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Multiple sources of support, affective commitment, and citizenship behaviors: The moderating role of passive leadership

Denis Chênevert (Department of Human Resources Management, HEC Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Christian Vandenberghe (HEC Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada)
Michel Tremblay (Department of HRM, HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine the moderating role of passive leadership in the relationships of perceived support from organization, coworkers, and physicians to affective commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) among hospital employees.


Using a sample of 182 hospital employees and a time-lagged design in which predictors and moderator were assessed at Time 1 and self-reported OCB was obtained 2.5 years later, the authors examined whether passive leadership moderates the relationships of perceived supports to commitment and their indirect effects on OCB.


Analyses indicate that at high levels of passive leadership, the relationship between support from organization and coworkers and commitment is less positive and the relationship between support from physicians and commitment is negative. Moreover, the indirect effect of perceived support from coworkers and physicians on OCB through affective commitment is weaker at high levels of passive leadership.

Research limitations/implications

Although the data used were self-reported, the analyses show that method variance accounted for only 9 percent of the variance among constructs at Time 1. Findings contribute to highlight the boundary conditions associated with perceived support and establish that passive leadership severely limits the beneficial effects expected from support available to employees.

Practical implications

Findings suggest that supervisors should be trained not only on improving positive leadership skills but also on reducing passive behaviors in the face of problems in their teams.


This study extends the understanding of social exchange processes in organizations and invites managers and researchers to look at factors that slow down the development of social exchange relationships with employees.



This paper has been written thanks to funding from the Canada Research Chairs program to Christian Vandenberghe.


Chênevert, D., Vandenberghe, C. and Tremblay, M. (2015), "Multiple sources of support, affective commitment, and citizenship behaviors: The moderating role of passive leadership", Personnel Review, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 69-90.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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