Faculty of Business Administration


When will the trickle-down effect of abusive supervision be alleviated? The roles of power distance and traditional cultures


Dr. Alice HON

Associate Professor

School of Hotel & Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University



Recent studies are increasingly interested in the dark side of leadership—abusive supervision, which is associated with counterproductive employee work reactions and behaviors. When supervisors humiliate subordinates in front of others or threaten to fire them are examples of abusive supervision. Although much is known about the outcomes of abusive supervision, there is a lack of research on its trickle-down effect on subordinates’ abusive behaviors and service performance. We define subordinates’ abusive behaviors as the extent to which they display hostile verbal and non-verbal behaviors to internal and external members (i.e., coworkers and customers), excluding physical contact (Tepper, 2000). Drawing upon cognitive social learning theory and Masterson’s (2001) trickle-down approach, we argue that supervisory abusive behavior is positively related to subordinate abusive behavior, which negatively influences employee service performance. Moreover, existing research has ignored cultural factors that might contribute to our understanding of the consequences of abusive supervision. This is particularly significant in China because research has shown that Chinese culture has high power distance and traditional values. This is also valuable for leadership research because concepts of leadership differ from culture to culture.

Date:              29 May 2019 (Wednesday)

Time:              15:00 – 16:30

Venue:           E22-2011



Dr Alice Hon is an Associate Professor in the School of Hotel & Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on employee motivation and creativity, leadership and culture, customer satisfaction, and employee service and firm performance outcomes. The central theme of her current work is the desire to explore the human resources management practices among these areas that motivate or hinder employee creativity, service innovation, and firm performance.

Dr Hon is the Associate Editor of Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and the Coordinating Editor of International Journal of Hospitality Management. She currently serves on several hospitality journals as editorial board members such as Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, and International Journal of Hospitality Management.

Dr Hon has published journals in hospitality and management fields, and her research has been mentioned by public social media (e.g., Hong Kong South China Morning Post). Besides teaching and research, she also engages in public service and in consulting and executive development program (EDP) for organizations in Australia, China, and Hong Kong.