Empowering leadership and organizational exploration: the role of preoccupation with failure and leader gender

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Management Decision

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Purpose: Organizational exploration has recently emerged in the literature as an essential aspect of contemporary organizations. However, little is known about its antecedents and, specifically, the role of contemporary leadership styles. The present study investigates the relationship between empowering leadership and organizational exploration. In addressing this relationship, we examine preoccupation with failure and leader gender as a mediator and a moderator, respectively. Design/methodology/approach: We collected data from a sample of 326 US employees in March 2022. To test the present hypotheses, we used the PROCESS SPSS macro. Findings: Our results supported our moderated mediation model, demonstrating that the indirect relationship of empowering leadership with organizational exploration via preoccupation with failure is stronger for male leaders than for female counterparts. Practical implications: Concerning the practical implications of this study, organizations should be cognizant of empowering leaders’ impact on desirable outcomes. Additionally, organizations should promote preoccupation with failure to ameliorate organizational exploration. Preoccupation with failure can be achieved when error reporting is encouraged by organizations and supervisors and when a culture that promotes constructive feedback is established. Originality/value: The present study offers novel insights into the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions through which empowering leadership relates to organizational exploration. Additionally, it fills a gap in the literature concerning the relationship between empowering leadership and preoccupation with failure. Moreover, it adds to prior research regarding the outcomes of preoccupation with failure, filling the gap regarding the relationship between preoccupation with failure and organizational exploration. Lastly, it expands limited research focused on leader gender as a condition under which the effect of contemporary leadership styles could be enhanced or mitigated.








Empowering leadership, Leader gender, Moderated mediation, Organizational exploration, Preoccupation with failure

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Open Access