Paternalistic Leadership: 3 Important Dimensions and it’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Paternalistic Leadership: 3 Important Dimensions and it’s Strengths and Weaknesses

paternalistic leadership Throughout human history, paternalistic leadership has been used in a number of ways. Some examples include authoritarian leadership, benevolent leadership, and moral leadership. However, each of these forms has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses are what make each leadership style different from the next.


Despite the positive connotation that paternalistic leadership has, researchers have found that the use of this leadership style has negative consequences for employees. Unlike other leadership styles, this style requires dependence on the leader and conformity to rules. It is also not conducive to the welfare of subordinates and can create a sense of fear among employees.

Paternalistic leadership characteristics

Several studies have identified three dimensions of paternalistic leadership. The first is authoritarian. This style of leadership involves the exercise of absolute authority over subordinates. It also involves the use of information to manipulate the image of the leader. It also involves punishing the subordinates severely and denying them opportunities to improve their performance. The second dimension is benevolent. Benevolent paternalistic leadership involves a genuine concern for the interests of the subordinates and engenders loyalty and respect from followers. It is different from exploitative paternalistic leadership, which involves the exercise of nurture for the purpose of achieving organizational goals. The third dimension is moral. This style of leadership involves the expectation that the leader will demonstrate superior ethical behavior. It is based on the concept of collectivism, which holds that members of a group are required to behave in a manner that is appropriate for the group as a whole.


Although these three dimensions have similar consequences, the impact of authoritarian, benevolent, and moral leadership styles on employee task performance and organizational citizenship behavior is not well understood. Most researchers have examined the relationship between authoritarian, benevolent, moral, and task performance separately, but have failed to consider how the three relate to each other. Previous studies have ignored the impact of age, gender, and cultural factors on the relationship between authoritarian, benevolent, or moral leadership styles and task performance. These effects have significant implications for future research.


Typically, paternalistic leadership involves a dominant figure. This type of leadership assumes the ability of the leader to make sound decisions. Nonetheless, this type of leadership can be oppressive. It can also be unproductive. Paternalistic leadership is more common in Latin America and Asia. Its roots lie in the Confucian tradition and the patriarchal family system. It emphasizes the needs of both the organization and the employee. Benevolence is one of the important characteristics of paternalistic leadership. Benevolence is defined as leaders showing concern for the well-being of subordinates. Benevolence brings positive outcomes. Benevolent leadership positively affects the leader-member exchange and organizational citizenship behaviors. Benevolence can also improve employee performance.

Chinese leadership

Historically, Chinese leadership emphasizes moral virtues. It also focuses on the relationship between the father and his son. It is also rooted in the long history of imperial rule. However, Chinese leadership is characterized by favor exchanges. Paternalistic leadership is often considered outdated. In fact, it is more common in Asia and Latin America than in the Western world. However, it has a place in the Chinese business world. Many Chinese business figures demonstrate a form of authoritarian leadership.

Lack of creativity and innovation

This type of leadership is often associated with a lack of creativity and innovation. It can also stymie the development of subordinates. It can also negatively affect the work-life balance. Nevertheless, understanding paternalistic leadership will help executives and managers navigate the global business world. Interestingly, the relationship between benevolent and authoritarian leadership and organizational citizenship behaviors is stronger when there is a promotive voice. Similarly, the relationship between benevolent and authorizer leadership and creativity is stronger when there is power distance. While the coexistence of authoritarian and benevolent leadership can explain the effectiveness of such leadership, the psychological mechanisms underlying this may not be fully understood. paternalistic leadership


Whether you’re running your own business or you’re responsible for the management of a large corporation, you need to understand the role of morality under paternalistic leadership. It is the leader’s responsibility to show employees that their leaders are able to demonstrate superior ethical behavior. Moreover, they should demonstrate that they care about their employees, not just their own needs.

Study about the impact

A study was conducted to determine whether paternalistic leadership has a positive or negative impact on safety participation. Researchers defined safety participation as “the ability to demonstrate the safety of a person or the property of an organization or a person”. A questionnaire was completed by a total of 601 drivers in major Chinese rail companies. The results were analyzed using structural equation modeling. A direct leader of each participant was required to fill out the safety participation section of the questionnaire. In addition, they were also asked to rate the OCBI on a 5-point scale. Researchers screened the questionnaire to eliminate any erroneous responses. A total of 57% of participants were male, with an average tenure of 6.37 years in the company. The sample consisted of a small number of high-tech enterprises in a specific industrial zone. In addition, the majority of participants had a master degree. The study also found that moral leadership had a strong impact on safety participation. This was in the form of a mean indirect effect of 0.322. This is not surprising, considering that moral leaders demonstrate behaviors that improve the lives of others. Similarly, authoritarian leadership had a negative impact on safety participation. This was not surprising, considering that authoritarian leadership focuses on asserting authority. It is also noteworthy that authoritarian leadership has a negative impact on citizenship behavior.


Using a paternalistic leadership style can help your employees boost their productivity. By focusing on the needs and desires of subordinates, your employees will be more satisfied and will feel more motivated. By increasing their loyalty to your company, you will also be able to improve your bottom line.  There are clearly advantages and disadvantages of paternalistic leadership. IKEA is one of the world’s largest furniture household businesses. It combines the benefits of low prices with high quality. The company’s products are based on the Scandinavian style, which makes them recognizable. In addition, the company focuses on innovation and product range. It is also known for its affordable ready-to-assemble furniture. IKEA’s mission is to create a better everyday life for many people. The company’s values include taking responsibility for the environment, maintaining the values of the company, and taking responsibility for the people in the company.

Ingvar Kamprad

IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, practices a transformational leadership style. He set the vision for the company from the very beginning. He also developed a unique company culture. He also used intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation to help employees to work better. As a paternalistic leader, Kamprad focuses on the needs of subordinates. He tries to make sure that the workers are happy to be working at IKEA. The company’s values are based on the Swedish culture. By following this culture, Ingvar Kamprad creates a very friendly work environment. He also tries to make sure that the products are suitable for everyday needs. Kamprad also believed that the best way to make sure workers are satisfied with their jobs is to make them feel valued. This is why he created a company culture where everyone feels valued. His ideas are based on the fact that everyone in IKEA plays an important role in the company’s success.

Ford Coppola

Whether you’re a fan of the movies or not, you’ve probably heard of Ford Coppola. A film producer and director, he’s also known for his paternalistic leadership style, which is typified by his zeal for creating a family-like working environment. The paternalistic juicier is that he’s a pretty good match for his subordinates.

Not for the faint of heart

Paternalistic leadership is not for the faint of heart. The best way to do it is by matching up with the right people. Paternalistic leadership is also a win-win for both employers and employees. In an industry where deadlines and budgets are tight, having the right people in place can spell the difference between success and failure. Having employees who love their jobs isn’t always a given. There are a few downsides to paternalistic leadership. First, it may not be the most obvious decision to make. For instance, you can end up with a group of self-absorbed people. Aside from that, paternalistic leadership can also have the same negative effect as a dictatorship. For example, if you have one employee who’s obsessed with a certain project, it might be difficult to get them to work with the rest of the team. The other downside to paternalistic leadership is that employees might not be able to tell when they are being micromanaged, which can lead to worse decisions in the long run. It’s also a good idea to set the right example.

Get to know their subordinates

The best paternalistic leadership styles are those that take their time to get to know their subordinates. In order to do this, you need to be open to the idea of a more collaborative approach. On the flipside, it’s also a good idea to give your subordinates the opportunity to make their own contributions. If you like what you read, check out our other articles here.



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