Even nectar is poisonous in excess: The impact of leader humility on pride, entitlement, and organizational citizenship behavior

Somayeh Bahmannia, Darren K B, Daan van Knippenberg, Kevin B. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Studies on the effect of leader humility generally portray leader humility as beneficial, whereas a minority of studies recognize potential negative influences. This is probably most clearly the case in the study of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for which both positive and negative relationships with leader humility have been established. We advance the analysis of the leader humility—OCB relationship by proposing that leader humility has diminishing returns, such that its effects are positive at lower levels but at higher levels turn negative. We argue that high levels of leader humility boost followers’ views of themselves, as expressed in higher levels of pride, which gives rise to psychological entitlement. Such entitlement in turn reduces OCB. This suggests a model in which leader humility has a curvilinear, increasing returns, relationship with follower entitlement, mediated by follower pride, that in turn mediates a curvilinear, decreasing returns, relationship with OCB. Results of a multiwave, multisource survey supported these predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-396
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Leadership & Organizational Studies
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2023.

Research programs

  • RSM ORG

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