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Published in: Journal of Business and Psychology 3/2022

09-07-2021 | Original Paper

Transformational Leadership and Voice: When Does Felt Obligation to the Leader Matter?

Authors: Jinyun Duan, Xiao-Hua (Frank) Wang, Onne Janssen, Jiing-Lih Farh

Published in: Journal of Business and Psychology | Issue 3/2022

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Abstract

Drawing on the notion that felt obligation is an important motivation variable that drives employees’ behavior, this study examines how leaders can evoke felt obligation in followers and to what extent such obligation can subsequently promote follower voice behavior. Using data from 384 Chinese employees and their 130 managers, we find that followers’ felt obligation to the leader (FOTL) serves as a mediator in the relationship between transformational leadership and employee voice behavior and that the mediation effect of FOTL is moderated by followers’ power distance orientation (PDO), such that the mediation effect is significant only for employees with low PDO. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Footnotes
1
We also regressed follower felt obligation to leader on four separate TFL dimensions. The results showed that two dimensions, communicating high expectations (b = .16; p < .05) and follower development (b = .17; p < .05), were significantly positively related to felt obligation to leader, whereas the other two dimensions, intellectual stimulation (b =  − .01; p > .10) and personal recognition (b =  − .08; p > .10), were not.
 
2
We reran all the analyses with 6 voice items. The results remained largely unchanged: (1) The interaction of FOTL and PDO on voice was significant (r =  − .54, p < .05). A simple slope test indicated that the relationship between FOTL and voice was significant when PDO was low (b = .55, p < .01), but not significant when PDO was high (b =  − .14, p > .10). Thus, hypothesis 2 was supported. (2) The indirect effect of TFL on voice via FOTL was significant when power distance was low (estimate = .18, 95% CI = [0.05, 0.33]), but the indirect effect was not significant when power distance was high (estimate =  − .04, 95% CI = [− 0.18, 0.07]), with a significant different estimate (difference =  − .22, 95% CI = [− 0.46, − 0.02]). So hypothesis 3 was partially supported.
 
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Metadata
Title
Transformational Leadership and Voice: When Does Felt Obligation to the Leader Matter?
Authors
Jinyun Duan
Xiao-Hua (Frank) Wang
Onne Janssen
Jiing-Lih Farh
Publication date
09-07-2021
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Journal of Business and Psychology / Issue 3/2022
Print ISSN: 0889-3268
Electronic ISSN: 1573-353X
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-021-09758-z

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