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22-06-2017 | Original Paper | Issue 4/2019

Journal of Business Ethics 4/2019

The Interpersonal Benefits of Leader Mindfulness: A Serial Mediation Model Linking Leader Mindfulness, Leader Procedural Justice Enactment, and Employee Exhaustion and Performance

Journal:
Journal of Business Ethics > Issue 4/2019
Authors:
Sebastian C. Schuh, Michelle Xue Zheng, Katherine R. Xin, Juan Antonio Fernandez
Important notes
The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence
— Nguyen Xuan Bao

Abstract

Although it is an increasingly popular assumption that leader mindfulness may positively affect leader behaviors and, in turn, employee outcomes, to date, little empirical evidence supports this view. Against this backdrop, the present research seeks to develop and test a serial mediation model of leader mindfulness. Specifically, we propose that leader mindfulness enhances employee performance and that this relationship is explained by increased leader procedural justice enactment and, subsequently, reduced employees’ emotional exhaustion. We conducted three studies to test this model. Study 1 involved employees from a wide range of organizations in the USA (N = 275 employees). Study 2 used a sample of leaders and employees from China and measured our model variables at three different points in time (N = 182 employees and 54 leaders). Both studies provide consistent support for our hypotheses. Finally, Study 3 involved a laboratory experiment in which 62 senior executives were assigned to either a mindfulness induction or to a control condition. Again, results revealed a significant and positive link between leader mindfulness and leader procedural justice enactment. In sum, these findings expand our understanding of mindfulness to the domain of leadership, a key area of organizational research. Moreover, they complement prior studies by showing that mindfulness dynamics go beyond intrapersonal effects but also influence the attitudes and behaviors of others. We discuss our findings in light of their contributions to the mindfulness, ethics, and leadership literatures and point out implications for practice.

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