Examining why employee proactive personality influences empowering leadership: The roles of cognition- and affect-based trust

Soojung Han, Crystal M. Harold, Minyoung Cheong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

We integrate followership theory and trust theory to understand the role of employees' proactivity on their leaders' attitudes, cognitions, and behaviours. We propose that (1) employees' proactive personality engenders their leaders' cognition- and affect-based trust, which in turn positively influences empowering leadership; (2) the indirect effects of proactive personality on empowering leadership via cognition- and affect-based trust are contingent on the level of employee task performance and organizational citizenship behaviour, respectively; and (3) the indirect effect of proactive personality on empowering leadership via affect- (cognition-) based trust is stronger when the level of cognition- (affect-) based trust is high rather than low. We conducted two-wave study, with a sample of 116 supervisor–employee dyads from a large petrochemical firm in South Korea to test proposed effects. Results suggest that leaders' affect-based trust, but not cognition-based trust, served to mediate the effect of proactive personality on empowering leadership. Moreover, the results further support that the positive mediation of leaders' affect-based trust on empowering leadership was present when leaders' cognition-based trust was high, but not when it was low. Implications for future research are discussed. Practitioner points: Leaders report a greater level of trust in employees with a more proactive personality. Leaders are more likely to empower employees in whom they have higher levels of both affect-based and cognition-based trust; in other words, employees who they like more and believe to be more competent. To help promote empowering, organizations might consider selecting on the basis of proactive personality and fostering a culture that promotes employee proactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-383
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume92
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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