Paternalistic leadership and employee well-being: a moderated mediation model


Published: 12Sep2019
Patricia Hewlin

Authors: Guohua He, Ran An, and Patricia Faison Hewlin

Publication: Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3, August 2019, Pages 645-663


Purpose – This paper aims to explore the psychological mechanism in the relationship between paternalistic leadership (PL) and employee well-being (EWB) in cross-cultural nonprofit organizations. It also aims to further promote the integration of research on PL and self-concept by examining the relationship between PL and collective self-concept (CSC).

Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected on 72 supervisors and 233 expatriate Chinese teachers from 42 Confucius Institutes and 15 Confucius classrooms in Canada and the USA.

Findings – PL has a significant effect on EWB. Benevolent and moral leadership are positively related to CSC, while authoritarian leadership is negatively related to CSC. CSC mediates the relationship between PL and EWB. Furthermore, employees’ cross-cultural adaptability positively moderates the relationship between CSC and EWB; the indirect effect between PL and EWB via CSC is stronger for employees with stronger cross-cultural adaptability.

Originality/value – This is the first study that has examined the psychological mechanism under which PL affects EWB in cross-cultural nonprofit organizations. It contributes to the integration of research on PL and CSC by examining its relationship for the first time. It provides important implications for improving the well-being of expatriate employees in cross-cultural organizations.

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