Ethical leadership and employee success: Examining the roles of psychological empowerment and emotional exhaustion
Abstract The current study aims to advance ethical leadership theory and research in two ways. First, we propose that psychological empowerment is a comprehensive motivational mechanism linking ethical leadership with employee current in-role success and future success potential. Second, we propose that employee emotional exhaustion is a disruptive psychological state that dampens the empowering effects of ethical leaders. Findings from two field studies illustrate that emotional exhaustion impairs the motivational efforts of ethical leaders by attenuating the direct effects on psychological empowerment and the indirect effects on employees' current success and success potential. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.