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Disclosing the Generic Communication Processes Underlying Ethical Leadership: The Application of Four Flows Theory

Sat, May 27, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 300AB


Ethical leadership has received considerable scholarly attention in recent years. However, a complete account of how communication can play a role in ethical leadership is seemingly missing in the literature. Applying the four flows model (McPhee & Zaug, 2000) as a theoretical underpinning, we propose an integrative framework to elucidate the flows of communication embedded in the process of ethical leadership. We contend that the proposed four communication flows essentially serve as a conduit that allows different levels of ethical leaders to operationalize their attentions to the multilevel flows of messages in conveying the ethical principles. These efforts should result in ethical climate within organizations and an internal as well as an external ethical reputation of organizations. This theoretical paper complements the previous literature of business ethics, ethical leadership, and organizational communication.