A Cultural Analysis of Paternalistic Leadership in Chinese Organizations

  • Jiing-Lih Farh
  • Bor-Shiuan Cheng


Paternalistic leadership, which combines strong discipline and authority with fatherly benevolence and moral integrity couched in a ‘personalistic’ atmosphere, has been found to be prevalent in overseas Chinese family businesses (CFBs). After critically reviewing the extant literature, we identify three constituent elements of paternalistic leadership (PL): authoritarianism, benevolence and moral leadership. We trace the deep cultural roots of each element and explore their relevance to organizations in contemporary Chinese societies. We then identify key research issues and propose a preliminary PL model for future studies on leadership in Chinese organizations.


Cultural Root Leader Morality Chinese Society Leadership Style Filial Piety 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiing-Lih Farh
  • Bor-Shiuan Cheng

There are no affiliations available

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