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Leader humble behavior and follower proactive behavior: A social identity perspective

CHEN Li-fan;LIU Sheng-ming;HU Xiao-li;School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China;School of Management, Fudan University;Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China;  
Drawing upon social identity theory, this study explores the underlying mechanism and boundary condition in the relationship between humble leader behavior and follower proactive behavior. Analysis of time-lagged, multi-source data from 78 team leaders and 293 followers revealed that humble leader behavior have an indirect and positive effect on follower proactive behavior through leader identification. In addition, follower power distance orientation served as an important boundary condition of this indirect effect. When follower power distance orientation is low, leader humble behavior is positively associated with leader identification, which in turn increased follower proactive behavior. Such indirect effect is not significant when follower power distance orientation was high. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are also discussed.
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