Leave or stay with a lonely leader? An investigation into whether, why, and when leader workplace loneliness increases team turnover intentions

  • Xiao Chen
  • Jian PengEmail author
  • Xue Lei
  • Yanchun Zou
Original Article


China’s high-power-distance culture renders leader workplace loneliness prevalent; however, the effect of leader loneliness is not well understood. Based on data from 133 teams, this study drew on social capital theory and found that leader workplace loneliness was positively related to team turnover intentions via the effects of team cognitive trust, rather than affective trust in leaders. Team workplace loneliness strengthened the negative relationship between leader workplace loneliness and team cognitive trust in leaders as well as the indirect relationship between leader workplace loneliness and team turnover intentions via team cognitive trust in leaders.


Leader workplace loneliness in China Team turnover intentions Team trust in leaders Team workplace loneliness Social capital theory 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Xiao Chen, Jian Peng, Xue Lei, and Yanchun Zou declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessGuangdong University of Foreign StudiesGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of ManagementGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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