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      Empathetic leadership and employees’ innovative behavior: examining the roles of career adaptability and uncertainty avoidance

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          Career construction theory proposes that adaptivity affects career adapting through career adaptability. However, research on the mechanism of this pathway remains scarce. By applying career construction theory and conservation of resources theory, we hypothesize that career adaptability (concern, control, curiosity, and confidence) mediates the relationship between empathetic leadership (adaptivity) and innovative behavior (career adapting). Moreover, we posit that uncertain avoidance moderates the mediating mechanism.

          Methods

          Our study used SPSS23 and bootstrap methods (PROCESS) to test the proposed model. The sample comprised 301 employees from different firms in various industries. In this study, empathetic leadership-5, career adaptability-24, uncertainty avoidance-5, and innovative behavior-6 scales were used to measure empathetic leadership, career adaptability, and uncertainty avoidance.

          Results

          The results revealed that (1) empathetic leadership is positively related to employees’ innovative behavior (2) Concern (H2a), control (H2b), curiosity (H2c), and confidence (H2d) mediate the relations between empathetic leadership and employee’s innovative behavior (3) Uncertainty avoidance moderates the relationship between empathetic leadership and concern (H3a), control (H3b), curiosity (H3c), and confidence (H3d), such that this relationship is stronger when uncertainty avoidance is higher (4) Uncertainty avoidance moderates the indirect relationship between empathetic leadership and employee innovative behavior through concern (H4a), control (H4b), curiosity (H4c), and confidence (H4d), such that this indirect relationship will be stronger when uncertainty avoidance is high than when it is low.

          Conclusion

          We investigated how empathetic leadership affects innovative behavior. Based on career construction theory and conservation of resources theory, we also tested the hypothesis that concern, control, curiosity, and confidence play mediating roles in linking empathetic leadership (career adaptivity) to innovative behavior (career adapting). In addition, this study found that uncertainty avoidance does not always have negative effects. People with a high uncertainty avoidance tendency may be dependent more on empathetic leadership to improve their career adaptability, which promotes their innovative behavior.

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          Most cited references78

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          Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies.

          Interest in the problem of method biases has a long history in the behavioral sciences. Despite this, a comprehensive summary of the potential sources of method biases and how to control for them does not exist. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the extent to which method biases influence behavioral research results, identify potential sources of method biases, discuss the cognitive processes through which method biases influence responses to measures, evaluate the many different procedural and statistical techniques that can be used to control method biases, and provide recommendations for how to select appropriate procedural and statistical remedies for different types of research settings.
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              Addressing Moderated Mediation Hypotheses: Theory, Methods, and Prescriptions.

              This article provides researchers with a guide to properly construe and conduct analyses of conditional indirect effects, commonly known as moderated mediation effects. We disentangle conflicting definitions of moderated mediation and describe approaches for estimating and testing a variety of hypotheses involving conditional indirect effects. We introduce standard errors for hypothesis testing and construction of confidence intervals in large samples but advocate that researchers use bootstrapping whenever possible. We also describe methods for probing significant conditional indirect effects by employing direct extensions of the simple slopes method and Johnson-Neyman technique for probing significant interactions. Finally, we provide an SPSS macro to facilitate the implementation of the recommended asymptotic and bootstrapping methods. We illustrate the application of these methods with an example drawn from the Michigan Study of Adolescent Life Transitions, showing that the indirect effect of intrinsic student interest on mathematics performance through teacher perceptions of talent is moderated by student math self-concept.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Role: Role: Role: Role: Role: Role: Role:
                URI : https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/2100440/overviewRole: Role:
                URI : https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/1785173/overviewRole: Role: Role:
                Role: Role: Role: Role:
                Role: Role: Role: Role: Role: Role:
                Journal
                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-1078
                22 May 2024
                2024
                : 15
                : 1371936
                Affiliations
                [1] 1School of Foreign Studies, Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College , Yiwu, Zhejiang, China
                [2] 2School of Economics, Jiaxing University, Jiaxing , Zhejiang, China
                [3] 3Postdoctoral Workstation, China Rongtong Group Strategy Research Institute , Beijing, China
                [4] 4School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University , Beijing, China
                [5] 5School of Humanities and Tourism, Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College, Yiwu , Zhejiang, China
                [6] 6School of Business, Shenzhen Institute of Technology, Shenzhen , Guangdong, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Hasim Altan, Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia

                Reviewed by: Muhammad Adeel Anjum, BUITEMS, Pakistan

                Laxmiprada Pattnaik, Utkal University, India

                Keisuke Kokubun, Kyoto University, Japan

                *Correspondence: Xiaoxiao Gao, 1194118073@ 123456qq.com
                Article
                10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1371936
                11150825
                38840737
                4fb84549-a375-4631-925c-8efda03a45ca
                Copyright © 2024 Ma, Wu, Liu, Ji and Gao.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                History
                : 17 January 2024
                : 12 April 2024
                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 7, Equations: 0, References: 78, Pages: 15, Words: 10390
                Funding
                The author(s) declare that no financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
                Categories
                Psychology
                Original Research
                Custom metadata
                Organizational Psychology

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                career adaptability,empathetic leadership,innovative behavior,uncertainty avoidance,career construction theory

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