A Dual-Stage Moderated Mediation Model Linking Authoritarian Leadership to Follower Outcomes

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Although authoritarian leadership is viewed pejoratively in the literature, in general it is not strongly related to important follower outcomes. We argue that relationships between authoritarian leadership and individual employee outcomes are mediated by perceived insider status, yet in different ways depending on work unit power distance climate and individual role breadth self-efficacy. Results from technology company employees in China largely supported our hypothesized model. We observed negative indirect effects of authoritarian leadership on job performance, affective organizational commitment, and intention to stay among employees in units with relatively low endorsement of power distance, whereas the indirect relationships were not significant among employees in relatively high power distance units. These conditional indirect effects of authoritarian leadership on performance and intention to stay were significantly stronger among employees with relatively high role breadth self-efficacy. We discuss how the model and findings promote understanding of how, and under what circumstances, authoritarian leadership may influence followers’ performance and psychological connections to their organizations.

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