The Effect of Ethical Leadership On Job Performance: The Mediating Role of Public Service Motivation and Normative Commitment

Muchlis Syahrani(1), Hernawaty Hernawaty(2), Alex Winarno(3*)

(1) Human Resources Development Agency, East Kalimantan Province, Samarinda
(2) Human Resources Development Agency, East Kalimantan Province, Samarinda
(3) Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Communication and Business, Universitas Telkom, Bandung, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


Introduction/Main Objectives: To analyze how ethical leadership influences job performance mediated public service motivation and normative commitment in public institutions.  Background Problems: Ethical issues in public institutions are rarely discussed openly by involving practitioners, although ethical issues are the root of the emergence of various problems in public organizations.  Leaders play an important role in ethics. Novelty: Show ethical leadership as a resource for social learning and provide an understanding that ethical leadership is an important leadership style in the job performance system of public services in leader-member exchange theory. Research Methods: The explanation method uses a survey of 327 civil servants in East Kalimantan. The data analysis technique uses SEM covariance.  Finding/Results: Ethical leadership as a model for subordinates in providing public services. The interaction between leaders and subordinates encourages public service motivation for the public and fosters normative commitment based on consideration of ethical values. Ethical leaders influence the job performance of civil servants through service and normative commitment. Conclusion: Increased public service motivation and normative awareness, as well as job performance as a public servant, is influenced by ethical leadership. The practical implication is the need to develop and strengthen interactions between leaders and subordinates as a social learning process that can activate ethical awareness as public servants.


Ethical leadership, motivation to serve, commitment normative, performance, public service

Full Text:



Abuzaid, A. N. (2018). The relationship between ethical leadership and organizational commitment in banking sector of Jordan. Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, 34(3), 187–203.

Ahn, J., Lee, S., & Yun, S. (2018). Leaders’ Core Self-evaluation, Ethical Leadership, and Employees’ Job Performance: The Moderating Role of Employees’ Exchange Ideology. Journal of Business Ethics, 148(2), 457–470.

Akbar, G. G., Nurliawati, N., Muchtar, M., & Ramdhani, A. (2021). Retrospective Analysis of Work From Home for Civil Servants During The Covid- 19 Pandemic. Jurnal Borneo Administrator, 17(2), 183–204.

Al-Sada, M., Al-Esmael, B., & Faisal, M. N. (2017). Influence of organizational culture and leadership style on employee satisfaction, commitment and motivation in the educational sector in Qatar. Euro Med Journal of Business, 12(2), 163–188.

Aminizadeh, M., Saberinia, A., Salahi, S., Sarhadi, M., Jangipour Afshar, P., & Sheikhbardsiri, H. (2020). Quality of working life and organizational commitment of Iranian pre-hospital paramedic employees during the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. International Journal of Healthcare Management, 0(0), 1–9.

Androniceanu, A. (2013). Ethical values and the human resources behaviour in public management. Administratie Si Management Public, 20, 49–61.

Babič, Š. (2014). Ethical Leadership and Leader Member Exchange (LMX) Theory. CRIS - Bulletin of the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinary Study, 2014(1), 61–71.

Bahadori, M., Ghasemi, M., Hasanpoor, E., Hosseini, S. M., & Alimohammadzadeh, K. (2021). The influence of ethical leadership on the organizational commitment in fire organizations. International Journal of Ethics and Systems, 37(1), 145–156.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. New Jersey : Prentice-Hall.

Banks, G. C., Fischer, T., Gooty, J., & Stock, G. (2021). Ethical leadership: Mapping the terrain for concept cleanup and a future research agenda. Leadership Quarterly, 32(2), 101471.

Bellé, N., & Cantarelli, P. (2018). The role of motivation and leadership in public employees' job preferences: evidence from two discrete choice experiments. International Public Management Journal, 21(2), 191–212.

Belrhiti, Z., Van Damme, W., Belalia, A., & Marchal, B. (2020). The effect of leadership on public service motivation: A multiple embedded case study in Morocco. BMJ Open, 10(1), 1–3.

Berlinger, N., Wynia, M., Powell, T., Micah Hester, D., Milliken, A., Fabi, R., Cohn, F., Guidry-Grimes, L. K., Carlin Watson, J., Bruce, L., Chuang, E. J., Oei, G., Abbott, J., & Piper Jenks, N. (2020). Marco ético para las instituciones de atención médica y pautas para los servicios de ética institucional que responden a la pandemia del coronavirus. The Hastings Center, 2, 1–12.

Bergman, M. E. (2006). The relationship between affective and normative commitment: review and research agenda. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27(5), 645–663Blau, 1964).

Blau, P.M. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley.

Brown, M. E., Treviño, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97, 117–134

Byun, G., Karau, S. J., Dai, Y., & Lee, S. (2018). A three-level examination of the cascading effects of ethical leadership on employee outcomes: A moderated mediation analysis. Journal of Business Research, 88(August 2017), 44–53.

Cooper, T. L. (2012). The responsible administrator: An approach to ethics for the administrative role. New York: John Wiley and Sons

Corduneanu, R., Dudau, A., & Kominis, G. (2020). Crowding-in or crowding-out: the contribution of self-determination theory to public service motivation. Public Management Review, 22(7), 1070–1089.

Cregan, C., Bartram, T. and Stanton, P. (2009), “Union organising as a mobilising strategy: the impact of social identity and transformational leadership on the collectivist attitudes of union members”, British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 701-722.

Danish, R. Q., Hafeez, S., Ali, H. F., Mehta, A. M., Ahmad, M. B., & Ali, M. (2020). Impact of Ethical Leadership on Organizational Commitment and Organizational Citizenship Behavior With Mediating Role of Intrinsic Motivation. International Review of Management and Marketing, 10(4), 25–30.

De Araújo, M. S. G., & Lopes, P.M. P. R. (2015). Virtuous leadership, organizational commitment and individual performance. Tékhne, 12, 3–10.

Dewantara, A.W. (2017). Moral philosophy of the ethical struggle of human daily life. Kanisius. Yogjakarta.

Eisenbeiss, S. A. (2012). Re-thinking ethical leadership: An interdisciplinary integrative approach. Leadership Quarterly, 23(5), 791–808.

Feng, J., Zhang, Y., Liu, X., Zhang, L., & Han, X. (2018). Just the Right Amount of Ethics Inspires Creativity: A Cross-Level Investigation of Ethical Leadership, Intrinsic Motivation, and Employee Creativity. Journal of Business Ethics, 153(3), 645–658.

Hameduddin, T., & Engbers, T. (2021). Leadership and public service motivation: a systematic synthesis. International Public Management Journal, 0(0), 1–47.

Huang, L., & Paterson, T.A. (2017). Group ethical voice: Influence on ethical leadership and impact on ethical performance, Journal of Management, 43(4), 1157-1184.

Iqbal, N., Khan, M. M., Mohmand, Y. T., & Mujtaba, B. G. (2019). The Impact of in-Service Training and Motivation on Job Performance of Technical & Vocational Education Teachers: Role of Person-Job Fit. Public Organization Review. 1-20

Indonesian Civil Service Commission (2019) launch

Jaros, S., (2007). Meyer and Allen Model of Organizational Commitment: Measurement Issue. The Icfai University Press.

Johari, J., Mohd Shamsudin, F., Fee Yean, T., Yahya, K. K., & Adnan, Z. (2019). Job characteristics, employee well-being, and job performance of public sector employees in Malaysia. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 32(1), 102–119.

Karim, A., Mardhotillah, N. F., & Samadi, M. I. (2019). Ethical Leadership Tranforms Into Ethnic: Exploring New Leader’S Style of Indonesia. Journal of Leadership in Organizations, 1(2), 146–157., 2019

Khan, S. R., Bauman, D. C., & Javed, U. (2020). A study on the effect of ethical leadership on teachers’ moral motivation at schools in Pakistan. International Journal of Educational Management, 34(6), 965–985.

Kia, N., Halvorsen, B., & Bartram, T. (2019). Ethical leadership and employee in-role performance: The mediating roles of organisational identification, customer orientation, service climate, and ethical climate. Personnel Review, 48(7), 1716–1733.

Ko, C., Ma, J., Bartnik, R., Haney, M. H., & Kang, M. (2018). Ethical Leadership: An Integrative Review and Future Research Agenda. Ethics and Behavior, 28(2), 104–132.

Krisnajaya, I. M. (2018). Institutionalization of Ethical Principles to Overcome Ethical Dilemmas in the Public Sector. Policy & Governance Review, 2(1), 1.

Krisharyul, M.,Himam, F.,.Ramdani,Z., (2019) Ethical Leadership: Conceptualization And Measurement. Journal of Leadership in Organizations Vol.2, No. 1 pp. 1-17

Kusuma, A. R., & Akbar, P. (2021). Policy Response and Collaboration in Handling Covid-19 East Kutai Regency With An Adaptive Governance Approach in Disasters. Jurnal Borneo Administrator, 17(2), 223–240.

Lawton A., Rayner, K., Lasthuizen, K. (2013). Ethics and management in the public sector. London Routledge

Lee, H.-J. and Reade, C. (2018). The role of Yin-Yang leadership and cosmopolitan followership in fostering employee commitment in China: A paradox perspective. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 25(2), 276-298.

Lee, J. (Jessie), Cho, J., Baek, Y., Pillai, R., & Oh, S. H. (2019). Does ethical leadership predict follower outcomes above and beyond the full-range leadership model and authentic leadership?: An organizational commitment perspective. Asia Pacific Journal of Management.

Li, C., & Bao, Y. (2020). Ethical leadership and positive work behaviors: a conditional process model. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 35(3), 155–168.

Liu, J., Kwan, H. K., Fu, P. P., & Mao, Y. (2013). Ethical leadership and job performance in China: The roles of workplace friendships and traditionality. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 86(4), 564–584.

Liu, Y., Loi, R., & Ngo, H. yue. (2020). Linking organizational social exchange to intention to leave: Does normative commitment matter? International Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(13), 1663–1683.

Lotfi, Z., Atashzadeh-Shoorideh, F., Mohtashami, J., & Nasiri, M. (2018). Relationship between ethical leadership and organisational commitment of nurses with perception of patient safety culture. Journal of Nursing Management, 26(6), 726–734.

Marques, T.M. G. (2020). Research on public service motivation and leadership: a bibliometric study. International Journal of Public Administration, 1–16.

Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human Resource Management Review, 1, 64−89.

Meyer, J. P., & Parfyonova, N. M. (2010). Normative commitment in the workplace: A theoretical analysis and re-conceptualization. Human Resource Management Review, 20(4), 283–294.

Miao, Q., Eva, N., Newman, A., & Schwarz, G. (2018). Public service motivation and performance: The role of organizational identification. Public Money and Management, 39(2), 77–85.

Ngoma, M., Namono, R., Nangoli, S., Bashir, H., & Nakyeyune, S. (2021). Towards fighting COVID-19: can servant leadership behaviour enhance commitment of medical knowledge-workers. Continuity & Resilience Review, 3(1), 49-63.

Nowell, B., Anne, M.I., Ngaruiya, K.M., & Boyd, N.M. (2016). Public Service Motivation and Sense of Community Responsibility: Comparing Two Motivational Constructs in Understanding Leadership within Community Collaboratives. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 26(4), 663–676.

Ohemeng, F. L. K., Amoaks-Asiedu, E., & Obuobisa Darko, T. (2019). The relationship between leadership style and employee performance. International Journal of Public Leadership, 14(4), 274-296.

Özbağ, G. K. (2016). The role of personality in leadership: five factor personality traits and ethical leadership. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 235, 235–242.

Pancasila, I., Haryono, S., & Sulistyo, B. A. (2020). Effects of work motivation and leadership toward work satisfaction and employee performance: Evidence from Indonesia. Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business, 7(6), 387–397.

Peng, A. C., & Kim, D. (2020). A meta-analytic test of the differential pathways linking ethical leadership to normative conduct. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 41(4), 348–368.

Pidd, M. (2012). Measuring the performance of public services: Principles and practice. In Measuring the Performing of Public Services: Principles and Practice.

Potipiroon, W., & Faerman, S. (2016). What Difference Do Ethical Leaders Make? Exploring the Mediating Role of Interpersonal Justice and the Moderating Role of Public Service Motivation. International Public Management Journal, 19(2), 171–207.

Potipiroon, W., & Ford, M. T. (2017). Does Public Service Motivation Always Lead to Organizational Commitment? Examining the Moderating Roles of Intrinsic Motivation and Ethical Leadership. Public Personnel Management, 46(3), 211–238.

Pidd, M. (2012). Measuring the Performance of Public Services. Principles and Practice. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.

Prasetya, H.B., Sudibyo, Y.A., Gunawan, J., Khomsyah (2021) The influence of the ethic culture and intellectual capital on local government performance: Evidence from Indonesia. Technium Social Sciences Journal. 19 pp. 465-476

Puni, A., Hilton, S. K., & Quao, B. (2020). The interaction effect of transactional-transformational leadership on employee commitment in a developing country. Management Research Review, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)

Qian, Y., & Jian, G. (2020). Ethical leadership and organizational cynicism: the mediating role of leader-member exchange and organizational identification. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 25(2), 207–226.

Rasdi, M.,R., & Tangaraja, G. (2020). Knowledge-sharing behaviour in public service organisations: determinants and the roles of affective commitment and normative commitment. European Journal of Training and Development, ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print).

Rauh, J. (2018). Ethics Problems in the New Public Service: Back to a Service Ethic? Public Integrity, 20(3), 234–256.

Razzaq, S., Shujahat, M., Hussain, S., Nawaz, F., Wang, M., Ali, M., & Tehseen, S. (2018). Knowledge management, organizational commitment and knowledge-worker performance: The neglected role of knowledge management in the public sector. Business Process Management Journal, 25(5), 923-947.

Ren, S., Tang, G., & Jackson, S. E. (2020). Effects of green HRM and CEO ethical leadership on organizations' environmental performance. International Journal of Manpower, 42(6), 961-983.

Ribeiro, N., Nguyen, T., Duarte, A. P., Torres de Oliveira, R., & Faustino, C. (2020). How managerial coaching promotes employees' affective commitment and individual performance. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 70(8), 2163-2181. et al., 2007).

Ryan, R.M., & E. L. Deci. (2018). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Publications. New York, NY

Prysmakova, P. (2020). Public service motivation of public and nonprofit employees: comparative analysis of social service providers in a centralized system. International Journal of Public Administration, 1–17.

Saleem, M.A., Bhutta, Z.M., Nauman, M., & Zahra, S. (2019). Enhancing performance and commitment through leadership and empowerment: An emerging economy perspective. International Journal of Bank Marketing, 37 (1), 303-322

Sari, U. T. (2019). the Effect of Ethical Leadership on Voice Behavior: the Role of Mediators Organizational Identification and Moderating Self-Efficacy for Voice. Journal of Leadership in Organizations, 1(1), 48–66.

Schwarz, G., Eva, N., & Newman, A. (2020). Can Public Leadership Increase Public Service Motivation and Job Performance? Public Administration Review, 80(4), 543–554.

Schwarz, G., Newman, A., Cooper, B., & Eva, N. (2016). Servant Leadership and Follower Job Performance: the Mediating Effect of Public Service Motivation. Public Administration, 94(4), 1025–1041.

Shafique, I., Kalyar, M. N., & Rani, T. (2020). Examining the impact of ethical leadership on safety and task performance: a safety-critical context. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 41(7), 909–926.

Sharma, A., Agrawal, R., & Khandelwal, U. (2019). Developing ethical leadership for business organizations: A conceptual model of its antecedents and consequences. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 40(6), 712–734.

Sheraz, A. (2020). Ethical leadership, a source of organizational commitment: A Pakistani corporate sector perspective. City University Research Journal, 10(1), 121–139. Suzuki & Hur, 2019).

Tamer, G. (2021). the Role of Ethical Leadership in Increasing Employees’ Organizational Commitment and Performance: the Case of Healthcare Professionals. Journal of Life Economics, 133–146.Ugadan & Park, 2017).

van Loon, N., Kjeldsen, A. M., Andersen, L. B., Vandenabeele, W., & Leisink, P. (2018). Only When the Societal Impact Potential Is High? A Panel Study of the Relationship Between Public Service Motivation and Perceived Performance. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 38(2), 139–166.

Vandenabeele, W., Ritz, A., & Neumann, O. (2017). Public Service Motivation: State of the Art and Conceptual Cleanup. The Palgrave Handbook of Public Administration and Management in Europe, 261–278. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-55269-3_13

Vogel, M. D. (2020). When service calls: Public service motivation and calling as complementary concepts for public service. International Public Management Journal, 1–19.

Wadei, K. A., Chen, L., Frempong, J., & Appienti, W. A. (2020). The Mediation Effect of Ethical Leadership and Creative Performance: A Social Information Processing Perspective. The Journal of Creative Behavior. , Vol. 0, Iss. 0, pp. 1–14

Walumbwa, F.O., Morrison, E.W. and Christensen, A.L. (2012), “Ethical leadership and group in-role performance: the mediating roles of group conscientiousness and group voice”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 953-964

Ward, K. D. (2017). Suited to Serve: The Antecedents and Perceptions of Public Service Motivation in National Service. International Public Management Journal, 1–25.

Wright, Bradley E., Shahidul Hassan, and Jongsoo Park. 2016. Does a Public Service Ethic Encourage Ethical Behaviour? Public Service Motivation, Ethical Leadership and the Willingness to Report Ethical Problems. Public Administration, 94(3): 647–63.

Wu, Q., Cherian, J., Samad, S., Comite, U., Hu, H., Gunnlaugsson, S. B., Oláh, J., & Sial, M. S. (2021). The role of CSR and ethical leadership to shape employees’ pro-environmental behavior in the era of industry 4.0. a case of the banking sector. Sustainability (Switzerland), 13(17).

Yahaya, R., & Ebrahim, F. (2016). Leadership styles and organizational commitment: literature review. Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 190–216.

Zheng, D., Witt, L. A., Waite, E., David, E.M., van Driel, M., McDonald, D. P., ... Crepeau, L. J. (2015). Effects of ethical leadership on emotional exhaustion in high moral intensity situations. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(5), 732–748.

Yang, Q. and Wei, H. (2017), "Ethical leadership and employee task performance: examining moderated mediation process", Management Decision, Vol. 55 No. 7, pp. 1506-1520.

Zhu, C. and Wu, C. (2016), "Public service motivation and organizational performance in Chinese provincial governments", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 770-786.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 5489 | views : 4554


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Journal of Leadership in Organizations

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Journal of Leadership in Organizations


Editorial Team
Focus and Scope
Peer Review Process
Publication Ethics
Screening for Plagiarism      


Author Guidelines
Submission Guidelines               
Online Submissions
Copyright Notice
Privacy Statement   
Author Fees            


Reviewer Guidelines      


General Search
Author index
Title index                       



Journal of Leadership in Organizations (JLO), with registered number ISSN 2656-8829 (Print) and ISSN 2656-8810 (Online), is published by the Center for Leadership Studies, Department of Management, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Gadjah Mada. The content of this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

© 2019 Journal of Leadership in Organizations