Paternalistic leadership and subordinate responses: Establishing a leadership model in Chinese organizations

Bor Shiuan Cheng, Li Fang Chou, Min Ping Huang, Tsung Yu Wu, Jiing Lih Farh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

586 Citations (Scopus)


Paternalistic leadership (PL) is the prevalent leadership style in Chinese business organizations. With an approach similar to patriarchy, PL entails an evident and powerful authority that shows consideration for subordinates with moral leadership. Although PL is widespread in Chinese business organizations, very few studies have focused on this leadership style and those that have were simply conceptual analyses and not empirical studies. We sampled 543 subordinates from local businesses in Taiwan to investigate PL, Western transformational leadership, and subordinate responses to these two leadership styles. Our hypotheses were as follows: (1) PL has a significant and unique effect on subordinate responses compared to Western transformational leadership; (2) there exists an interaction between the three elements of PL (benevolence, morality, and authoritarianism) and subordinate responses; and (3) the authority orientation of a subordinate's traditionality has a moderating effect upon the relation between PL and subordinate responses. Statistical analyses generally supported these hypotheses. Directions for follow-up studies are offered and implications for leadership theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-117
Number of pages29
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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