Journal of Business Ethics 156 (4):1007-1025 (2019)

Although it is an increasingly popular assumption that leader mindfulness may positively affect leader behaviors and, in turn, employee outcomes, to date, little empirical evidence supports this view. Against this backdrop, the present research seeks to develop and test a serial mediation model of leader mindfulness. Specifically, we propose that leader mindfulness enhances employee performance and that this relationship is explained by increased leader procedural justice enactment and, subsequently, reduced employees’ emotional exhaustion. We conducted three studies to test this model. Study 1 involved employees from a wide range of organizations in the USA. Study 2 used a sample of leaders and employees from China and measured our model variables at three different points in time. Both studies provide consistent support for our hypotheses. Finally, Study 3 involved a laboratory experiment in which 62 senior executives were assigned to either a mindfulness induction or to a control condition. Again, results revealed a significant and positive link between leader mindfulness and leader procedural justice enactment. In sum, these findings expand our understanding of mindfulness to the domain of leadership, a key area of organizational research. Moreover, they complement prior studies by showing that mindfulness dynamics go beyond intrapersonal effects but also influence the attitudes and behaviors of others. We discuss our findings in light of their contributions to the mindfulness, ethics, and leadership literatures and point out implications for practice.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-017-3610-7
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