Yes, I may be bad because I was good: Humble leaders and unethical behaviors

Bharanitharan Karunanithi, Somayeh Bahmanni, Kevin B. Lowe

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


Prior research on the effects of leader humility implies that the more humility the leader exhibits, the greater the positive effect on recipients (e.g., followers and teams). However, little to no attention has so far been paid to the effects on the actors (e.g., leaders), who espouse humble behavior. In response to recent calls to theorize and examine how selfless humility impacts these actors, drawing on theories of moral licensing and accountability, this research has adopted an actor- centric approach to examine the mechanisms through which selfless humility transforms to self- oriented behaviors, namely, unethical behaviors for organization (pseudo beneficial) and unethical behaviors toward organization (detrimental), and ways to mitigate those outcomes. Results from a survey-based study provide general support for the proposed hypotheses, particularly; pseudo beneficial outcome suggests that attention is needed to balance the benefits of leaders humble behavior for leaders through relational accountability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationthe 78th Academy of Management Annual Meeting
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Chicago, Chicago, United States
Duration: 10 Aug 201814 Oct 2018


Conference78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Abbreviated titleAOM 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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