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The relationships among workplace role modeling, learning goal orientation and proactive behavior

Makoto Matsuo (Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 16 February 2023

Issue publication date: 26 February 2024




Although learning goal orientation (LGO) has shown to promote learning and performance in employees, only a limited number of studies have explored its situational antecedents. The main purpose of the present research was to examine the effects of role modeling on employee LGO and proactive behavior.


A two-wave survey was conducted to collect data from medical employees (n = 478) at an acute hospital in Japan.


The results of structural equation modeling showed that role model proactive behavior promoted employee LGO, mediated through perceived role model LGO; and that perceived role model LGO enhanced employee proactive behavior, mediated through employee LGO.

Research limitations/implications

As the sample was limited to employees in a nursing department at a Japanese hospital, the characteristics of the national culture and occupation may have potentially affected the results.

Practical implications

Proactive employees can act as role models to enhance the level of employees' LGO and proactive behavior in organizations. It is imperative to develop employee role modeling to enhance LGO and proactive behavior.


This study may be the first to identify the influence of role modeling as an antecedent of LGO. The role model may provide employees with job resources to develop their LGO and proactive behaviors.



Funding: This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science [grant number 21K01693].


Matsuo, M. (2024), "The relationships among workplace role modeling, learning goal orientation and proactive behavior", Personnel Review, Vol. 53 No. 2, pp. 420-434.



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