Date of Award

Winter 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Marketing and Analysis

First Advisor

Timothy Barnett


The primary focus of this study was to provide an empirical evaluation of the relationship between perceptions of ethical work climate and organizational citizenship behavior. The study also investigated covenantal relations as a mediator of that relationship.

The sample for this research was comprised of subordinates and supervisors representing two locations of a national retail sales organization. Data were collected using both subordinate and supervisor responses. Subordinates reported on their perceptions of ethical work climate, covenantal relations between themselves and the organization, and their organizational citizenship behavior. Supervisors reported their perceptions of the subordinates' organizational citizenship behavior. Scales used to measure the constructs have been previously reported in the literature and have been tested for validity and reliability. The primary statistical technique used to test the research hypotheses was mediated regression analysis.

The data in this study support the multidimensionality of both ethical work climate and organizational citizenship behavior. Respondents differentiated among four ethical work climates: self-interest, proximal and distal benevolence, and rules and codes, which had varied effects on organizational citizenship behavior. Respondents also distinguished among three forms of organizational citizenship behavior: obedience, loyalty, and participation.

Regression results supported the hypotheses that covenantal relations was associated with ethical work climate. Results generally supported the relationship between covenantal relations and the subordinates' perceptions of organizational citizenship behavior. General support was also found for the relationship between ethical work climate and subordinate perceptions of organizational citizenship behavior. Covenantal relations was supported as a mediator of that relationship. However, these hypotheses were not supported when supervisors' perceptions of organizational citizenship behavior were studied.

These findings suggest that managers should build and foster covenantal relations to promote organizational citizenship behaviors. The findings also imply that managers may affect individual behavior by developing and promoting certain types of ethical work climates. Important implications may also be drawn from the perceptual differences between the supervisors and the subordinates regarding these relationships.