Rethinking ethical climate: conjoint elevation of life satisfaction and customer-orientation through a stronger inner life

BAYKAL E., Bhatti O., Irfan M., Zakaria N. B.

Journal of Organizational Change Management, 2024 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/jocm-06-2023-0262
  • Journal Name: Journal of Organizational Change Management
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, INSPEC, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: Customer-orientation, IL, Life satisfaction, Organizational climate, Organizational ethical climate, Spirituality
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: In this study, to empirically test the relationship between ethical organizational climate, inner life (IL) and life satisfaction (LS) of employees, a field study was conducted on white-collar personnel working in the service sector in the Istanbul region. The main purpose was to extract an approach that could be applied to simultaneously boost LS and customer orientation for effective service delivery by organizations. Design/methodology/approach: A two-wave time-lagged survey design was used to collect the data over a period of three months. Two sets of self-administrated survey questionnaires were developed for both waves, containing the details of the study and items for measuring variables. The questionnaires were developed in such a manner that the anonymity of the respondents and ethical considerations remained intact. In the first wave, data were collected for two variables, i.e. organizational ethical climate and IL. The measurement scale for organizational ethical climate was adapted from the study of DeBode et al. (2013) and for IL from the study of Fry et al. (2017). In the second wave, data on the remaining two variables (LS and organizational customer orientation) were collected. Direct effects and indirect effects in the hypotheses were tested by structural equation modeling (SEM). Findings: This study has found that the organizational ethical climate strengthens the inner lives of employees, which is vital for the organizations from two angles: one, strong IL of an employee enhances his/her own LS and two, stronger IL accentuates customer orientation. Research limitations/implications: The fact that the context of this study is limited to Turkey and that the participants are selected from among white-collar personnel working in the service sector reduces the representativeness of the research result. In this sense, in the next stages, the model of the research can be retested in different industries or cross-cultural studies can be designed by comparing the study results with samples from different geographies, so that the validity of these relations for different cultures can be seen. Practical implications: The implications of this study revealed that employees will enjoy their lives more when authorities in organizations adopt organizational policies supporting the inner lives of employees, feel respect for their private areas and make the organizational climate more ethical. Hence, with practices such as workplace spirituality or spiritual leadership that support the inner lives of employees, the motivation and satisfaction of employees can be increased. Social implications: This study revealed that inner life strength makes people comparative more ethical in their dealings, which gives them a sense of achievement and enhances work meaningfulness, boosting LS and customer-orientation. The findings of this study are vital for leaders, as they can achieve a conjoint elevation of the LS of their employees and enhance customer orientation for higher organizational performance. Originality/value: This study is original in emphasizing the positive effect of spiritually powerful inner-life customer-orientedness in employees with empirical proof.