ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (6): 710-721.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00710

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Leader-subordinate extraversion fit and subordinate work engagement: Based on dominance complementarity theory

CHEN Leni1; WANG Zhen1; LUO Ben Nanfeng1; LUO Zhengxue2   

  1. (1 School of Labor and Human Resources Management, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China) (2 School of Aerospace Medicine, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, China)
  • Received:2015-03-05 Published:2016-06-25 Online:2016-06-25
  • Contact: WANG Zhen, E-mail:; LUO Zhengxue, E-mail:


Work engagement has been recognized as a positive state of employees, which can lead to the increased effectiveness of individuals and organizations. In exploring the antecedents of work engagement, prior empirical studies ignored the effects of person-environment fit. The congruence and incongruence effects of subordinate- leader traits have caught researchers’ attentions recently. Extraversion is functioned in daily interactions. We tend to examine the effects of subordinate-leader extraversion fit. Base on the dominance complementarity theory, this study examined the effects of the leader-subordinate extraversion congruence and incongruence on subordinate work engagement. A structured questionnaire was employed as the research instrument for this study. It consisted of four sub-scales designed to measure the variables of interest, namely extraversion, work engagement, conscientiousness and value congruence (the last two are control variables). A field army in northwest China sample was collected in the two time points and from two different raters (soldiers and their immediate monitors) in order to lower the common method biases. 743 dyads’ information of soldiers and their immediate monitors was valid. Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for the above measures were from 0.75 to 0.94, showing acceptable measurement reliabilities. Results of confirmatory factor analysis indicated the discriminate validity of the measurement was also satisfactory. Polynomial regression analysis was employed to explore the effects of congruence and incongruence between leader and subordinate extraversion on subordinate work engagement. Response surface technology was applied to present the results. In line with the hypotheses, results showed that: (1) The more incongruence of subordinate and leader extraversion level, the more work engaged subordinate would be; (2) Under the condition of subordinate and leader extraversion incongruence, the higher level of subordinate extraversion and lower level of leader extraversion, the more work engaged subordinate would be; (3) Under the condition of subordinate and leader extraversion congruence, the relationship of leader-subordinate extraversions and subordinate work engagement presented a “inverted U curve”, that is, subordinate work engagement level rose to a peak and then fell down as leader-subordinate extraversions levels rose. Theoretically, this study contributed to the areas of work engagement, leadership and person-environment fit. Especially, the results expanded the studies of antecedents of work engagement from person-environment fit perspectives, underlining the significance of employee’s subjective initiatives in predicting work engagement. Meanwhile, the results broadened the research of leadership effectiveness from the leader-follower interactive perspectives. Moreover, the results supported the dominant complementarity theory in the person-environment fit domain and draw a detailed picture about the different types of fits. Practically, the studies contributed to effectiveness of recruitment and selection and domain of improvement of leadership effectiveness. Finally, the limitations and future research directions were discussed.

Key words: extraversion trait, work engagement, dominance complementarity theory, subordinate-leader fit, polynomial regression and response surface analysis