Bad apples spoiling the metaphor? How and why self-serving leaders stir up counterproductive behaviors at work

Article


Zhang, Y., Peng, S., Wang, J., Akhtar, M. and Wang, Y. 2023. Bad apples spoiling the metaphor? How and why self-serving leaders stir up counterproductive behaviors at work. Frontiers in Psychology. 13 (Art. 1008071). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1008071
AuthorsZhang, Y., Peng, S., Wang, J., Akhtar, M. and Wang, Y.
Abstract

Self-serving leaders satisfy their self-interests at the cost of both employees and organizations, leading to declining organizational competitive advantage and performance. Drawing upon the affective events theory (AET), we constructed and examined a theoretical model of self-serving leadership influencing counterproductive work behavior (CWB), where traditionality plays a significant moderating role through the lens of anger as a mediator. Data were collected in three waves using a survey questionnaire distributed in three industries located in the Southwest district of China. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted on a sample of 316 employees to test the hypothesized research model. The results showed that self-serving leadership triggers employee anger, which in turn causes CWB. Furthermore, traditionality plays a significant moderating role, in which employees with higher levels of traditionality feel less anger and show less CWB. Overall, research findings have clarified how and why self-serving leadership affects employees’ emotions (such as anger) and behavior (such as CWB), bringing new insights into the self-serving leadership and employee behavior literature. Research implications on the management of self-serving leadership, limitations, and future recommendations of research are also discussed.

KeywordsSelf-Serving Leadership ; CWB; Affective Event Theory; Anger; Traditionality
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Journal citation13 (Art. 1008071)
ISSN1664-1078
Year2023
PublisherFrontiers Media
Publisher's version
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1008071
Publication dates
Online26 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Dec 2022
Deposited31 Jan 2023
FunderNational Social Science Foundation of China
Copyright information© 2023 Zhang, Peng, Wang, Akhtar and Wang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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