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Social climate and job control as mediators between empowering leadership and learning from a cross-cultural perspective

Journal article
Authors S. Jönsson
T. Muhonen
Leif Denti
K. Chen
Published in International Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 135-149
ISSN 1470-5958
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 135-149
Language en
Keywords Cross-cultural, empowering leadership, job control, learning, social climate
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Learning, Human Aspects of ICT


The purpose of this article is to examine the direct effects of empowering leadership on learning and the indirect or mediating role of social climate and job control from a cross-cultural perspective. Questionnaires were distributed to two furniture retail stores in Sweden and two stores in China belonging to the same company. The final sample consisted of 483 participants from the Chinese and 254 participants from the Swedish stores. The results of the structural equation modeling showed that there was a direct relationship between empowering leadership and learning (both in the Chinese and the Swedish sample). The study also showed that social climate had a mediating effect of empowering leadership and learning (both in the Chinese and the Swedish sample). In addition, the result indicated that job control had a mediating effect (Swedish sample). The model explained 38% of the variance in learning among the Chinese sample and 62% in the Swedish. This indicates that the tested factors are highly relevant in the context of learning. Despite some methodological limitations such as the cross-sectional design and problems with acquiescence in responses, the results indicate the complexity of the role of culture in organizational behavior. Managers working in increasingly globalized contexts need to take into consideration that some organizational behaviors gradually become more universal, whereas others remain culturally contingent. This article illustrates the complex relationship between leadership behavior, social climate, job control, and learning in the same corporate culture but in different cultural settings. © SAGE Publications.

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