Wise leaders fostering employees’ speaking up behaviors: developing and validating a measure of leader-expressed practical wisdom

Arménio Rego, Marcel Meyer, Dálcio Reis Júnior, Miguel Pina e Cunha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Practical wisdom, an essential component of leadership, has been approached mainly from a theoretical perspective. While there are barely any empirical studies on leaders’ practical wisdom, quantitative ones are even rarer, and no valid measure of a leader’s practical wisdom exists. Thus, our understanding of whether and how wise leaders influence their followers is limited. Inspired by Thomas Aquinas’ ideas on practical wisdom, we operationalize it as a tridimensional capacity of inquiring, judging, and acting in an emotionally regulated way, and develop and validate a corresponding measure of leader-expressed practical wisdom. To support our operationalization, we test how leader-expressed practical wisdom predicts employees’ speaking up behaviors via their psychological safety. Our rationale is that to make better decisions, wise leaders are receptive to employees’ views that address matters of concern and challenge the status quo with the intention of improving the situation – such a receptiveness being enabled by fostering employees’ psychological safety. Through a two-wave field study, a three-wave field study, and a vignette-based experiment carried out in three countries we obtain empirical support for that three-dimensional construct and show that leader-expressed practical wisdom predicts employees’ speaking up behaviors via their psychological safety.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalReview of Managerial Science
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Leader-expressed practical wisdom
  • Psychological safety
  • Speaking up behaviors

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