Positive affect, environmental uncertainty, and self-sacrificial leadership influence followers’ self-sacrificial behavior

Ruyi Zhou1, Lirong Long1, Po Hao1
1School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Zhou, R., Long, L., & Hao, P. (2016). Positive affect, environmental uncertainty, and self-sacrificial leadership influence followers’ self-sacrificial behavior. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(9), 1515-1524.

Volume 44 Issue 9 | e5688 | Published: October 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.9.1515

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Drawing on affective events theory, we examined why and when self-sacrificial leadership motivates followers to engage in self-sacrificial behavior. Participants were 371 full-time employees from 91 work teams in multiple organizations located in central China, who completed measures of self-sacrificial leadership, their own self-sacrificial behavior, positive affect, and environmental uncertainty. The hierarchical linear modeling results indicated that self-sacrificial leadership correlated positively with follower self-sacrificial behavior. In addition, the relationship between self-sacrificial leadership and follower self-sacrificial behavior was mediated by follower positive affect. Finally, this mediating factor was found to be stronger when the environmental context was highly uncertain compared to when it was steady. The contribution of these results to theory and management practice is discussed, along with the study limitations and directions for future research.

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