Leader Apology in the Employee–Organization Relationship: The Roles of Subordinate Power Distance Belief and Leader Competence

Xingyu Wang, Xueqi Wen, Zihan Liu, Yuzhuo Jiang, Mingyun Huai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


According to the organizational support theory, leaders' words and deeds are not only the products of their own will but also a reflection of organizations' standpoints. We thus focus on leader apology in the case of organizational transgressions and predict that leaders' apologetic acts are likely to influence employees' organization-oriented attitudes and behaviors. Specifically, leader apology is hypothesized to positively influence employees' perception of organizational support, which in turn, is positively associated with employees' helping and risk taking behavior. Furthermore, drawing upon the organizational support theory that delineates the discretion and value perceived in the employee-organization relationship, we further propose that employees' perceived leader competence and power distance belief serve as two contingencies that influence the relationship between leader apology and employees' perceived organizational support. In particular, this relationship is stronger when employees perceive higher leader competence or hold stronger power distance beliefs. Two multi-wave data collected from hospitality employees support these hypotheses. The findings provide a new perspective to comprehending leader apology within the employee-organization relationship wherein leaders are considered as organizational agents. This research extends the existing literature on leader apology that largely focuses on leader apology following leaders’ transgressions and leader-oriented outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104694
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Leader apology
  • Leader competence
  • Perceived organizational support
  • Power distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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