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Leader-member exchange and subjective well-being: the moderating role of metacognitive cultural intelligence

Huong Le (Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Zhou Jiang (College of Business, Government and Law, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)
Katrina Radford (Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, Griffith University - Gold Coast Campus, Southport, Australia)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 13 August 2020

Issue publication date: 10 March 2021




This study examines employees' metacognitive cultural intelligence as a moderator in the relationship between leader-member exchange (LMX) and employees' subjective well-being.


We tested the conceptual model using regression analysis from a sample of 462 migrant workers in Australia.


The results demonstrated that employees' metacognitive cultural intelligence moderated the relationship between LMX and employees' subjective well-being in such a way that the effect was stronger among those employees with lower levels of metacognitive cultural intelligence.

Research limitations/implications

The cross-sectional design, with self-reporting at one point in time, could affect a causal relationship among variables, although each relationship was built on strong theoretical perspectives. However, prior research emphasizes that a single source is not considered to be an issue when interactions are examined.

Practical implications

One way to improve metacognitive cultural intelligence for global leadership effectiveness could be through the introduction of diversity and cross-cultural training, such as didactic programs provided either in-house or by external institutions.


Drawing on Conservation of Resources theory, this paper contributes to the literature by demonstrating that employees' metacognitive cultural intelligence is a boundary condition that alters the strengths of the LMX–subjective well-being relationship.



Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.The authors thankfully acknowledge the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this paper.


Le, H., Jiang, Z. and Radford, K. (2020), "Leader-member exchange and subjective well-being: the moderating role of metacognitive cultural intelligence", Personnel Review, Vol. 50 No. 3, pp. 954-970.



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