Two sides of the same coin? Leadership and organizational culture

Melody P.M. Chong, Yufan Shang, Malika Richards, Xiji Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: Researchers have adopted a somewhat narrow conceptualization of organizational culture, founded on specific assumptions about the impact of founders or top leadership. The purpose of this paper is to address this research gap. Design/methodology/approach: Based on 356 Chinese employees, this paper examines the relationships between organizational culture, leadership and employee outcomes. Specifically, the paper focuses on a mediation model by looking at how different leadership processes impact the relationship between culture and outcomes. Findings: Supportive and task leadership styles and a persuasive influence strategy are correlated with team, detail and innovation cultures, respectively, and are significantly stronger than that of other leadership styles/strategies. Partial support is found for the mediating effect of task and change leadership styles, and assertive and persuasive influence strategies. Contrary to the authors’ second assumption regarding the social learning effect on outcomes, the study provides a tentative conclusion that different culture types may have different levels of strength in molding middle management and consequently influencing subordinate outcomes. The model of “culture-leadership-outcome” generally shows a similar pattern with the reverse effect of “leadership-culture-outcome.” Originality/value: This study was the first to examine the impact of organizational culture on leadership and their effect on organizational outcomes, and to compare the reverse relationship. It suggests a new model that combines social cognitive theory with concepts drawn from the social learning perspective. Both the significant and non-significant results enhance our understanding on the mediating effects of leadership and culture. The findings also enrich leadership theory because no empirical studies systematically examined the similarities and differences between style approaches and influence strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)975-994
Number of pages20
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 5 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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