Why and When Employees Like to Speak up More Under Humble Leaders? The Roles of Personal Sense of Power and Power Distance

Author:  Xiaoshuang Lin¡¢Zhen Xiong Chen¡¢Herman H. M. Tse¡¢WEI Wu(Department of Business Administration)*¡¢Chao Ma
Publication:  Journal of Business Ethics£¬11 October 2017
Abstract:  Research investigating the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions under which leader humility influences employee voice remains underdeveloped. Drawing from approach¨Cinhibition theory of power and leader humility literature, we developed a moderated-mediation model in which personal sense of power (i.e., employees¡¯ ability to influence other individuals such as their leader) was theorized as a unique mechanism underlining why employees feel motivated to speak up under the supervision of humble leaders. Additionally, the cultural value of power distance was proposed to be a relevant boundary condition to influence such relationship. We tested the model using time-lagged supervisor¨Csubordinate matched data. Results of mixed models analyses provided support for our hypotheses confirming that employees¡¯ personal sense of power mediates the relationship between leader humility and employee voice, and such relationship was found to be stronger when employees¡¯ power distance was lower rather than higher.

[Keywords] Leader humility; Personal sense of power; Voice; The approach¨Cinhibition theory of power