Impact of Leaders’ Negative Behavior on Employee Silence with the Mediating role of Psychological Safety: A Study on Teachers of Higher Education Institutes of Pakistan

Main Article Content

Noreen Ajmal
Dr. Safia Bano
Dr. Saubia Ramzan


Leaders’ negative behavior is a dysfunctional leadership behavior that impacts its targets badly as well as the whole organization. On the basis of the conservation of resources (COR) theory, the present study adds knowledge on the impact of leaders’ adverse behavior. Mainly, a mediation model has been proposed wherein negative leadership predicts employees' silent behavior through psychological safety, with the leader. Data was collected through self-administered questionnaire from 643 teachers working in the thirty-one private sector universities of Pakistan through proportionate and convenience sampling approach. Results show a positive relationship between leaders’ negative behavior (Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Authoritative and Abusive) and Employee Silence. Further Psychological safety significantly mediates relationship between leaders’ negative behavior and employee silence. When psychological safety is reduced due to negative behavior, it contributes in increasing employee silence. The findings imply that negative behavior of leaders is prevailing in higher education institutes that requires immediate attention stressing the need of psychological trainings in higher education institutes of Pakistan. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Noreen Ajmal, Dr. Safia Bano, & Dr. Saubia Ramzan. (2024). Impact of Leaders’ Negative Behavior on Employee Silence with the Mediating role of Psychological Safety: A Study on Teachers of Higher Education Institutes of Pakistan. Al-Qanṭara, 284–306. Retrieved from


Aryee, S., Sun, L. Y., Chen, Z. X. G., & Debrah, Y. A. (2008). Abusive Supervision and Contextual Performance: The Mediating Role of Emotional Exhaustion and the Moderating Role of Work Unit Structure. Management and Organization Review, 4(3), 393–411.

Associate, A. C. E. (2002). Managing the risk of learning: Psychological safety in work teams.

Awan, A., et al. (2021). Critical thinking and creative thinking: students' reading comprehension. Webology, 18 (6), 4186-4190.

Ballard, A. J., & Easteal, P. (2018). The Secret Silent Spaces of Workplace Violence: Focus on Bullying (and Harassment). Laws 2018, Vol. 7, Page 35, 7(4), 35.

Brinsfield, C. T., Edwards, M. S., & Greenberg, J. (2009). Voice and silence in organizations: Historical review and current conceptualizations.

Bashir, S., & Shah, N. A. (2020). Community Development Programs For Socio-Economic Development In Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Applied Social Sciences. 6. 10.46568/pjass.v6i1.314.

Brinsfield, C. T., Lewicki, R. J., Klein, H. J., & Wilk Advisor, S. L. (2009). Employee silence: Investigation of dimensionality, development of measures, and examination of related factors.

Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 219–229.

Bashir, S., Khan, J., Danish, M., & Bashir, W. (2023). Governance and development challenges in Balochistan: A comparative study with other provinces and way forward. International Journal of Contemporary Issues in Social Sciences, 2(4), 620-649

Campbell, D. T. (n.d.). Quasi-Experimentation Design & Analysis Issues for Field Settings.

Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Campbell, S. M., & Marchisio, G. (2010). Narcissism in organizational contexts. Human Resource Management Review, 21(4), 268–284.

Chen, Y., Zhou, X., & Klyver, K. (2019). Collective Efficacy: Linking Paternalistic Leadership to Organizational Commitment. Journal of Business Ethics, 159(2), 587–603.

Chi, S. C. S., & Liang, S. G. (2013). When do subordinates’ emotion-regulation strategies matter? Abusive supervision, subordinates’ emotional exhaustion, and work withdrawal. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 125–137.

Cho, H., Pavek, K., & Steege, L. (2020). Workplace verbal abuse, nurse-reported quality of care and patient safety outcomes among early-career hospital nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 28(6), 1250–1258.

Cohen, A. (2016). Are they among us? A conceptual framework of the relationship between the dark triad personality and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs). Human Resource Management Review, 26(1), 69–85.

Detert, J. R., & Burris, E. R. (2007). Leadership Behavior and Employee Voice: Is the Door Really Open? Https://Doi.Org/10.5465/Amj.2007.26279183, 50(4), 869–884.

Duan, J., Wang, X. H. (Frank), Janssen, O., & Farh, J. L. (2022). Transformational Leadership and Voice: When Does Felt Obligation to the Leader Matter? Journal of Business and Psychology, 37(3), 543–555.

Ekrot, B., Rank, J., & Gemünden, H. G. (2016). Antecedents of project managers’ voice behavior: The moderating effect of organization-based self-esteem and affective organizational commitment. International Journal of Project Management, 34(6), 1028–1042.

Elsaied, M. M. (2018). Supportive leadership, proactive personality and employee voice behavior: The mediating role of psychological safety. American Journal of Business, 34(1), 2–18.

Graen, G. B., & Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship-based approach to leadership: Development of leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership over 25 years: Applying a multi-level multi-domain perspective. The Leadership Quarterly, 6(2), 219–247.

Ghulam Murtaza, G. M., Bashir, S., & Khaliq, A. (2021). Barriers in Adopting Sustainable Agricultural Practices (SAPs) under Changing Climate in Balochistan, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Applied Social Sciences, 12(1), 1–16.

Hamrin, S. (2016). Communicative leadership and context: Exploring constructions of the context in discourses of leadership practices. Corporate Communications, 21(3), 371–387.

Hasan, G. ., Bashir, S. ., Zarar, R. ., & Ahmed, S. . (2023). Natural Resource Management: Legal and Governance Issues of Reko Diq Project. Bulletin of Business and Economics (BBE), 12(4), 493-501.

Higgs, M. (2009). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Leadership and Narcissism. Journal of Change Management, 9(2), 165–178.

Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources. A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. The American Psychologist, 44(3), 513–524.

Humphreys, J. H., Randolph-Seng, B., Pane Haden, S. S., & Novicevic, M. M. (2014). Integrating Libertarian Paternalism Into Paternalistic Leadership. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.1177/1548051814564573, 22(2), 187–201.

Judge, T. A., Piccolo, R. F., & Kosalka, T. (2009). The bright and dark sides of leader traits: A review and theoretical extension of the leader trait paradigm. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(6), 855–875.

Keith Campbell, W., Goodie, A. S., & Foster, J. D. (2004). Narcissism, Confidence, and Risk Attitude. Goodie, 17, 1–15.

Kessel, M., Kratzer, J., & Schultz, C. (2012). Psychological Safety, Knowledge Sharing, and Creative Performance in Healthcare Teams. Creativity and Innovation Management, 21(2), 147–157.

Kish-Gephart, J. J., Detert, J. R., Treviño, L. K., & Edmondson, A. C. (2009). Silenced by fear:: The nature, sources, and consequences of fear at work. Research in Organizational Behavior, 29, 163–193.

Knoll, M., & van Dick, R. (2013). Authenticity, employee silence, prohibitive voice, and the moderating effect of organizational identification. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(4), 346–360.

Kwak, W. J., & Shim, J. H. (2017). Effects of machiavellian ethical leadership and employee power distance on employee voice. Social Behavior and Personality, 45(9), 1485–1498.

Li, Y., & Sun, J. M. (2015). Traditional Chinese leadership and employee voice behavior: A cross-level examination. Leadership Quarterly, 26(2), 172–189.

Lian, H., Lance Ferris, D., & Brown, D. J. (2012). Does taking the good with the bad make things worse? How abusive supervision and leader–member exchange interact to impact need satisfaction and organizational deviance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117(1), 41–52.

Liao, S., Zhou, X., Guo, Z., & Li, Z. (2019). How Does Leader Narcissism Influence Employee Voice: The Attribution of Leader Impression Management and Leader-Member Exchange. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(10).

Lobbestael, J., Baumeister, R. F., Fiebig, T., & Eckel, L. A. (2014). The role of grandiose and vulnerable narcissism in self-reported and laboratory aggression and testosterone reactivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 69, 22–27.

Lyu, Y., Wang, M., Le, J., & Kwan, H. K. (2019). Effects of authentic leadership on work–family balance in China. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 34(2), 110–123.

Mackey, J. D., Frieder, R. E., Brees, J. R., & Martinko, M. J. (2017). Abusive Supervision: A Meta-Analysis and Empirical Review. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1940–1965.

Marek, T., Karwowski, W., Frankowicz, M., Kantola, J. I., & Zgaga, P. (n.d.). Human factors of a global society : a system of systems perspective. Retrieved February 7, 2024, from

Martinko, M. J., Harvey, P., Brees, J. R., & Mackey, J. (2013a). A review of abusive supervision research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(S1), S120–S137.

Martinko, M. J., Harvey, P., Brees, J. R., & Mackey, J. (2013b). A review of abusive supervision research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(SUPPL 1).

Milliken, F. J., Morrison, E. W., & Hewlin, P. F. (2003). An Exploratory Study of Employee Silence: Issues that Employees Don’t Communicate Upward and Why*. Journal of Management Studies, 40(6), 1453–1476.

Morrison, E. W. (2014). Employee Voice and Silence. Https://Doi.Org/10.1146/Annurev-Orgpsych-031413-091328, 1, 173–197.

Morsch, J., Van Dijk, D., & Kodden, B. (n.d.). The Impact of Perceived Psychological Contract Breach, Abusive Supervision, and Silence on Employee Well-being. Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 22(2), 37.

Mousa, M., Abdelgaffar, H. A., Aboramadan, M., & Chaouali, W. (2021). Narcissistic Leadership, Employee Silence, and Organizational Cynicism: A Study of Physicians in Egyptian Public Hospitals. International Journal of Public Administration, 44(15), 1309–1318.

Nargundkar, S., Samaddar, S., & Mukhopadhyay, S. (2014). A Guided Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Approach: Impact on Critical Thinking. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 12(2), 91–108.

Nowrouzi-Kia, B., Isidro, R., Chai, E., Usuba, K., & Chen, A. (2019). Antecedent factors in different types of workplace violence against nurses: A systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 44, 1–7.

O’Boyle, E. H., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G. C., & McDaniel, M. A. (2012). A meta-analysis of the Dark Triad and work behavior: a social exchange perspective. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(3), 557–579.

Ouimet, G. (2010). Dynamics of narcissistic leadership in organizations: Towards an integrated research model. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(7), 713–726.

Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(5), 1197–1208.

Pellegrini, P. G., Tolfo, S. da R., Bolze, S. D. A., & D’Cruz, P. (2021). The Interface Between Significant Others and Workplace Bullying, Emotional Abuse and Harassment. 423–446.

Pinder, C. C., & Harlos, K. P. (2001). Employee silence: Quiescence and acquiescence as responses to perceived injustice. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 20, 331–369.

Qin, Q., Wen, B., Ling, Q., Zhou, S., & Tong, M. (2014). How and when the effect of ethical leadership occurs? A multilevel analysis in the Chinese hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 26(6), 974–1001.

Rosenthal, S. A., & Pittinsky, T. L. (2006). Narcissistic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 617–633.

Saunders, B., Sim, J., Kingstone, T., Baker, S., Waterfield, J., Bartlam, B., Burroughs, H., & Jinks, C. (2018). Saturation in qualitative research: exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. Quality and Quantity, 52(4), 1893–1907.

Sharma, B. R., Rai, S., Sharma, B. R., & Rai, S. (2015). A Study to Develop an Instrument to Measure Work Ethic. Global Business Review, 16(2), 244–257.

Spector, P. (2006). The dimensionality of counterproductivity: Are all counterproductive behaviors created equal? Journal of Vocational Behavior.

Tepper, B. J. (2000). Consequences of abusive supervision. Academy of Management Journal, 43(2), 178–190.

Tepper, B. J., Moss, S. E., Lockhart, D. E., & Carr, J. C. (2007). Abusive Supervision, Upward Maintenance Communication, and Subordinates’ Psychological Distress. Academy of Management Journal, 50(5), 1169–1180.

Tepper, B. J., Moss, S. E., Lockhart, D. E., & Carr, J. C. (2017). Abusive Supervision, Upward Maintenance Communication, and Subordinates’ Psychological Distress. Https://Doi.Org/10.5465/Amj.2007.20159918, 50(5), 1169–1180.

Tian, Q., & Sanchez, J. I. (2017). Does paternalistic leadership promote innovative behavior? The interaction between authoritarianism and benevolence. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(5), 235–246.

Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., & Botero, I. C. (2003). Conceptualizing Employee Silence and Employee Voice as Multidimensional Constructs*. Journal of Management Studies, 40(6).

Van Gerven, E. J. G., De Hoogh, A. H. B., Den Hartog, D. N., & Belschak, F. D. (2022). Gender Differences in the Perceived Behavior of Narcissistic Leaders. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.

Wales, W. J., Patel, P. C., & Lumpkin, G. T. (2013). In pursuit of greatness: CEO narcissism, entrepreneurial orientation, and firm performance variance. Journal of Management Studies, 50(6), 1041–1069.

Wang, Y., Feng, T., Wang, Y., Hahn, F. E., & Han, Y. (2018). Homo‐ and Heteroligand Poly‐NHC Metal Assemblies: Synthesis by Narcissistic and Social Self‐Sorting. Angewandte Chemie, 130(48), 15993–15997.

Whitman, M. V., Halbesleben, J. R. B., & Holmes, O. (2014a). Abusive supervision and feedback avoidance: The mediating role of emotional exhaustion. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(1), 38–53.

Whitman, M. V., Halbesleben, J. R. B., & Holmes, O. (2014b). Abusive supervision and feedback avoidance: The mediating role of emotional exhaustion. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(1), 38–53.

Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2009). Reciprocal relationships between job resources, personal resources, and work engagement. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74(3), 235–244.

Xu, A. J., Loi, R., & Lam, L. W. (2015a). The bad boss takes it all: How abusive supervision and leader-member exchange interact to influence employee silence. Leadership Quarterly, 26(5), 763–774.

Xu, A. J., Loi, R., & Lam, L. W. (2015b). The bad boss takes it all: How abusive supervision and leader–member exchange interact to influence employee silence. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(5), 763–774.

Yu, Y., Xu, S. T., & Li, G. (2023). Abusive supervision and emotional labour on a daily basis: The role of employee mindfulness. Tourism Management, 96, 104719.

Zainun, N. F. H., Johari, J., & Adnan, Z. (2021). Machiavellianism, locus of control, moral identity, and ethical leadership among public service leaders in Malaysia: the moderating effect of ethical role modelling. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 41(9–10), 1108–1133.

Zhang, Y., & Liao, Z. (2015). Consequences of abusive supervision: A meta-analytic review. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(4), 959–987.

Zafar, D. H. ., Bashir, D. S. ., Naudani, M. T. ., & Aziz, M. S. . (2024). Urbanization Trends and Their Effect on Human Development in Balochistan. Al Khadim Research Journal of Islamic Culture and Civilization, 5(1), 1–42. Retrieved from

Zhou, X., Wu, Z., Liang, D., Jia, R., Wang, M., Chen, C., & Lu, G. (2021). Nurses’ voice behaviour: The influence of humble leadership, affective commitment and job embeddedness in China. Journal of Nursing Management, 29(6), 1603–1612.