Paternalistic leadership in Chinese organizations: Research progress and future research directions

Jiing Lih Farh, Jian Liang, Li Fang Chou, Bor Shiuan Cheng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


Paternalistic leadership (PL) is an indigenous Chinese leadership style that is rooted in China's patriarchal tradition and has been found to be prevalent in overseas Chinese family businesses. Farh and Cheng (2000) proposed a model of PL that has three components: authoritarianism, benevolence, and moral leadership. Since then, a series of empirical studies have been conducted by Cheng and his colleagues to examine the validity of Farh and Cheng's PL model using a variety of samples from Taiwan and mainland China. In this chapter, we review this body of research and identify promising areas for future research. Introduction. In the second half of the twentieth century, entrepreneurship among overseas Chinese exploded not only in Chinese-dominated communities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, but also in South-east Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, where the Chinese are in the minority (Weidenbaum, 1996). Scholars who were intrigued by this phenomenon embarked on a series of studies of the practices of overseas Chinese businesses. They discovered a distinct management/leadership style called paternalism, widely practiced among the owners/managers of overseas Chinese family businesses (e.g. Cheng, 1995c; Redding, 1990; Silin, 1976; Westwood, 1997). Paternalism, which is rooted in the traditional Chinese family structure, has crossed the boundary of families and generalized to the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeadership and Management in China
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophies, Theories, and Practices
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9780511753763
ISBN (Print)9780521879613
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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