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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2014, Vol. 46 Issue (11) : 1719-1733     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.01719
Supervisor Authoritarian Leadership and Subordinate Proactive Behavior: Test of A Mediated-Moderation Model
LI Rui1,3; TIAN Xiaoming2,3
(1 School of Business, Soochow University, Suzhou 215021, China) (2 Department of Psychology, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China) (3 Key Research Institute of Education Ministry-Center for Chinese Urbanization Studies, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China)
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Proactive behavior has been recognized as a positive way of behaving which can lead to the increased effectiveness of individuals and organizations. It has attracted increasing attention in western academy of management. However, empirical investigation addressing the issue in China remains quite limited. As the power difference between leaders and subordinates is very large in the context of Chinese organizations, leader-related factors should be more important and special for subordinates’ proactive behavior. In the present study, we tried to examine the influence of authoritarian leadership on proactive behavior, and investigate the mediating role of trust in supervisor as well as the moderating role of traditional values of authoritarianism and collectivism playing in the linkages between authoritarian leadership and proactive behavior. A structured questionnaire was employed as the research instrument for this study. It consisted of five scales designed to measure the variables of interest, namely proactive behavior, authoritarian leadership, trust in supervisor, authoritarianism, and collectivism. To avoid the Chinese people’s tendency of choosing the mid-point of the scale regardless of their true feelings or attitudes, all of the items on the survey were responded to on 6-point Likert scales which did not include a mid-point. Data were collected from 214 dyads of employees and their immediate supervisors. Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for the above measures were from 0.69 to 0.91, showing acceptable measurement reliabilities. Results of confirmatory factor analysis indicated the discriminant validity of the measurement was also satisfactory. Hierarchical regression modeling was used to test the hypotheses proposed. In line with our hypotheses, regression results revealed that: (1) Authoritarian leadership had a significant negative influence on proactive behavior. (2) Trust in supervisor fully mediated the relationship between authoritarian leadership and proactive behavior. (3) Authoritarianism significantly moderated the negative relationships between authoritarian leadership and trust in supervisor as well as proactive behavior such that they were weaker for subordinates high rather than low in authoritarianism, while trust in supervisor mediated the main effect of authoritarian leadership and the interactive effect of authoritarian leadership and authoritarianism on proactive behavior. (4) Collectivism moderated the negative relationship between authoritarian leadership and trust in supervisor such that it was stronger among high collectivist than among low ones. Finally, the theoretical and managerial implications of the findings, limitations, and future research directions were discussed.

Keywords proactive behavior      authoritarian leadership      trust in supervisor      authoritarianism      collectivism     
Corresponding Authors: TIAN Xiaoming, E-mail:    
Issue Date: 25 November 2014
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LI Rui; TIAN Xiaoming. Supervisor Authoritarian Leadership and Subordinate Proactive Behavior: Test of A Mediated-Moderation Model[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2014, 46(11): 1719-1733.
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