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

Guohua He (School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China, and Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Ran An (School of International Education/School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Patricia Faison Hewlin (Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 4 June 2019

Issue publication date: 31 July 2019

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study is supported by National Social Science Foundation of China (Project No. 16ZDA221), Guangzhou Elite Project for Studying Overseas (Grant No. JY201714), and Guangdong Public Diplomacy and Intercultural Communication Research Center.

The authors would want to thank Professor Elena Obukhova in Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, for her constructive comments at the early stage of this paper. In addition, Guohua He wants to thank the support and care from brilliant, lovely, graceful Xinnian Zheng while studying in Canada.

Citation

He, G., An, R. and Hewlin, P.F. (2019), "Paternalistic leadership and employee well-being: a moderated mediation model", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 645-663. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-10-2018-0724

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited