Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 81–93 | Cite as

Chinese Traditionality Matters: Effects of Differentiated Empowering Leadership on Followers’ Trust in Leaders and Work Outcomes

  • Shao-Long Li
  • Yuanyuan HuoEmail author
  • Li-Rong Long


From the perspective of the integrative model of organizational trust, this study proposes a multi-level model for whether, how, and when differentiated empowering leadership influences followers’ trust in leaders and their work outcomes. Drawing on a sample of 372 followers from 97 teams in China, it was found that the negative effect of differentiated empowering leadership on followers’ trust in leaders became salient when followers’ Chinese traditionality was low. Moreover, followers’ trust in leaders mediated the effect of differentiated empowering leadership and Chinese traditionality on followers’ in-role performance, extra-role performance, and counterproductive work behaviors toward the organization. These findings have implications for managerial theory and practice in the domains of trust and differentiated empowering leadership.


Trust in leaders Differentiated empowering leadership Chinese traditionality In-role performance Extra-role performance Counterproductive work behaviors 



This paper was supported by the grants from the National Science Foundation of China (71232001 & 71402061) and Hong Kong Baptist University (FRG2/13-14/042).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics and Management SchoolWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of ManagementHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of ManagementHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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