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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 1/2022

22-03-2021 | Original Paper

The Taming of Machiavellians: Differentiated Transformational Leadership Effects on Machiavellians’ Organizational Commitment and Citizenship Behavior

Authors: Bonjin Koo, Eun-Suk Lee

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 1/2022

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Abstract

This study seeks effective ways for managing employees with a high Machiavellian personality in organizations by identifying how to enhance their pro-organizational attitudes (organizational commitment) and behaviors [organizational citizenship behavior (OCB)] through transformational leadership (TFL). Drawing upon the dual-focused model of TFL, we suggest that exerting TFL upon employees high in Machiavellianism involves ethical dilemmas in that individual-focused and group-focused TFL have contrasting effects on leading pro-organizational attitudes/behaviors among these pro-individual employees. Analysis of data from 184 employees working in South Korea shows that Machiavellianism negatively relates to affective commitment, OCB toward the organization (OCB-O), and OCB toward individuals (OCB-I), but positively to continuance commitment. More importantly, the results reveal that group-focused TFL can effectively manage employees high in Machiavellianism by mitigating the negative relations between Machiavellianism and affective commitment and between Machiavellianism and OCB-O. However, individual-focused TFL strengthens these negative relations as well as the negative relation between Machiavellianism and OCB-I. This study thus shows that to lead employees high in Machiavellianism in a pro-organizational direction, group-focused TFL rather than individual-focused TFL needs to be employed.
Footnotes
1
We further note that in their meta-analysis, Stanley et al. (2007) indicated that the correlation between affective and normative commitment is higher in collectivistic than in individualistic societies. Because our data are from South Korea, which has a highly collectivistic culture (Hofstede 1984), the discriminant validity between affective and normative commitment is even more likely to be ambiguous, further justifying our exclusion of normative commitment from consideration.
 
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Metadata
Title
The Taming of Machiavellians: Differentiated Transformational Leadership Effects on Machiavellians’ Organizational Commitment and Citizenship Behavior
Authors
Bonjin Koo
Eun-Suk Lee
Publication date
22-03-2021
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 1/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04788-2

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