Leader honesty/humility and subordinate organizational citizenship behavior: a case of too-much-of-a-good-thing?

Ziya Ete, John J. Sosik, Minyoung Cheong, Jae Uk Chun, Weichun Zhu, Fil J. Arenas, Joel A. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: On the basis of theories of social cognition and moral identity and the meta-theoretical principle of “too-much-of-a-good-thing,” the purpose of this study is to develop and test a model that explains when and why leader honesty/humility promotes subordinate organizational citizenship behavior directed at individuals (OCBI) as mediated through subordinate moral identity centrality. Design/methodology/approach: In this field study, with online surveys, multisource data were collected from 218 United States Air Force officers and their subordinates. Data were analyzed with MEDCURVE SPSS macro tools. Findings: A nonlinear indirect effect of leader honesty/humility on subordinate OCBI through subordinate moral identity centrality was found. This conditional indirect effect occurred through a curvilinear (inverted U-shape) relationship between leader honesty/humility and subordinate moral identity centrality and a positive linear relationship between subordinate moral identity centrality and OCBI. Research limitations/implications: Cross-sectional data were collected. Future research might replicate findings using experimental and longitudinal designs. Practical implications: Recruiting and selecting leaders who possess a moderate level of honesty/humility may serve as the first step in producing prosocial behavior during social interactions with subordinates. Originality/value: This study extends the literature on character and leadership by applying the too-much-of-a-good-thing principle to empirically test the complex nature of the relationship between leader honesty/humility and subordinate OCBI as mediated through subordinate moral identity centrality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 27 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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