Collective Efficacy: Linking Paternalistic Leadership to Organizational Commitment

  • Ying Chen
  • Xiaohu Zhou
  • Kim Klyver
Original Paper


Based on social cognitive theory, we theorize that collective efficacy plays a mediating role in the relationship between paternalistic leadership and organizational commitment and that this mediating role depends on team cohesion. The empirical results from a study of 238 employees from 52 teams at manufacturing companies show that benevolent leadership and moral leadership, both components of paternalistic leadership, are positively related to organizational commitment and further that collective efficacy mediates the moral leadership–organizational commitment relationship. We did not find a relationship between authoritarian leadership and organizational commitment. Besides, it was found that team cohesion negatively moderates the relationship between moral leadership and collective efficacy and positively moderates the relationship between collective efficacy and organizational commitment. Explanations and directions for future research are discussed.


Authoritarian leadership Benevolent leadership Moral leadership Paternalistic leadership Collective efficacy Organizational commitment 



We would like to thank Henry Lassen, Poul Rind Christensen, Ming Qian, and Junguo Shi for feedback on prior versions of the article. We also thank Section Editor Alexander Newman, the anonymous JBE reviewers and Scott Gordon for their valuable comments and advice.


This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (71672084).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Author Ying Chen declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Xiaohu Zhou declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Kim Klyver declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and ManagementNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship ManagementUniversity of Southern DenmarkKoldingDenmark
  3. 3.Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC)University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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