How leadership ostracism influences public servants’ promotive voice: Public service motivation as a moderator

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Shuo Liu
Mei Sun
Yu-Wu Guan
Chong-Ya Liu
Bing Ren
Qing Yang
Cite this article:  Liu, S., Sun, M., Guan, Y., Liu, C., Ren, B., & Yang, Q. (2023). How leadership ostracism influences public servants’ promotive voice: Public service motivation as a moderator. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 51(1), e11995.


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Although public service employee promotive voice has recently attracted more attention from scholars, the link between negative public sector leadership (e.g., leadership ostracism) and employee promotive voice has not been fully explored in the extant literature. In a time-lagged study of 226 public sector employee–leader pairs in China, we explored the mechanism behind leadership ostracism and employee promotive voice. We argued that public service motivation would have its dark side in the relationship between leadership ostracism and promotive voice; thus, we examined the moderating effect of public service motivation in this setting. Results indicated that leadership ostracism had a significant negative impact on employees’ promotive voice, and public service motivation positively moderated this relationship. The stronger the public service motivation of ostracized employees, the weaker was their promotive voice. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and directions for future research are provided.

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