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Deterrence Effects: The Role of Authoritarian Leadership in Controlling Employee Workplace Deviance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2020

Yuyan Zheng*
Durham University, UK
Xu Huang
Hong Kong Baptist University, China
Les Graham
Durham University, UK
Tom Redman
Durham University, UK
Saiquan Hu
Tsinghua University, China
Corresponding author: Yuyan Zheng (


Drawing upon two independent samples from mainland China, we propose and investigate the deterrence function of leadership behavior focused on control. We suggest that controlling leadership, specifically, authoritarian leadership, deters employees’ deviance under certain conditions. That is, authoritarian leadership thwarts employees’ interpersonal deviance behavior when leaders send clear signals of potential punishments of non-compliance by showing low leader benevolence, and when employees are highly dependent on the leaders for important work resources. Results from two independent studies largely support our key propositions. Overall, these results add to the range of possible impacts that a leader can play in decreasing employee deviance. Theoretical implications and directions for follow-up research are discussed.






На основании двух независимых выборок из материкового Китая, мы предлагаем и исследуем механизмы сдерживания, которое характерно для поведения руководителя, ориентированного на контроль. Мы предполагаем, что контролирующий стиль руководства и, в частности, авторитарный стиль руководства, предотвращает нарушения сотрудников при определенных условиях. Авторитарное руководство препятствует личному девиантному поведению сотрудников в том случае, когда лидеры посылают четкие сигналы о возможных наказаниях за несоблюдение требований, демонстрируя низкую терпимость руководства, а также когда сотрудники сильно зависят от руководителей в отношении важных рабочих ресурсов. Результаты двух независимых исследований в значительной степени подтверждают наши ключевые предположения. В целом, эти результаты расширяют ряд возможных воздействий, с помощью которых руководитель может препятствовать нарушениям со стороны сотрудников. Мы обсуждаем теоретические выводы и направление для будущих исследований.



Partiendo de dos muestras independientes de China continental, proponemos e investigamos la función de la disuasión del comportamiento de liderazgo enfocado en el control. Sugerimos que el liderazgo controlador, especialmente el liderazgo autoritario, disuade la desviación bajo ciertas condiciones. Esto es, el liderazgo autoritario frustra la desviación del comportamiento interpersonal de los empleados cuando los líderes envían señales claves de castigos posibles del incumplimiento al mostrar baja benevolencia, y cuando los empleados son altamente dependientes de los líderes para obtener recursos laborales. Los resultados de estos dos estudios independientes apoyan en gran medida nuestras proposiciones. En términos generales, estos resultados se suman al rango de impactos posibles que un líder puede jugar para disminuir la desviación del empleado. Las implicaciones teóricas y las direcciones para investigación de seguimiento son discutidas.

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Accepted by: Senior Editor George (Zhen Xiong) Chen

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