The Dark Side of Paternalistic Leadership: Employee Discrimination and Nepotism
Purpose: Paternalistic leadership is a prevailing leadership style in environments characterized by high power distance, collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance and is a general aspect of family businesses. With this in mind, the purpose of this study is to investigate paternalistic leadership in Turkish business environment and test the relationship between paternalistic leadership and employee discrimination and nepotism. Design/Methodology/Approach: Data were collected by a questionnaire from 183 employees working in family owned companies located in Turkey. Convenience sampling was used. Findings: Findings indicate that benevolent and moral paternalistic leadership is negatively related to perceived discrimination in human resources practices like recruitment, hiring, promotion, assignments, delegation, evaluation, payment, rewards, training and working conditions. Finding of the study shows that when the leader behaves in an authoritarian way, employees specifically perceive nepotism in the hiring process. Practical Implications: This study sheds light on leadership literature by focusing on a leadership style that is viewed negatively in Western societies, but is found to be a socio-cultural characteristic of India, Pakistan, China and Turkey. It provides an important insight about Turkish culture and a prevailing leadership style which is paternalistic leadership. Originality/Value: The study is a unique one that combines paternalistic leadership, discrimination and nepotism in a research model.