Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Culture clash, and the pros and cons of being a leader

Plenty of studies have been conducted on how leadership behaviours affect followers’ performance and well-being, but very little attention has been dedicated to the well-being of the leaders themselves.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 9 December 2018, 10:00AM

There are plenty of studies on how leadership behaviours affect followers’ performance and well-being, but, very little attention has been dedicated to the well-being of the leaders themselves. Image: CUHK

There are plenty of studies on how leadership behaviours affect followers’ performance and well-being, but, very little attention has been dedicated to the well-being of the leaders themselves. Image: CUHK

A research study titled ‘Is being a leader a mixed blessing? A dual-pathway model linking leadership role occupancy to well-being’ by Wendong Li, Assistant Professor of Department of Management at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School, has addressed this often-neglected question through an innovative approach.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Prof John M. Schaubroeck from Michigan State University, Prof Jia Lin Xie from the University of Toronto, and Prof Anita Keller from the University of Groningen.

Contrasting Views

Previous academic researches on the well-being of leaders have mainly presented two contrasting views. One perspective suggests that being a leader is detrimental to one’s well-being as supervisory responsibilities are often associated with long working hours and heavy workloads.

The other perspective argues that leadership role may be beneficial to one’s well-being because leaders have more autonomy than non-leaders, and therefore less stress at work.

To reconcile the two contrasting views, Prof Li and the team developed a dual-pathway model to test how leadership role is related to both job demands (which refer to the psycho-social demands at workplace), and job control (which relates to the level of discretion in how one chooses to perform one’s core job).

The Study

The researchers tested their hypotheses with four independent samples from different cultural contexts – Switzerland, the US, China and Japan.

The Swiss cohort included a sample of 1,006 participants; the American cohort included a sample of 1,409 participants over a 10-year time-lagged design; the Chinese cohort of 369 participants worked in a large state-owned manufacturing company in China and the last cohort included 1,027 Japanese adults from Tokyo, Japan.

In the study, the researchers examined two types of psychological well-being: hedonic (i.e., feeling happy from pleasure attainment and pain avoidance) and eudaimonic (i.e., feeling happy from experiencing purpose, challenges and growth in life). To examine their physical well-being, chronic diseases, blood pressure, and cortisol (often called the 'stress hormone'), were measured.

Key Findings

Overall, the team found that leaders reported both high job demands and high job control. They also reported steeper trajectories over time in job demands and job control than non-leaders.

Thailand Property Awards - Asia Property Awards

In addition, higher job demands were associated with lower well-being whereas higher job control was associated with greater well-being. Such findings are consistent with the researchers’ predictions and previous studies.

However, leaders who perceived higher job demands also self-reported more chronic diseases and higher blood pressure.

Cultural Differences

The study also discovered that the effect of leadership role on eudaimonic well-being through job control was larger in the Japan sample than in the US sample.

This may be due to cultural difference, according to Prof Li. “There is stronger endorsement of power distance as a value in Japan than in the United States. Thus, gaining control at work may have more pronounced effect for the Japanese than the Americans,” Prof Li explains.


“In terms of practical implications, organisations should seek to ensure that their investment in leaders is not compromised by low levels of leaders’ well‐being that may discourage nascent leaders from continuing in their careers as leaders,” Prof Li says.

Selecting and grooming employees for leadership roles is a major investment for most organisations. Therefore, to make sure the efforts do not go to waste, Prof Li also suggests organisations should ensure that their leaders are not over-burdened and have ample opportunities to rest and recover. On the other hand, leaders themselves may consider delegating more to decrease their job demands.

“Identifying and implementing means to limit leaders’ job demands and foster their recovery are critical to obtaining a sizeable return on these investments,” Prof Li says.

– By Mabel Sieh and Jaymee Ng

This article was first published in the China Business Knowledge (CBK) website by CUHK Business School: https://bit.ly/2S7tvAe



Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Phuket Police say investigation into Finnish girl’s death inconclusive

Whether she was a 'girl' or a woman' is immaterial, the fact that she has died is the cr...(Read More)

PPRP ‘seals deal’ to form coalition govt

So, 'translating' what the military sources are saying is that a few civilian parties are al...(Read More)

PHUKET XTRA: VIDEO: Road rage axe attack? Drugs found in rectum! Dark web bust sees 50 kids saved! || May 23

Did the police contact the Phuket based foreign Inspector .... for his expertise on how to extract t...(Read More)

May 4 approved as Coronation Day

...How many people he thinks do really benefit from those holidays ?Most Thai's are working anyw...(Read More)

Phuket braces for heavy weather, small boats advised to stay ashore

All chinese passengers, brace for heavy sea inpact before boarding coming days! You are warned! Rem...(Read More)

Phuket braces for heavy weather, small boats advised to stay ashore

Well, mr Wiwat, just covered himself (' I told you, not my responsible any further'). When...(Read More)

Four dead as pickup truck slams into tour bus heading to Phuket

Haha...driver to check if had taken drugs/alcohol. How silly is that? Riding on the back of the tru...(Read More)

One billion baht found in teenage drug dealer’s accounts

Wow, a 19 years old thai man, in drugs business with more than 1 million thb in his personal account...(Read More)

Government clamps down on surging illegal Thai migration

And, day in, day out, many thai having been illegal staying/working in Korea of course return to Tha...(Read More)

Men arrested for axe-wielding road-rage attack on ambulance

These two morons are seriously primitive in their mental capacity and cerebral development. No way ...(Read More)