Skip to main content
×
Home

Authoritarian leadership and employee silence in China

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

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.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: mgjyduan@hotmail.com
References
Hide All
Aiken L. S., & West S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications Inc.
Argyris C., & Schön D. (1978). Organisational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA, USA: Addison-Wesley.
Aryee S., Chen Z. X., Sun L.-Y., & Debrah Y. A. (2007). Antecedents and outcomes of abusive supervision: Test of a trickle-down model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 191201.
Ashford S. J., Rothbard N. P., Piderit S. K., & Dutton J. E. (1998). Out on a limb: The role of context and impression management in selling gender-equity issues. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43, 2357.
Ashford S. J., Sutcliffe K., & Christianson M. K. (2009). Speaking up and speaking out: The leadership dynamics of voice in organizations. In J. Greenberg & M. S. Edwards (Eds.), Voice and silence in organizations (pp. 175201). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Avolio B. J., Sosik J. J., Jung D. I., & Berson Y. (2003). Leadership models, methods, and applications. In I. B. Weiner, N. W. Schmitt, & S. Highhouse (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 12, pp. 277307). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons.
Bass B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: Theory, research and managerial applications. New York, USA: Free Press.
Bass B. M. (1997). Does the transactional–transformational leadership paradigm transcend organizational and national boundaries? American Psychologist, 52, 130139.
Bennis W., Goleman D., & O’Toole J. (2008). Transparency: How leaders create a culture of candor. San Francisco, CA, USA: Jossey-Bass.
Blader S. L., & Tyler T. R. (2005). How can theories of organizational justice explain the effects of fairness? In J. Greenberg & J. A. Colquitt (Eds.), Handbook of organizational justice (pp. 329354). Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Bloom N., Genakos C., Sadun R., & Van Reenen J. (2012). Management practices across firms and countries. Academy of Management Perspectives, 26, 1233.
Brinsfield C. (2013). Employee silence motives: Investigation of dimensionality and development of measures. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34, 671697.
Brinsfield C. (2014). Employee voice and silence in Organizational Behavior. In A. Wilkinson, J. Donaghey, T. Dundon & R. Freeman (Eds.), The handbook of research on employee voice: Participation and involvement in the workplace (pp. 114131). London: Edward Elgar.
Brinsfield C., Edwards M. S., & Greenberg J. (2009). Voice and silence in organizations: Historical review and current conceptualizations. In J. Greenberg & M. S. Edwards (Eds.), Voice and silence in organizations (pp. 333). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Brislin R. W. (1986). The wording and translation of research instrument. In W. Lonner & J. Berry (Eds.), Field methods in cross-cultural research (pp.137164). Beverly Hills, CA, USA: Sage.
Brockner J., Ackerman G., Greenberg J., Gelfand M. J., Francesco A. M., Chen Z. X., & Shapiro D. (2001). Culture and procedural justice: The influence of power distance on reactions to voice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 300315.
Chen Z. X., & Aryee S. (2007). Delegation and employee work outcomes: An examination of the cultural context of mediation processes in China. Academy of Management Journal, 50, 226238.
Cheng B. S., Chou L. F., & Farh J. L. (2000). A triad model of paternalistic leadership: Constructs and measurement (in Chinese). Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies, 14, 364.
Cheng B. S., Chou L. F., Wu T. Y., Huang M. P., & Farh J. L. (2004). Paternalistic leadership and subordinate responses: Establishing a leadership model in Chinese organizations. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 7, 89117.
Cheng B. S., Huang M.-P., & Chou L. F. (2002). Paternalistic leadership and its effectiveness: Evidence from Chinese organizational teams. Journal of Psychology in Chinese Societies, 3, 85112.
Cheng B. S., Shieh P. Y., & Chou L. F. (2002). The principal’s leadership, leader–member exchange quality, and the teacher’s extra-role behavior: The effects of transformational and paternalistic leadership. Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies, 17, 105161.
Chu L.-C. (2014). The moderating role of authoritarian leadership on the relationship between the internalization of emotional regulation and the well-being of employees. Leadership, 10, 326343.
Clapham S., & Cooper R. (2005). Factors of employees’ effective voice in corporate goverance. Journal of Management and Governance, 9, 287313.
Clugston M., Howell J. P., & Dorfman P. W. (2000). Does cultural socialization predict multiple bases and foci of commitment? Journal of Management, 26, 530.
Cortina L. M., & Magley V. J. (2003). Raising voice, risking retaliation: Events following interpersonal mistreatment in the workplace. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 8, 247265.
Deci E. L., & Ryan R. M. (1987). The support of autonomy and the control of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 10241037.
Depret E. F., & Fiske S. T. (1993). Social cognition and power: Some cognitive consequences of social structure as a source of control deprivation. In G. Weary, F. Gleicher, & R. Marsh (Eds.), Control motivation and social cognition, (pp. 176202). New York, USA: Springer Verlag.
Detert J. R., & Burris E. R. (2007). Leadership behavior and employee voice: Is the door really open? Academy of Management Journal, 50, 869884.
Detert J. R., & Edmondson A C. (2011). Implicit voice theories: Taken-for-granted rules of self-censorship at work. Academy of Management Journal, 54, 461488.
Dorfman P. W., & Howell J. P. (1988). Dimensions of national culture and effective leadership patterns: Hofstede revisited. In R. N. Farmer & E. G. McGoun (Eds.), Advances in international comparative management (Vol. 3, pp. 127150). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science.
Duan J. Y., & Huang C. Y. (2013). The mechanism of employee’s sense of power on speaking-up: A power cognition perspective (in Chinese). Acta Psychologica Sinica, 45, 217230.
Duan J., Lam W., Chen Z., & Zhong J. A. (2010). Leadership justice, negative organizational behaviors, and the mediating effect of affective commitment. Social Behavior and Personality, 38, 12871296.
Edmondson A. C. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 350383.
Edmondson A. C. (2003). Speaking up in the operating room: How team leaders promote learning in interdisciplinary action teams. Journal of Management Studies, 40, 14191452.
Edmondson A. C. (2004). Psychological safety, trust, and learning in organizations: A group-level lens. In R. M. Kramer & K. S. Cook (Eds.), Trust and distrust in organizations: Dilemmas and approaches (pp. 239272). New York, USA: Russell Sage Foundation.
Eisenberger R., Karagonlar G., Stinglhamber F., Neves P., Becker T. E., Gonzalez-Morales M. G., & Steiger-Mueller M. (2010). Leader–member exchange and affective organizational commitment: The contribution of supervisor’s organizational embodiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 10851103.
Farh J. L., & Cheng B.-S. (2000). A cultural analysis of paternalistic leadership in Chinese organizations. In J. T. Li, A. S. Tsui & E. Weldon (Eds.), Management and organizations in the Chinese context (pp. 84127). London: Macmillan.
Farh J. L., Cheng B. S., Chou L. F., & Chu X. P. (2006). Authority and benevolence: Employees’ responses to paternalistic leadership in China. In A. S. Tsui, Y. Bian, & L. Cheng (Eds.), China’s domestic private firms: Multidisciplinary perspectives on management and performance (pp. 230260). New York, USA: Sharpe.
Frese M., Teng E., & Wijnen C. (1999). Helping to improve suggestion systems: Predictors of making suggestions in companies. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11391155.
Fu P. P., Wu R., Yang Y., & Ye J. (2008). Chinese culture and leadership. In J. S. Chhokar, F. C. Brodbeck, & R. J. House (Eds.), Organization-based self-esteem: Construct definition, measurement, and validation (pp. 877907). Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Gardner D. G., Van Dyne L., & Pierce J. L. (2004). The effects of pay level on organization-based self-esteem and performance: A field study. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77, 307322.
Hofstede G. H. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA, USA: Sage.
Hofstede G. H. (2001). Culture’s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA, USA: Sage.
James W. (1950). The principles of psychology (Vol. 2). New York, USA: Dover (Original work published 1890).
Javidan M., Dorfman P. W., de Luque M. S., & House R. J. (2006). In the eye of the beholder: Cross cultural lessons in leadership from Project GLOBE. Academy of Management Perspectives, 20, 6790.
Jung D. I., Bass B. M., & Sosik J. J. (1995). Collectivism and transformational leadership. Journal of Management Inquiry, 2, 318.
Kahn W. A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 692724.
Kirkman B. L., Chen G., Farh J.-L., Chen Z. X., & Lowe K. B. (2009). Individual power distance orientation and follower reactions to transformational leaders: A cross-level, cross-cultural examination. Academy of Management Journal, 52, 744764.
Kish-Gephart J. J., Detert J. R., Trevino L. K., & Edmondson A. C. (2009). Silenced by fear: The nature, sources, and consequences of fear at work. Research in Organizational Behavior, 29, 163193.
Korman A. K. (2001). Self-enhancement and self-protection: Toward a theory of work motivation. In M. Erez, U. Kleinbeck, & H. Thierry (Eds.), Work motivation in the context of a globalizing economy (pp. 121–130). Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kristof-Brown A. L., & Billsberry J. (2013). Fit for the future. In A. L. K.-B. J. Billsberry (Ed.), Organizational fit: Key issues and new directions (pp. 118). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Kristof-Brown A. L., Zimmerman R. D., & Johnson E. C. (2005). Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: A meta-analysis of person–job, person–organization, person–group, and person–supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58, 281342.
Lee J., & Peccei R. (2007). Perceived organizational support and affective commitment: The mediating role of organization-based self esteem in the context of job insecurity. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28, 661685.
Lee C., Pillutla M., & Law K. S. (2000). Power-distance, gender and organizational justice. Journal of Management, 26, 685704.
LePine J. A., & Van Dyne L. (1998). Predicting voice behavior in work groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 853.
Li Y., & Sun J.-M. (2015). Traditional Chinese leadership and employee voice behavior: A cross-level examination. The Leadership Quarterly, 26, 172189.
Liang J., Farh C. I C., & Farh J. L. (2012). Psychological antecedents of promotive and prohibitive voice: A two-wave examination. Academy of Management Journal, 55, 7192.
Miceli M. P., Near J. P., & Dworkin T. M. (2008). Whistleblowing in organizations. New York, USA: Routledge.
Milliken F. J., Morrison E. W., & Hewlin P. F. (2003). An exploratory study of employee silence: Issues that employees don’t communicate upward and why. Journal of Management Studies, 40, 14531476.
Molseed M. J. (1989). Gender, silence, and group structure. Greenwich, CT, USA: JAI Press.
Morrison E. W. (2011). Employee voice behavior: Integration and directions for future research. The Academy of Management Annals, 5, 373412.
Morrison E. W., & Milliken F. J. (2000). Organizational silence: A barrier to change and development in a pluralistic world. Academy of Management Review, 25, 706731.
Naus F., van Iterson A., & Roe R. A. (2007). Value incongruence, job autonomy, and organization-based self-esteem: A self-based perspective on organization cynicism. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 16, 195219.
Noelle-Neumann E. (1974). The spiral of silence: A theory of public opinion. Journal of Communication, 24, 4351.
Nunnally J. C., & Bernstein I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory. New York, USA: McGraw-Hill.
Ostroff C., Shin Y., & Kinicki A. J. (2005). Multiple perspectives of congruence: Relationships between value congruence and employee attitudes. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 591623.
Pelham B. W., & Swann W. B. Jr. (1989). From self-conceptions to self-worth: On the sources and structure of global self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 672680.
Pellegrini E. K., & Scandura T. A. (2008). Paternalistic leadership: A review and agenda for future research. Journal of Management, 34, 566593.
Pierce J. L., & Gardner D. G. (2004). Self-esteem within the work and organizational context: A review of the organization-based self-esteem literature. Journal of Management, 30, 591622.
Pierce J., Gardner D., Cummings L., & Dunham R. (1989). Organization-based self-esteem: Construct definition, measurement, and validation. Academy of Management Journal, 32, 622648.
Pinder C. C., & Harlos K. P. (2001). Employee silence: Quiescence and acquiescence as response to perceived injustice. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in personnel and human resources management (Vol. 20, pp. 331369). Greenwich, CT, USA: JAI Press.
Preacher K. J., & Hayes A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879891.
Podsakoff P. M., MacKenzie S. B., Lee J.-Y., & Podsakoff N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 879903.
Roberts B. W., & Robins R. W. (2004). Person-environment fit and its implications for personality development: A longitudinal study. Journal of Personality, 72, 89110.
Rosenberg M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Stamper C. L., & Van Dyne L. (2001). Work status and organizational citizenship behavior: A field study of restaurant employees. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 517536.
Tangirala S., & Ramanujam R. (2008). Employee silence on critical work issues: The cross of level effects of procedural justice climate. Personnel Psychology, 61, 3768.
Tepper B. J. (2007). Abusive supervision in work organizations: Review synthesis, and research agenda. Journal of Management, 33, 261289.
Tharenou P. (1979). Employee self-esteem: A review of the literature. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 15, 316346.
Tsui A. S., Wang H., Xin K., Zhang L., & Fu P. P. (2004). ‘Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom’: Variation of leadership styles among Chinese CEOs. Organizational Dynamics, 33, 520.
Tyler T. R., Lind E. A., & Huo Y. J. (2000). Cultural values and authority relations: The psychology of conflict resolution across cultures. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 6, 11381163.
Vakola M., & Bouradas D. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of organisational silence: An empirical investigation. Employee Relations, 27, 441458.
Van Dyne L., Ang S., & Botero I. C. (2003). Conceptualizing employee silence and employee voice as multidimensional constructs. Journal of Management Studies, 40, 13591392.
Van Dyne L., & LePine J. A. (1998). Helping and voice extra-role behaviors: Evidence of construct and predictive validity. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 108119.
Vroom V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York, USA: Wiley.
Walumbwa F. O., & Schaubroeck J. (2009). Leader personality traits and employee voice behavior: Mediating roles of ethical leadership and work group psychological safety. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 12751286.
West M. A. (1990). The social psychology of innovation in groups. In M. A. West & J. L. Farr (Eds.), Innovation and creativity at work: Psychological and organizational strategies (pp. 309333). Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Wilkinson B. (1996). Culture, institutions and business in East Asia. Organization Studies, 17, 421447.
Wu T.-Y., Hsu W. L., & Cheng B. S. (2003). Expressing anger? Or suppressing anger? Subordinates’ anger responses to supervisors’ authoritarian leadershipistic behaviors in Chinese business. Indigenous Psychological Research in Chinese Societies, 18, 349.
Wu T.-Y., & Liao H.-Y. (2013). Does Chinese authoritarian leadership always lead to employee negative outcomes? Chinese Journal of Psychology, 55, 122.
Yin J., Wang H., & Huang M. P. (2012). Empowering leadership behavior and perceived insider status: The moderating role of organization-based self-esteem (in Chinese). Acta Psychologica Sinica, 44, 13711382.
Zhou H., & Long L. R. (2007). Relationship between paternalistic leadership and organizational justice (in Chinese). Acta Psychologica Sinica, 39, 909917.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Management & Organization
  • ISSN: 1833-3672
  • EISSN: 1839-3527
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-management-and-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 20
Total number of PDF views: 127 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 789 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 18th January 2017 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.