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The Effects of Spiritual Leadership in Family Firms: A Conservation of Resources Perspective

Abstract

Drawing from conservation of resources theory, we theorize that spiritual leadership serves as both a resource to enhance employees’ organizational commitment and a passageway to mitigate the negative effects of work–family conflict. Using primary triadic data from leaders, family employees, and nonfamily employees in 77 family firms, results support our theorizing that organizational commitment is enhanced by spiritual leadership but is decreased by work–family conflict. Contrary to theory, however, spiritual leadership exacerbated the negative effects of work–family conflict. Further analysis reveals that family and nonfamily employees respond differently to leadership and work–family stressors. While spiritual leadership has positive effects for family employees, it has negative effects for nonfamily employees experiencing high work–family conflict.

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The authors are grateful for the thoughtful and developmental feedback received from the editors and anonymous reviewers of the special issue.

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Correspondence to Franz W. Kellermanns.

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Revised manuscript for inclusion in the Special Issue: ‘Values, Spirituality and Religion: Family Business and the Roots of Sustainable Ethical Behavior’. Journal of Business Ethics, September 11, 2019.

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Tabor, W., Madison, K., Marler, L.E. et al. The Effects of Spiritual Leadership in Family Firms: A Conservation of Resources Perspective. J Bus Ethics 163, 729–743 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04379-2

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Keywords

  • Spiritual leadership
  • Work–family conflict
  • Organizational commitment
  • Family firms
  • Conservation of resources theory