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The curvilinear relationship between servant leadership and work-family conflict: the moderating role of age in Chinese female workers

Lei Xie (Department of Organization, Workforce and Leadership Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Shaoping Qiu (Department of Industrial Distribution, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Xinyi Bian (Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 8 June 2021

Issue publication date: 22 June 2021

344

Abstract

Purpose

Building on social exchange theory and selection, optimization and compensation theory, this study aims to examine a moderated curvilinear relationship between servant leadership (SL) and work-family conflict (WFC).

Design/methodology/approach

Participants were 329 female workers recruited from a Chinese small business in the service Industry. A three-step hierarchical regression was conducted to examine the relationships among the variables and the incremental contribution of SL and age and the squared term of SL.

Findings

Study results confirmed a curvilinear relationship between SL and WFC and the moderating effect of age. When younger female employees perceived a moderate range of SL from their supervisors, they reported higher WFC compared to the low or high level of perceived SL. On the contrary, senior female employees reported a lower level of WFC when they perceived a moderate level of SL than when they perceived very low or high levels.

Originality/value

SL research has experienced a period of exponential growth in the past decade. This study advanced the field of leadership by arguing that SL perceived by female employees is curvilinearly related to WFC and the curvilinear relationship is moderated by age.

Keywords

Citation

Xie, L., Qiu, S. and Bian, X. (2021), "The curvilinear relationship between servant leadership and work-family conflict: the moderating role of age in Chinese female workers", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 53 No. 3, pp. 294-309. https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-12-2020-0114

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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