022, January 13). Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity.

Work Cited

"Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity." BusinessEssay, 13 Jan. 2022,


BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity'. 13 January.


BusinessEssay. 2022. "Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity." January 13, 2022.

1. BusinessEssay. "Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity." January 13, 2022.


BusinessEssay. "Linking Ethical Leadership to Employee Creativity." January 13, 2022.