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How line-manager leadership styles and employee-perceived HRM practices contribute to employee performance: a configurational perspective

Bolong Liu (Jilin Jianzhu University, Changchun, China)
Zhisong Cui (Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang, China)
Chilombo Namwinga Nanyangwe (Jilin University, Changchun, China)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 28 February 2023

Issue publication date: 8 March 2023




This paper aims to carry out a study on the combined effects of leadership styles and human resource management (HRM) practices on employee performance. Based on configurational theory, this study integrates task-oriented leadership, relations-oriented leadership, change-oriented leadership and human resource hygiene practices (HRHPs) and human resource motivation practices (HRMPs) to detect distinct configurations of leadership styles and HRM practices that may lead to high and not-high employee performance.


Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) was adopted to identify the configurations of conditions associated with the outcome, with data obtained from 108 employees and 32 line-managers in China through structured interview and questionnaire survey.


The results show that there are five sufficient configurations for the presence of high employee performance and three for performance's absence. Relation-oriented leadership, HRMPs and enterprise property are more important conditions to employee performance than others. Furthermore, no single condition constitutes a necessary condition for causing the high or not-high employee performance.


Compared to previous studies that mainly focused on linear relationships, this study applies the fsQCA method to explore how matching different leadership styles and HRM practices could bring about high and not-high employee performance, which provides evidence for the three propositions of “multiple conjunctural causation,” “equifinality” and “asymmetry.”



This research was supported by grants from the Innovation Development Strategy of Science and Technology Department of Jilin Province (2022061068FG), the Science and Technology Project of Jiangxi Provincial Department of Education (GJJ2200555), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (72262018).


Liu, B., Cui, Z. and Nanyangwe, C.N. (2023), "How line-manager leadership styles and employee-perceived HRM practices contribute to employee performance: a configurational perspective", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 156-171.



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