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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2021

Jiang Xu, Jih-Yu Mao and Ye Zhang

Although leader humility is generally considered a positive leadership behavior, this study aims to examine when the positive influences of leader humility are likely weakened.

Abstract

Purpose

Although leader humility is generally considered a positive leadership behavior, this study aims to examine when the positive influences of leader humility are likely weakened.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from a two-wave survey. Ordinary least squares regression analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Although leader humility is positively related to perceived leader support, this relationship is weakened when the environment is uncertain, resulting in comparatively lower follower performance.

Practical implications

Leaders should be aware that environmental constraints may weaken the desired outcomes of humility and therefore adapt leadership to situational needs.

Originality/value

Contrasting to predominant research on leader humility, this study examines a critical boundary condition by which its positive influences are compromised. In light of the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19, this study suggests that what usually are considered positive characteristics of leader humility are likely perceived as little leader support when the environment is uncertain. Findings of this study echo contingency leadership theories, which suggest that effective leadership should be context-dependent.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

John Hartley

Philosophers and political theorists have long warned of the “perils of dogmatism” for public discourse and identified intellectual humility as a necessary corrective…

Abstract

Philosophers and political theorists have long warned of the “perils of dogmatism” for public discourse and identified intellectual humility as a necessary corrective. Sufficient intellectual humility encompasses at least four elements: openness to error, recognition of bias, recognition of intellectual parity in interlocutors, and avoidance of recourse to authority. Religions seem to present obstacles on all four fronts, particularly when actors embody more conservative renderings of a given religion’s repertoire. As such, a case involving different groups of religious exclusivists engaging one another on topics that directly interact their deepest faith commitments and political visions presents a useful test case for our theories of intellectual humility. This chapter considers conservative protestants engaging in public discourse with Muslims about whether or not Muslim and Christian understandings of “loving God” and “loving neighbor” have sufficient overlap to support political cooperation. The results of the dialogue effort were a mixture of controversy and cooperation. For evangelicals, the engagement produced sharp conflict and yet helped to shift the community’s plausibility structures, opening further the possibility of fruitful public discourse and strategic action in cooperation with Muslims. The analysis suggests a conceptualization of practical intellectual humility that emphasizes recognition of the other.

Details

Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Book part
Publication date: 15 July 2019

Melissa A. Norcross and Michael R. Manning

The presence and practice of individual and organizational humility has the power to enable organizational growth and change. Humility drives behaviors associated with…

Abstract

The presence and practice of individual and organizational humility has the power to enable organizational growth and change. Humility drives behaviors associated with learning and the ability to embrace the value of existing mental models while valuing the insights offered by new perspectives and approaches. This paradox-savvy practice, observed in humble individuals and organizations, allows them to appropriately value what is working about the existing system while simultaneously embracing the need for change. Our research finds humble behaviors emerging within psychologically safe environments that foster an attitude of inquiry, kinship, extraordinary collaboration, and professional excellence. Humble behaviors, at every organizational level, appear to enhance both individual and group capabilities that drive long term strategic advantage. Five capabilities were identified in our research: diverse networks, shared values, flexibility and adaptability, judgment and decision-making, and organizational learning. We bring these concepts to life by synthesizing established and emerging research, as well as diving deeply into an empirical case study that leverages humble practices in order to effectively drive organizational change. We argue that humility can impact organizing at all levels (individuals, leaders, followers, teams, executives, and organizations) and in so doing create the conditions in which sustainable organizational change can flourish.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-554-3

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Article
Publication date: 23 June 2021

Hui Chen, Qiaozhuan Liang, Chao Feng and Yue Zhang

Drawing on self-determination theory, this study explored how leader humility affected employees' proactive behavior through satisfying their psychological needs for…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on self-determination theory, this study explored how leader humility affected employees' proactive behavior through satisfying their psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. Furthermore, based on a contingency view, this paper suggested Chinese traditionality as a significant boundary condition for the effects of leader humility.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 465 employees and 111 direct supervisors in China using a three-wave, two-source design. Hierarchical regression analyses and Hayes' PROCESS macro were applied to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results indicated that leader humility positively affected employee proactive behavior through the mediating mechanisms of psychological need satisfaction (i.e. autonomy, competence and relatedness). Furthermore, these positive effects were stronger among employees with lower Chinese traditionality beliefs.

Originality/value

Although prior research has examined the relationship between leadership and proactive behavior, most extant studies have focused on “top-down” leadership approaches, ignoring the effect of leader humility. Drawing on self-determination theory, the present study makes contributions to both the leader humility research and proactivity literature by identifying psychological need satisfaction as the mechanism and Chinese traditionality as the moderator.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Wes Markofski

Intellectual humility and religious conviction are often posed as antagonistic binaries; the former associated with science, reason, inclusive universality, and liberal…

Abstract

Intellectual humility and religious conviction are often posed as antagonistic binaries; the former associated with science, reason, inclusive universality, and liberal secularism, the latter with superstition, dogma, exclusive particularity, and rigid traditionalism. Despite popular images of white American evangelicals as the embodied antithesis of intellectual humility, responsiveness to facts, and openness to the other, this article demonstrates how evangelicals can and do practice intellectual humility in public life while simultaneously holding fast to particularistic religious convictions. Drawing on textual analysis and multi-site ethnographic data, it demonstrates how observed evangelical practices of transposable and segmented reflexivity map onto pluralist, domain-specific conceptualizations of intellectual humility in the philosophical and psychological literature. It further argues that the effective practice of intellectual humility in the interests of ethical democracy does not require religious actors to abandon particularistic religious reasons for universal secular ones. Rather, particularistic religious convictions can motivate effective practices of intellectual humility and thereby support democratic pluralism, inclusivity, and solidarity across difference. More broadly, it aims to challenge, or at least complicate, the widespread notion that increasing strength of religious conviction always moves in lockstep with increasing dogmatism, tribalism, and intellectual unreasonableness.

Details

Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Dawne Moon and Theresa W. Tobin

Scholars who study humility tend to think of it in highly individualized terms, such as an absence of vanity or an accurate self-assessment. Individuating definitions can…

Abstract

Scholars who study humility tend to think of it in highly individualized terms, such as an absence of vanity or an accurate self-assessment. Individuating definitions can lead to such jarring concepts as the “humble white supremacist” (Roberts & Wood, 2007). Qualitative sociological research in the (predominantly North American) evangelical movement to accept and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) identities, same-sex marriage, and sex/gender transition reveals that humility is not simply the awareness that “I could be wrong.” That awareness is rooted in what we have found to be humility’s defining element, concern to foster relationship. These findings prompt us to define humility as a fundamentally social disposition, as concern to protect the kinds of intimate connection with others that can transform the self. Recognizing the social nature of humility reveals why humility is incompatible with injustice.

Details

Religion, Humility, and Democracy in a Divided America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-949-7

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Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Devin Bin, Keo Mony Sok, Phyra Sok and Sonariddh Mao

Prior studies have mainly advanced the understanding of a linear relationship between leadership humility and employee work outcomes, mediated and/or moderated by various…

Abstract

Purpose

Prior studies have mainly advanced the understanding of a linear relationship between leadership humility and employee work outcomes, mediated and/or moderated by various individual, team and organizational variables. This study attempts to advance prior knowledge by investigating a potential curvilinear relationship between leadership humility and frontline service employee (FSE) performance and the role of FSE's psychological capital (PsyCap) in attenuating this curvilinear relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were drawn from a survey sample of 273 FSEs working in the hospitality industry of the United States of America. Hierarchical linear regression analysis was used to test the proposed hypotheses.

Findings

The results uncover the existence of a tipping point in the relationship between leader humility and FSE performance; that is, humble behaviors expressed by leaders positively influence FSE performance up to the tipping point beyond which FSE performance starts to diminish. However, this curvilinear effect is attenuated when FSE's PsyCap is high but not when it is low.

Practical implications

The findings provide service managers with insights into the importance of balancing their humble behaviors to yield optimal FSE performance. Furthermore, the paper points to the need for FSE's PsyCap cultivation within service firms so that FSEs are less dependent on their supervisors and can deliver highly satisfactory results.

Originality/value

This research is one of the very first to investigate the curvilinear relationship between leader humility and FSE performance and the moderating role of PsyCap in attenuating the curvilinear effect.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2020

Simone Meskelis and J. Lee Whittington

The purpose of this study is to contribute to the understanding of how personality traits and leadership styles impact employee engagement.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to contribute to the understanding of how personality traits and leadership styles impact employee engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

A field study involving a total of 100 participants was conducted to investigate the relationship between honesty–humility, authentic leadership and employee engagement. Hypotheses were tested using correlation and regression analyses.

Findings

The results show that honesty–humility impacts employee engagement and that authentic leadership functions as a substitute for honesty–humility.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies are necessary to examine how honesty–humility interacts with other leadership styles. Further studies can also expand the understanding of this relationship across different cultures.

Practical implications

Employees bring engagement to work through their individual traits but organizations can help create an environment that fosters engagement through positive leadership behavior such as authentic leadership.

Originality/value

This study extends the understanding of the role of individual differences beyond the established Big Five model, by adding the honesty–humility dimension. In addition, the authors examine the moderating effects of authentic leadership on the relationship between honesty–humility and engagement.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 17 April 2020

Guo Qiuyun, Wenxing Liu, Kong Zhou and Jianghua Mao

The authors examined the relationship between leader humility and employee organizational deviance. They also tested the mediating effects of personal sense of power and…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors examined the relationship between leader humility and employee organizational deviance. They also tested the mediating effects of personal sense of power and the moderating effects of organizational identification on this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors tested their hypotheses using a sample of 186 employees from an information technology (IT) enterprise in China. They used hierarchical regression and bootstrapping analyses to test for direct and indirect relationships.

Findings

Sense of power mediated the effect of leader humility on organizational deviance and organizational identification moderated the effect of sense of power on organizational deviance. In addition, organizational identification mediated the indirect effect of leader humility on organizational deviance via sense of power. Thus, employees who demonstrate high organizational identification may not conduct organizational deviant behavior, even if they have a high sense of power.

Practical implications

Organizations should explore and practice effective leader humility. Selection and training programs should be developed to choose humble leaders and teach them how to exhibit moderate humility.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to the literature by revealing the negative effects of leader humility in Chinese culture. They find support for their hypotheses that employee sense of power mediates the relationship between leader humility and employee organizational deviance and that this relationship is weaker when employee organizational identification is higher. This clarifies how and why leader humility stimulates employee organizational deviance.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 41 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2020

Sara McClellan

Wicked problems, cross-sectoral and transregional collaborations, emerging technologies and calls for innovation generate exciting but unpredictable transformations in…

Abstract

Purpose

Wicked problems, cross-sectoral and transregional collaborations, emerging technologies and calls for innovation generate exciting but unpredictable transformations in governance. Emerging research suggests humility, rather than certitude, represents a promising ethos for public leaders working to solve problems in tumultuous times. This study examines the nature, value and practice of humility in public administration (PA) leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

This study reviews cross-disciplinary research on the nature and value of humility and emerging findings and debates on humility assessment measures. It analyzes discourse among graduate students in US PA classes and uses ethnographic analysis from workshops with local government leaders to identify institutional dynamics that may influence leaders' willingness to act with humility.

Findings

Findings suggest that although PA students and leaders may value humility, they encounter institutional constraints related to public sector legitimacy and narratives about expertise and risk. The author proposes a framework to guide future research and practice in humility and public leadership.

Research limitations/implications

Potential constraints emerged from a modest study of courses and workshops; further research is required to test the prevalence of themes across public leadership environments.

Practical implications

Public leaders, teachers and coaches may apply these practices and assessment measures to cultivate humility in PA classes and organizations.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to explore leadership humility with attention to how PA context may influence practice.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

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