An identification perspective of servant leadership’s effects

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Yonghong (Tracy) Liu, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to reveal the identification-based mechanisms through which servant leadership affects desired outcomes (organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) toward coworkers and turnover intention) in the service industry in China. Design/methodology/approach: The data of 293 pairs of valid subordinate-supervisor dyads were collected from the hospitality industry in China with a time lag of 30 days to reduce common method bias. Hypotheses were tested by a bootstrapping method and rival model comparisons. Findings: The authors demonstrate that both the subordinate’s identification with the supervisor and identification with the organization play crucial roles in translating servant leadership’s effects to subordinate’s coworker-oriented OCBs and turnover intention. However, the occurrence of the two identifications seems to be not parallel but in sequence (i.e. pointing from identification with the supervisor to identification with the organization). In addition, results show that servant leadership’s ability to reduce subordinate’s fear of being close to the immediate supervisor is an equally significant route through which subordinate’s identification with the organization can be established. Originality/value: The research has extended the literature and provided a nuanced explanation of the identification processes underlying servant leadership. The differentiation between relational identification with supervisor and collective identification with organization has shed light on a socialization mechanism through which subordinates come to demonstrate other-oriented service behavior and choose not to leave the organization. Additionally, the way that servant leadership helps eliminate subordinate’s fear in a supervisory relationship has proved to be in-negligible in enhancing organizational identification.

Additional Information

Journal of Managerial Psychology, 31(5), 898-913. DOI 10.1108/JMP-08-2014-0250
Language: English
Date: 2016
servant leadership, turnover intention, identification with the organization, identification with the supervisor, OCB toward workers

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