Original Research

Ethical leadership and staff retention: The moderating role of job resources in Uganda’s healthcare sector

Thomas S. Mayende, Ibrahim A. Musenze
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 44 | a1531 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v44i0.1531 | © 2018 Thomas S. Mayende, Ibrahim A. Musenze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 February 2018 | Published: 01 November 2018

About the author(s)

Thomas S. Mayende, Faculty of Business and Management, ICT University, Cameroon
Ibrahim A. Musenze, Department of Economics and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Busitema University, Uganda; and Department of Marketing and Management, Makerere University Business School, Uganda, Uganda


Orientation: Retention of quality staff in a highly competitive and dynamic working environment has made retention research necessary. Current focus is on how job resources influence ethical leadership in driving staff retention. Studies investigating the moderation effect of job resources in the ethical leadership–staff retention sequence in Uganda’s healthcare sector are scarce. Thus, the establishment of the moderation effect of job resources in the ethical leadership–staff retention sequence was needed.

Research purpose: This study aimed at examining the moderating role of job resources in the association between ethical leadership and staff retention.

Motivation for the study: Staff retention in Uganda’s healthcare sector is pervasive even with several government interventions such as salary enhancement. Rising maternal and infant mortality rates, low immunisation coverage, inter alia, are some of the effects. Reversing this scenario calls for leaders to exercise ethical leadership.

Research approach/design and method: This study utilised a cross-sectional research design. Analyses were conducted by SPSS v. 21 on a sample of 214 healthcare workers.

Main findings: The results show that ethical leadership positively affects staff retention. Also, the moderation role of the composite job resources variable in the ethical leadership–staff retention sequence was significant.

Practical/managerial implications: This study demonstrated the important contribution of both ethical leadership and job resources in staff retention management.

Contribution/value-add: This moderation model offers an additional complete explanation for the moderating effect of job resources in these conditions. The study also contributes to theory by demonstrating that contrary to the previous investigations where ethical leadership has been studied as an outcome variable, it is a predictor variable of staff retention.


ethical leadership; job resources; staff retention; moderation


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