For Adopting to the environment and the survival, organizations must have organizational health which is fulfilled through the law or ethics and also effectiveness of ethics would be better in organization long term success. Ethics consideration plays a vital role which makes it possible to distinguish good and bad behavior. However, leaders of organizations should be bound to an acceptable morality with no expectance and be a key source of ethical guidelines for the personnel. On the other hand, recent scandals have caused a new interest getting promoted in topics including Altruism, honesty, empowerment, fairness and justice . This led to exploration of ethical leadership concept in the early 20st century . Subjects such as Ethical leadership, Ethical leader behavior, Leadership ethics, Moralized leadership, Responsible leadership and Managerial ethical leadership, Social responsibility have been suggested . Expectations and functional objectives have been completely determined In the ethical leadership of responsibilities and inferiors are aware of duties and expected function level . These leaders always emphasize on justice among concerned ones in and out of organization, improvement personnel, participation of concerned ones and creating social responsibility .
Fidelity to Ethical values, ethical leadership feature which encourage personnel to improve their function by fair behavior and will always consider personnel's’ benefits, promote justice and friendship among them in an indirect manner in order to trust in him.
On this path, ethical norms are considered in every aspect and through the social learning mechanism, transfers to the inferiors that the personnel are also eager to act according to their leaders’ behavior. Ethical management is not a manager’s behavior only, but also is meant to high ethical standards of his. In addition to effective preventive attempts on followers’ ethical behaviors, they also prosecute ethical guidelines-based connections and imposing the responsibility of the personnel . According to theory of social learning personnel will learn the way of interacting with others through important audiences’ behavior imitation and monitoring namely organizations’ leaders’ . However should be mentioned that experimental experience of this theory specifically about ethical leadership hasn’t been evaluated enough . Nowadays promotion of ethical leadership is under consideration in every management levels  and researchers believe that these leaders play a vital role.
Ethical leadership and its behavioral dimensions are linked to the various attitudes and behaviors of followers, including organizational commitment, satisfaction with leader, trust in Management, job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior .Corporate directors and managers should learn to recognize the value and significance of ethical leadership in a firm, an area that has received increasing attention in corporate world. They should integrate ethical leadership into the core values and visions of the firm, as well as the basic norms of the business. As well as establishing, endorsing and communicating the value and meaning of ethical leadership throughout the firm, directors and top managements themselves should be actively engaged in meaning-making and practices of good ethical leadership and should also show a good ethical management skill in general . Achieving a state of inner wellbeing is among the ultimate purposes of human life, which is also sought in career and professional life . In fact, enjoying high levels of wellbeing is a major indicator of one’s social progress . Wellbeing is a mixture of motivation and an agreeable feeling which points to an emotional state suggesting that a low level of wellbeing negatively affects organization ; that is because workers experiencing poor health and wellbeing at work may be less productive, make lower quality decisions, be more prone to absence from work and make consistently diminishing overall contributions to organization . In organizations, research on job satisfaction represents a hedonic approach to understanding psychological wellbeing: job satisfaction is defined in terms of employees’ subjective judgments on their work situations . Job-specific wellbeing signifies one’s feeling about oneself in relation to job . In a body of research, salient components of job wellbeing, such as job involvement and satisfaction, are considered as the key factors in shaping subjective wellbeing that includes life satisfaction . Nurses are vital components of health-care systems, forming the largest group of professionals in a hospital. Nurses are vital components of health-care systems, forming the largest group of professionals in a hospital . This study, consistent with the mainline research on subjective wellbeing, which assumes a connection between ethical leadership style and nurses' subjective wellbeing, seeks to find out whether in the understudy organization ethical leadership influences a Nurse's wellbeing and job satisfaction, while the mediating role of job satisfaction is taken into account.
In the current decade, due to some valuable outcomes provided by ethical leadership such as job satisfaction [18, 19], and organizational commitment , a growing number of organizations have shown an interest in improving leader’s effectiveness . Some potential positive consequences of ethical leadership are job satisfaction, employee wellbeing, as well as enhanced individual and organizational performance [22, 23].
From a social learning perspective, ethical leaders consider as role models shaping appropriate behaviors and norms in an organization . Ethical leadership in this point of view defined as the affirmation and promotion of normatively appropriate behavior to followers throughout personal and interpersonal context by two-way communication, reinforcement and decision-making[11, 23, 24, 25].
Ethical leadership is more than behaving well ; An ethical leader combines practical wisdom with moral will, and ethical skills and then finds the right thing . Ethical leaders are thought to be honest and trustworthy. Beyond that, ethical leaders are seen as fair and principled decision-makers who care about people and the broader society and who behave ethically in their personal and professional life .
This leadership style can be conceived of in more concrete terms by a triple behavioral dimension: the first key feature is leader’s ‘fairness,’ described as being fair, trustworthy and honest. In other words, ethical leaders treat others with respect, do not discriminate among others and make fair choices. The second feature is leader’s ‘power sharing’ behavior. Ethical leaders give subordinates a voice, listen to their input, and allow them to take part in decision-making on issues concerning their tasks. Finally, ethical leaders tend to work transparently, clarify expectations, and communicate openly so that followers understand what is desirably expected from them. This aspect of ethical leader’s behavior is labeled ‘role clarification.’. Ethical leaders are promoters of values such as inclusion, collaboration, and social justice . The mechanism or process through which the right values and behaviors are promoted among followers is explained based on the social learning theory . According to this theory, followers tend to pay attention and emulate the attitudes, values, and behaviors of their ethical leaders because their attractiveness and credibility as role models and source of guidance draw attention to their modeled behavior .
Ethical leader and subjective wellbeing
The scientific study of subjective wellbeing has highly expanded in recent years. Various factors have been investigated as possible correlates, causes or consequences of subjective wellbeing . ‘‘Happiness’’ is a lay construct, replete with personal meaning for each of us. In literature, happiness has been generally treated as psychological wellbeing (PWB), also referred to as emotional wellbeing or subjective wellbeing. It is a subjective experience including both the relative presence of positive emotion and the relative absence of negative emotions. And finally, it is a global judgment of one’s life as a whole. Recent research has consistently demonstrated that high levels of PWB can boost performance on the job, while simultaneously increases each individual’s capacity to appreciate new opportunities and experiences . Subjective wellbeing, in working and organizational environments, refers to the employee’s perception and evaluation of the quality of (working) life, social and psychological functioning in those environments . Leaders, managers, supervisors, and employees alike believe that making employees happier and healthier would enhance their effort, contributions and productivity. On the other hand, employee wellbeing works out its impact on performance and permanence of organizations indirectly through reducing the costs associated with illness and health-care, absenteeism, turnover, while promoting discretionary effort, organizational citizenship behavior, and job performance. Accordingly, leaders and managers dedicate substantial organizational resources to boost such a positive feeling in various ways, from professional development and employee recognition practices to healthcare benefits and free employee assistance programs .
Prior research gives evidence on the association between leader’s behavior and employee’s wellbeing, and the impact of leadership styles, including transformational and ethical leadership, on the employee’s subjective wellbeing [e.g. 14, 31]. As the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory suggests, people strive to retain, protect, and build resources and what is threatening to them is the potential or actual loss of these valued resources ; Resources, then, are the single unit necessary for understanding stress. Resources are defined as those objects, personal characteristics, conditions or energies valued by the individual or those that serve as a means of attaining these objects, personal characteristics, conditions, or energies . Resources are ‘‘objects, personal characteristics, conditions, or energies valued in their own right or valued because they act as conduits to the achievement or protection of valued resources’’. COR theory states that resources, such as ethical leadership, help employees to obtain more resources. This starts a positive spiral of resources, which can positively influence wellbeing . Ethical leaders are humanitarian, honest and trustworthy. They encourage employees to express their worries and make just decisions on issues of concern and importance to employees . In doing so, ethical leaders are fair and honest and provide employees with a safety net to fall back on when they experience low levels of wellbeing at work. Thus, employees receive help, care, and emotional support from their leader. Ethical leaders can therefore provide job resources by successfully defending employees, protecting them from unfairness or mobilizing job resources, which positively affect employee’s wellbeing . Now, in the light of the above-mentioned background, the following hypothesis is made:
The direct superior’s ethical leadership has a significant effect on the subjective wellbeing of nurses.
Ethical leadership, job satisfaction and subjective wellbeing
Job satisfaction is a multidimensional concept associated with a variety of psychological and social factors . It is among the most common subjects of analysis in the field of organizational behavior . It is a kind of assessment or appraisal that an individual employee makes of (one’s) work . And is a concept associated with people’s feelings about their job . According to Robbins and Coulter (2007), job satisfaction is an employee’s general attitude to his/her job . Earlier studies found a significant relationship between ethical leadership style and various organizational achievements, including job satisfaction . Indeed, it is the leader’s ethical behavior that either directly or indirectly influences followers’ job satisfaction. Yet in this relationship, there are certain moderating variables such as organization’s ethical climate [23, 9]. Thus, ethical leaders are of influence in an employee’s attitude and behavior and ethical leadership is positively associated with job satisfaction .
The positive relationship between ethical leadership and ethics at an organization level, with followers being pleased with the leader, was also among the results of the research by Ruiz-Palomino et al. (2011). They, additionally, concluded that the significant relationship between ethical leadership and job satisfaction was due to the important role that leaders played in modeling organizational culture and climate. Ethical behaviors of superiors, such as honesty, fairness, empathy, effective listening to and caring for others, being considerate, and modeling ethical behavior will result in an employee’s confidence and assurance and reduce their anxiety when confronted with uncertainty accompanied with the moral challenges of work . Kim and Brymer (2011) consider ethical behaviors of leaders to be involved in an employee’s enhanced job satisfaction and contentment with the current working condition and amount of payment . Hence, in line with previous research findings, the following hypothesis is made:
The direct superior’s ethical leadership has a significant effect on the job satisfaction of nurses.
Subjective wellbeing (SWB) is a compound term used to express life satisfaction, happiness, presence of positive affect, and absence of negative affect. Although in the organizational literature the relationship between job satisfaction and each of the SWB sub-dimensions has been consistently testified [37, 28, 39], the strength of this relationship largely varies from study to study. For example, the job satisfaction and life satisfaction correlations reported so far ranged from .16 [40, 41] to .68 . Similarly, the magnitude of the relationship between job satisfaction and SWB’s dimensions happiness [42, 43], the presence of positive affect [44, 45] and the absence of negative affect [46, 47] is highly inconsistent across studies . As the effect of job satisfaction and its moderating role in the relationship of ethical leadership and subjective wellbeing continues to occupy the mind of the management and organizational scholars as a research question which needs more clarification, we lastly make the following hypothesis:
Job satisfaction significantly mediates the effect of ethical leadership on the subjective wellbeing of nurses.
Given the above three main hypotheses, the research conceptual model is presented as follows: