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Servant leadership and career success: the effects of career skills and proactive personality

Zhen Wang (School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)
Kun Yu (School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)
Ruobing Xi (School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)
Xiaodan Zhang (Dongxing Securities Co., Ltd, Beijing, China)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 15 October 2019

Issue publication date: 25 October 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of servant leadership on followers’ subjective career success and the mediating role of career skills. The moderating effect of followers’ proactive personality is also investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper collected two-wave matched data from 283 employees of an IT company. The authors use hierarchical regression and bootstrapping to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Servant leadership has a positive effect on career satisfaction and perceived employability through career skills. In addition, proactive personality moderates the association between servant leadership and career skills, such that the relationship is stronger when proactive personality is high. Proactive personality also moderates the indirect effect of servant leadership on career satisfaction and perceived employability.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that organizations should select and train leaders to practice servant leadership to enhance employee subjective career success.

Originality/value

This is the first study to investigate the mechanism and boundary conditions of the association between servant leadership and employee subjective career success.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 71971211 and 71702184) and Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (18YJC630192).

Citation

Wang, Z., Yu, K., Xi, R. and Zhang, X. (2019), "Servant leadership and career success: the effects of career skills and proactive personality", Career Development International, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 717-730. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-03-2019-0088

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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