The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the temporal dynamics of ethical organisational culture and how it associates with well-being at work when potential changes in ethical culture are measured over an extended period of 6 years. We used a person-centred study design, which allowed us to detect both typical and atypical patterns of ethical culture stability as well as change among a sample of leaders. Based on latent profile analysis and hierarchical linear modelling we found longitudinal, concurrent relations and cumulative gain and loss cycles between different ethical culture patterns and leaders’ well-being. Leaders in the strongest ethical culture pattern experienced the highest level of work engagement and a decreasing level of ethical dilemmas and stress. Leaders who gave the lowest ratings on ethical culture which also decreased over time reported the highest level of ethical dilemmas, stress, and burnout. They also showed a continuous increase in these negative outcomes over time. Thus, ethical culture has significant cumulative effects on well-being, and these longitudinal effects can be both negative and positive, depending on the experienced strength of the culture’s ethicality.

Burnout, Ethical culture, Ethical strain, Leaders, Longitudinal patterns, Work engagement,
Journal of Business Ethics
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Huhtala, M, Kaptein, S.P, Muotka, J. (Joona), & Feldt, T. (2021). Longitudinal Patterns of Ethical Organisational Culture as a Context for Leaders’ Well-Being: Cumulative Effects Over 6 Years. Journal of Business Ethics. doi:10.1007/s10551-021-04744-0