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Authoritarian leadership and employee silence in China

  • Jinyun Duan (a1), Chanzi Bao (a2), Caiyun Huang (a3) and Chad Thomas Brinsfield (a4)

We examine the relationship between authoritarian leadership and employee silence behaviour with 324 employees in 16 state-owned manufacturing enterprises in China. We draw from theories of motivation and person–environment fit to explain the mediating roles of psychological safety and organization-based self-esteem, and the moderating effects of power distance orientation. Regression analyses show that authoritarian leadership has a positive relationship with employee silence behaviour. Mediation analyses show that both psychological safety and organization-based self-esteem partially mediate the relationship between authoritarian leadership and employee silence. Moderation analysis revealed that the direct relationship between authoritarian leadership and employee silence behaviour is stronger for employees with high (as opposed to low) power distance orientation. Additionally, moderated-mediation analyses show that the mediating effects of both psychological safety and organization-based self-esteem are stronger for employees with low (as opposed to high) power distance orientation. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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