The effect of leadership styles, rank, and seniority on affective organizational commitment: A comparative study of US and Korean employees

Gahye Hong, Youngsam Cho, Fabian Jintae Froese, Mannsoo Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose- The purpose of this paper is to develop and empirically test a conceptual model based on the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theory to comprehend differences in the relationships between consideration, and initiating structure leadership styles and affective organizational commitment for US and Korean employees. Further, the authors investigate how rank and seniority moderate the relationships between the two leadership styles and affective organizational commitment in both countries. Design/methodology/approach- The authors developed and conducted a cross-sectional survey in the USA and Korea. To test the hypotheses that perform a series of hierarchical regression analyses. Findings- Survey results from 452 US and Korean employees show that the positive relationship between consideration leadership (i.e. people-oriented leadership) and affective organizational commitment was stronger among US employees than Korean employees. Initiating structure leadership (i.e. task-oriented leadership) was negatively related to affective organizational commitment in the USA, whereas this relationship was positive in South Korea (henceforth Korea). Further, these relationships were moderated by rank and seniority in Korea, but not in the USA. Specifically, the positive relationship between consideration leadership and affective organizational commitment was stronger when Korean employee's rank was higher and seniority was shorter. Originality/value- The comparative nature of the study enables to identify differences in the effects of leadership styles on affective organizational commitment across countries and thus helps to better understand employees from different cultures. Furthermore, the authors demonstrate the differential effects of demographic variables such as rank and seniority in the relationships of leadership styles and affective organizational commitment. The findings provide important managerial recommendations for how managers can better lead US and Korean employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-362
Number of pages23
JournalCross Cultural and Strategic Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 29


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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