Leader Humility, and Subordinates' Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Withdrawal Behavior: Exploring the Mediating Mechanisms of Subordinates' Psychological Capital

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 8;17(7):2544. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17072544.


As a bottom-up leadership style, leader humility has received considerable attention from researchers. Among the abundant studies revealing the positive impact of leader humility on employees' work attitude and behaviors, there is less knowledge on how leader humility influences subordinates' organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and withdrawal behavior. On the basis of the social information processing theory, this study proposed a cross-level mediation model and examined the direct impact of leader humility on subordinates' OCB and withdrawal behavior. We also further explored the underlying psychological mechanism and examined the mediating effect of psychological capital on these relationships. Using a two-wave panel design and 274 employees' questionnaire data, the empirical analysis found that: (1) leader humility was positively related to subordinates' OCB and negatively related to subordinates' withdrawal behavior; (2) leader humility was positively related to subordinates' psychological capital; and (3) psychological capital played a cross-level mediating role in the leader humility-subordinates' OCB relationship and the leader humility-subordinates' withdrawal behavior relationship. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Keywords: leader humility; organizational citizenship behavior; psychological capital; social information processing theory; withdrawal behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires