Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Keith Mathis


Ethical Leadership, Ethical Behavior, Banks, Social Learning Theory, Stakeholder Theory


Business | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Leadership Studies


Unethical behavior in business and banking has cost Americans significantly throughout the past several decades. Ethical lapses in banking contributed to the financial disaster of 2008-09, resulted in thousands of families losing their homes, cost consumers millions in bogus overdraft fees, resulted in millions of phony accounts customers did not agree to open, and cost end users billions in credit card fees, just to name a few of the transgressions. This study utilized Brown, Harrison, and Travino’s (2005) Ethical Leadership Scale (ELS) to measure ethical leadership and Kaptein’s (2008) Measure of Unethical Behavior in the Workplace to measure ethical behavior in the large, publicly traded United States-based banks. The researcher combined the measurement tools to test for the presence of ethical leadership and perceived ethical behavior and the relationship between the two variables. The research found both perceived ethical leadership and observed ethical behavior present in the study group and a statistically significant relationship between them. The study also found significant ethical behavior toward many stakeholder groups including financiers, customers, employees, suppliers, and society.