In the hands of a controlling leader? Implications for employee well-being from a gender perspective
Abstract: Leaders engaging in controlling leadership behaviours (CLB) has been connected to followers perceiving their basic needs thwarted. However, little research has been made in the organizational field to understand the implications of controlling leadership behaviours for employee well-being. The present study aimed to clarify this relation through understanding controlling leadership behaviours’ influence on employee health, as well as investigate the impact of both leader and employee gender on employees’ perception of controlling leadership behaviours. A sample of 818 employees, representing the Swedish labour market, completed a questionnaire including measures of perceived controlling leadership behaviours and well-being in terms of self-rated health, burnout, self-rated job satisfaction and vigour. Results confirmed the notion that leaders’ controlling leadership behaviours, like other negative leadership behaviours, is associated with lowered well-being. Results also indicate that male employees perceive male leaders as more controlling than female employees do, while female leaders are perceived as equally controlling by both male and female employees. The gender of leaders exhibiting controlling leadership behaviours seem to have no association with employee well-being. The implications of gender on controlling leadership behaviours is still a question unanswered. Future studies should therefore continue exploring both leader and employee gender influence on CLB.
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